Grade Appropriate units:
The following Writing with Writers units are appropriate for
students in grades 13. Follow the following links for
specific guides for each unit:
- Poetry Writing with Jack Prelutsky
- Poetry Writing with Jean Marzollo
- Folktale Writing
The structure of the lesson remains the same for all the above
genres and each can be completed in 811 class periods.
The focus for students in this age group is to introduce different
writing genres and improve writing skills in these areas.
Background (1 Day)
Invite students to discuss what they know about the chosen genre.
For Folktales: Ask students to discuss what they think
folktales means. Point out that folktales are stories
passed on from one person to the next by word of mouth or by oral
tradition. Read aloud a favorite folktale (you can use any or
all of the examples in Step
1: Folktales.) and discuss defining elements of folktale.
Have students point out the characteristics of a folktale, for
example: takes place anytime, tales place anywhere, animals can
For Poetry Writing with Jack Prelutsky or Jean Marzollo: Go through
a few well-known poems with students, and read some favorites
aloud. Have students discuss poems that they know. Ask: How are
poems different from stories?
Introduce students to the poetry styles of the author that best
suits the needs of your class: Jack Prelutsky
or Jean Marzollo. As a class, read examples
from the two authors, and allow students time on their own to
visit the pages and read author bios or print-out pages from independent
reading. You may wish to read aloud with individual students.
Pre-writing (23 Days)
Let students know that they will be writing original pieces. Point
out that each writing genre has its own rules, and that these
rules will help students construct their own pieces. Encourage
students to visit the brainstorming and tips page for the genre
they are working with.
Folktales: Read the Step 2: Brainstorming and Step 3:
Write Your Own Folktale with the whole class or in small groups.
Use "Half-Chicken" or "The Shark God" as a
model to illustrate tip ideas as you read them. For example, when
reading that the folktale genre entails imagining the world that
acts as the setting, remind students that rivers and fires can
speak in Half-Chicken's world. Then suggest students work in groups
to go through Step 3 again, and write down ideas for their folktales.
Work with students as a class to develop the first tip. Create
a rhyming wall on the chalkboard. Divide it into three columns,
one for each "syllable" word. Encourage students to
use made-up words as well. Discuss why rhyming might be a good
tool to use in poems. Then suggest students work in groups to
do the activities in the brainstorming section.
Visit her "Write Your Own Poem Riddle" page for riddle
writing tips or Riddle Writing Hints. Share an I Spy book
with students, if possible, to familiarize them with the poetic
style. Tap out the rhythmic pattern with students as they read.
Read aloud Jean Marzollo's "Riddle Writing Tips" page
with students. Encourage students to view the published pieces
of poetry to use as models for their own work. Invite them to
tour the I Spy gallery for models.
Drafting (12 Days)
Now, it's time for students to draft their poem or folktale. As
a class review the tips aloud and give students clear instructions
on how you want them to write their poem or folktale. Post the
writing rubric in the classroom for students to use as a guideline
for what is expected of them.
Jack Prelutsky: Have students refer to Jack Prelutsky's
Poem page" Suggest that they read all three poems first.
Then after choosing the one they like best, have them extend it
to create their own version of the poem.
Jean Marzollo: Suggest that they re-read the ideas presented
in Jean Marzollo's "Riddle
Writing Tips" page before they attempt their own work.
Encourage students to draw their picture as they write four lines
of a riddle poem (see More Tips in Step
2). Remind them to notice the placement of rhyming words and
Revising (2 Days)
When students are done with their drafts, have them exchange papers
with a peer for comments. Partners can write their comments on
the draft itself. Then have students follow the revising guidelines
on the tip writing page of each section. If you are working with
a Classport partner class, exchange drafts via e-mail for peer
review and comment. While students revise their drafts, have them
check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes.
Publishing (1 Day)
Once students have completed their revision, have them follow
directions to Publish Online with Alma Flor Ada and Rafe Martin
Jack Prelutsky for poetry or Jean Marzollo for
Project Wrap-Up (23 Days)
Give students time to complete any unfinished work. Use this time
to schedule a performance day. Assess students' proficiency with
the writing activity by consulting the appropriate rubric in assessment
Folktale's Writers Workshop with Alma Flor Ada and Rafe Martin
- What were your favorite folktales that you read? What was
it that made you like them?
- What helped you best in brainstorming for the folktale?
- What was different between the first and second draft of your
Poetry Writing with Jack Prelutsky
- Did you like writing a poem on an every day object? What
was hard and what was easy?
- What are some of the synonyms you came up with in your brainstorming
- What helped you best in brainstorming a new poem?
- What were some of the difficulties in editing and re-writing
Poetry Writing with Jean Marzollo
- What was the hardest part of writing a poem that had to be
in one pattern?
- Which was harder to do: write the poem or draw the picture?
- Did you learn some interesting words in writing an ISpy
riddle? What were they and what makes them interesting?