April 17, 2013

Creating Picture Books with Kids: Sharing Our Ideas and Writing Our Stories

Today I continue my series of posts about "Writing Fractions Stories with First Graders." Last week I summarized the students' research and general project guidelines. This week, I'll provide a brief summary of the fabulous story ideas the students started working on: 

Grace:  Willie the Wolf howls at howls at the moon. Forest creatures ask him questions that involve portions of the moon.

Alyssa: Kit the Cat is on a picnic with Buddy the dog (and possibly other friends). Pie, watermelon and apples will need to be divided.

Kate: "Dog" steals portions of food off the table.  Readers will be asked how much he ate and how much is left (i.e. dog ate 1/4 of the food, how much of the food is left?).

Sophia: Four insects are playing together. One by one they will go away to their own habitat (and the fractions will be incorporated in terms of how many of the insects have left and how many remain).

Miguel: Spot the Cat (a referee) has 12 friends (though he is rethinking that  6 might be more manageable ). Spot organizes several games (tug of war, relays, etc.) and will need to divide his friends up into fractional groupings to play the different games.

Ed: Different rain forest animals will come to shared water source to drink water, but the water is in short supply. The water will continue to reduce as the story progresses (i.e. now there is only 3/4 of the water remaining).

Val: Stray cats will be doing various things like eating and sleeping. The story will be told by indicating what fraction of the cats are doing the different activities. (i.e. 1/2 of the cats are sleeping. 1/4 of the cats are eating).

Ethan: Rob the Tiger is a PE Teacher. He has 12 kids in the class, and he will divide them up for different classroom games.

Nikko: Sammy's Fraction Adventures: Book One: Lost. This story is about a cube named Sammy who is made out of a jello-y substance. He gets lost and must get back home, but runs into various obstacles along the way. He must divide himself into different fractions/portions to get through the obstacles and get back home.

Drew: Henry owns a fish shop. Kids come in to get a supply of fish of different colors (i.e. 1/2 blue and 1/2 red).


By this stage in the process, many of the students had well developed illustrations to go along with their stories. Students were motivated and very focused on their project during class time. Before this class session ended we reviewed the importance of keeping the plot simple and staying on focus in terms of weaving the fractions into the story. We also reviewed that there would be several revisions to these stories before they were ready to be published into their final drafts. In a future post I will share the revision process. 

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