Either the entire class or teams of students will work cooperatively to write a play about one day in the life of a boy or girl who is either on a journey or living on a canal boat.
Grade 7, Language Arts — Writing Process
A. Generate writing topics and establish a purpose appropriate for the audience.
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01. Generate writing ideas through discussions with others and from printed material, and keep a list of writing ideas.
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02. Conduct background reading, interviews or surveys when appropriate.
D. Use revision strategies to improve the overall organization, the clarity and consistency of ideas within and among paragraphs and the logic and effectiveness of word choices.
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06. Organize writing with an effective and engaging introduction, body and a conclusion that summarizes, extends or elaborates on points or ideas in the writing.
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12. Add and delete information and details to better elaborate on a stated central idea and to more effectively accomplish
G. Apply tools to judge the quality of writing.
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16. Apply tools (e.g., rubric, checklist and feedback) to judge the quality of writing.
H. Prepare writing for publication that is legible, follows an appropriate format and uses techniques such as electronic resources and graphics.
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17. Prepare for publication (e.g., for display or for sharing with others) writing that follows a format appropriate to the purpose, using such techniques as electronic resources, principles of design (e.g., margins, tabs, spacing and columns) and graphics (e.g., drawings, charts and graphs) to enhance the final product.
Photos about canal life are available at www.generationscvnp/photos.aspx.
- Have the students do a freewrite about the daily life of a boy or girl who lived from 1825-1840 and took a journey on the canal. The students can create their own scenarios for why they were making this journey.
- Share the freewrites. Discuss and list on the board similarities and differences between daily life now and in the 1800s.
- Challenge the groups or entire class to create an outline or skeleton of a prose story based on the freewrites. Guide them in the following:
- Creating at least four characters
- Developing a believable setting (time and place)
- Creating and resolving a simple problem using facts gathered previously
- Once story skeletons have been completed, brainstorm and record on the board the differences between writing prose and writing scripts. If possible, make available to students a copy of each. Be sure to talk about the importance of dialogue and stage directions.
- Share copies of the Playwriting Checklist. Depending on the ability level of the students, you may need to have one or more lessons about writing plays. The Western Reserve Public Media Web site One State, Many Nations offers tips for writing plays at www.WesternReservePublicMedia.org/onestate/lp2tips.htm.
- To help the students through the process of writing a play, distribute the following student handouts to each group (or do this together as a class):
- Explain to students that in a script, you first give the speakers name and then what he/she says. You also write any stage direction, such as the setting, the movement on the stage, etc.
- If time permits, it is great to actually have the students act the plays out. If the plays are not acted out, there should be some sharing process where each group tells the story they have written.
The final products may be evaluated in a variety of ways. If time permits, the plays can be acted out for an audience. Plays may be presented by reading the scripts rather than acting them out.
The following rubric also may be used.
||Four characters are named and clearly described. Most readers could describe the characters accurately.
||Four characters are named and described. Most readers would have some idea of what the characters looked like.
||Fewer than four characters are named. The reader knows very little about the characters.
||Fewer than four characters are named and no descriptions are given.
||Many vivid, descriptive words are used to tell when and where the story took place.
||Some vivid, descriptive words are used to tell the audience when and where the story took place.
||The reader can figure out when and where the story took place, but the author didn’t supply much detail.
||The reader has trouble figuring out when and where the story took place.
||It is very easy for the reader to understand the problem the main characters face and why it is a problem.
||It is fairly easy for the reader to understand the problem the main characters face and why it is a problem.
||It is fairly easy for the reader to understand the problem the main characters face, but it is not clear why it is a problem.
||It is not clear what problem the main characters face.
||Many facts about the canal are used, and the information is accurate.
||Some facts about the canal are used, and the information is accurate.
||Few facts about the canal are used, or the information is inaccurate.
||Few facts are used about the canal are used, and the information is inaccurate.
||The story contains many creative details and/or descriptions that contribute to the reader’s enjoyment. The author has definitely used his or her imagination.
||The story contains a few creative details and/or descriptions that contribute to the reader’s enjoyment. The author has used his imagination.
||The story contains a few creative details and/or descriptions, but they distract from the story. The author has tried to use his or her imagination.
||There is little evidence of creativity in the story. The author does not seem to have used much imagination.