We've been working on character development and identification throughout our writing workshops this week and my focus was for them to visualize their characters, then bring their characters to life in their narratives. Each student sketched and colored their characters for a "character museum" we'll share during The WOW Factor.
As with all beginning writing workshops, I'm constantly told "Mrs. Archer, I finished my story. Mrs. Archer, what do I do now? I'm ready to publish." All within 30 minutes of beginning. B was that student today. He was sharing with me his story he wrote on recycling because he looked around the room and saw the recycling bin over-flowing. Without much introduction or development, his character began with, "You must recycle." B understood his purpose and audience, but was failing to recognize the need to bring the reader up to speed with the character's mission. He would go back and write, then ask me another question. But, I could tell he wasn't getting the character development part. He even visited our school secretary, "the resident recycling expert" to ask her questions on why laminating film could not be put in the blue bins.
Later that afternoon, he was reading Loser by Jerry Spinelli, when he came up to me. "Mrs. Archer, I'm understanding what you mean by describing the character. Jerry Spineli described a character in the middle of the book so well, I was able to picture it in my mind. I'm going to try that tomorrow in my story." He got it!! No matter how many different ways I tried to explain my thoughts, he was able to grasp it by looking at a mentor text. B placed a post-it note in the spot to share during creation station (our writing workshop). These are the shining moments! These are special times!