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Grade: 3-5
Subject: 4 Blocks

#1121. writing beginnings mini lesson #6

4 Blocks, level: Elementary
Posted Fri Jun 25 20:18:50 PDT 1999 by deb (d-smith@cybersol.com).
coloma elementary, south haven MI USA
Materials Required: paper, pencil, patience
Activity Time: varies
Concepts Taught: writing

6. Writing workshop mini lesson read different books with great beginnings.
The teacher could introduce the idea of beginnings by reading several beginnings of books available in the room.
Some examples are:
The Big Seed,
The Chicken House,
The Cellar,
Gilly's Secret,
and The Circle of Giving.

In the book, Craft Lessons by Ralph Fletcher,

there's the following example about beginnings. Trying out various leads for a piece of writing would seem like a strategy perhaps more suited to upper-grade students. But teachers can help even emerging writers become aware of how a lead can strengthen a piece of writing. Lisa Siemans, "I print out several particularly strong leads on paper cut in the shape of an arrow. I make sure leads written by professionally published writers as well as writers from the class. I try to pick books that they already know and love, as well as leads written in the first person, yet most of the literature they read tends to be written in the third person. I hold the arrows up one at a time, explaining that the first line of a story is often the line that makes the reader decide whether he is interested in a particular book. Then I tell them that the first line is called a lead. What does lead mean? I ask the students. Usually someone says it is something you want to
follow. When you read a good lead, you know it. When you write a good lead, you know it.

Today as you write, read your lead to yourself and see whether it leads them on. As the kids find good leads, record them on arrows.