A Bushel of Stories, Lesson 3 – Real Writing, middle school

A Bushel of Stories, Lesson 3 – Real Writing, middle school

Target Grade Level / Age Range:

6-8

Estimated Time:

1-2, 45-minute class periods

Virtual Learning:

Use this document to convert the lesson into a virtual learning module for your students. Use the steps outlined to create the different elements of a Google Classroom or other online learning platform. You can also send the steps directly to students in a PDF, present them in a virtual meeting, or plug them into any other virtual learning module system.

Purpose:

Students will learn writing skills and practice them by creating their own fiction or non-fiction story about agriculture or food production. Resulting stories will be eligible to submit to the Bushel of Stories writing competition.

Materials:

  • White board, poster paper, or other classroom note-taking materials
  • Research materials (reference books, internet)
  • Writing materials (computers, notebooks, writing utensils)

Essential Files:

Vocabulary:

  • Introduction: the beginning of a plot where the characters and setting are introduced
  • Rising action: the second section of the plot where the events leading up to the conflict unfold
  • Climax: the third section of the plot where the major event occurs in which the main character faces a major conflict or challenge. The most action, drama, change, and excitement occur here.
  • Falling action: the fourth section of the plot where the story begins to slow down and tie up loose ends
  • Resolution: the last section of the plot where any remaining issues are resolved and concluded
  • Characters: people or personified subjects in a book, play, or movie
  • Setting: the place and time in which a story is set
  • Plot: the main events of a story devised and presented as an interrelated sequence
  • Conflict: the opposition of persons or forces that gives rise to the dramatic action in a drama or fiction

Background – Agricultural Connections:

This lesson is the third and final in the Bushel of Stories unit. This unit was written to teach students about books, how authors write books, and how to in turn write their own. Students participating in this lesson unit may also be eligible to compete in the Bushel of Stories writing competition. Please visit: https://www.iowaagliteracy.org/tools-resources/general/for-students for more information about the competition.

This lesson, Real Writing, teaches students about book creation by having students take part in the writing process themselves. In this lesson, students will mirror steps 1-7 of the writing process explained in Lesson 2. There will be brief refreshers on what the steps mean, and students will use a graphic organizer to prompt them through the steps and help organize their ideas.

The graphic organizer, linked in this lesson, will help walk students through the steps for brainstorming book ideas; identifying setting, characters, and summary; outlining the plot, including the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution; and identifying the five characteristics of a story covered in Lesson 1 (author/illustrator, fiction/non, perspective, author’s purpose, and main idea). The steps for research, writing, and editing and revisions will need to be done separately either in a notebook or on a computer.

The majority of this lesson will be spent guiding students through the steps that were outlined in more detail in the previous lesson. At this point, students should have a decent grasp of what authors plan for, and should be equipped to start the process themselves with some guidance.

Interest Approach – Engagement:

Start class by reviewing the steps mentioned in Lesson 2 to create a book. Remind students that authors brainstorm, outline, identify book characteristics, research, write, edit, revise, and finally publish and distribute their stories. Ask if students have any lingering questions from the previous lesson on those steps.

Procedures:

  1. Pass out the attached graphic organizer and explain to students that they will be the authors for the rest of class.
    1. Explain to students that they will now be in charge of writing their own story about food or agriculture. This worksheet should now be a roadmap for what to research and how to start writing their story.
    2. If student stories will be submitted to the Bushel of Stories writing competition, make sure your instruction for the assignment meets the contest rules, as well.
  2. Walk through the graphic organizer as a class, reading instructions and pointing out each section. Tell students that the steps for research and writing the story will not take place in the graphic organizer, but they should use their notebooks (or computers) for those pieces instead.
  3. Answer preliminary questions about the assignment and allow students to start working. When it seems that most students have gone on to the next step, give brief overviews of what is expected from that step.
  4. When students have mostly finished their graphic organizers, remind them that the next step is research. Instruct them to take notes in their notebook of facts or topics they might need to research. Point out research materials in the classroom available to use and offer to help students find information. Remember, these books are to be about agriculture or food, and accuracy is very important, even in fiction stories.
    1. If multiple students are finding themselves researching the same topic (for example, what kinds of modern machines are used on farms), consider using class time to search out materials and information together. Look through IALF’s YouTube Channel playlists to find relevant and trustworthy videos to share with the class. Consider borrowing books from IALF’s Lending Library to refer to. IALF’s blog can also help provide background information on modern agriculture.
  5. After students have successfully researched for their books, the next step is to write. This will also need to be done on a computer or in a notebook. Remind students to remember to insert page breaks in their stories. Students are not required to create illustrations for their books.
  6. Allow time for the class to work. Answer student questions as necessary.
    1. Either allow class time for writing or assign the story as homework for a later date.
  7. When students’ stories are finished, have them hand in their stories. As the teacher, write edits and suggestions to the students on their stories and return the papers back to them.
    1. With older students, consider adding in a peer review, where 2-5 students swap papers and give feedback to one another.
  8. Allow students the time to make revisions and turn in a second, final draft. Tell them they have then completed the 6th and 7th steps in their journey of becoming authors!
  9. Submit students’ stories to the Bushel of Stories writing competition. Explain the scope of the contest to students and explain that the winner of the contest will have their book published.

Did you know? (Ag facts)

  • The average farm size in Iowa is 355 acres (an acre is about the size of a football field)
  • 95% of Iowa farms are family-owned

Extension Activities:

  • Submit students’ stories to the Bushel of Stories writing competition for a chance at becoming a real, published author!
  • Read agricultural stories as a class, and have students write sequels to the stories.
  • Work with the art teacher to learn about illustrating books and how accurate illustrations make books better.

Suggested Companion Resources:

  • My Family’s Farm book series

Sources/Credits:

Author:

Chrissy Rhodes

Organization Affiliation:

Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

Agriculture Literacy Outcomes:

  • T3.6-8.i: Identify sources of agricultural products that provide food, fuel, clothing, shelter, medical, and other non-food products for their community, state, and/or nation.

Iowa Core Standards:

  • English Language Arts
    • 6th Grade:
      • Writing standards:
        • W.6.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
        • W.6.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
        • W.6.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
        • W.6.5: With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
    • 7th grade
      • Writing standards:
        • W.7.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
        • W.7.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
        • W.7.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
        • W.7.5: With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
    • 8th grade
      • Writing standards:
        • W.8.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
        • W.8.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
        • W.8.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
        • W.8.5: With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.