Your Turn: Placing a Small Moment Under a Magnifying Lens

Hook: Read Curious About Ice Cream by Bonnie Bader.

Brainstorm: (Prewrite/Plan) Make your own list in your writer’s notebook.  Students share in small group before you distribute your list. Take your favorite flavor and create word storm in your notebook (feelings, senses, thoughts, opinions, associations). You may use it later to write another notebook entry. Turn and talk with a partner.

Purpose: Today we are going to use ice-cream or sherbert flavors to help us recall a vivid memory for our writer’s notebook.  The entry will probably be fairly short, maybe four to ten sentences.  You will probably use many writing strategies quite naturally such as appeal to the senses, color words, and vivid adjectives.

Model: Teacher writes ice-cream memory on the board.

The light, tinkling music from the Good Humor truck as it rolls down Durham Street. Screen doors slap-slap-slap as kids pour out into the streets to buy their favorite sweet treat. I decide on a toasted almond bar. My sister Sandy jumps up and down in front of the truck window, her ringlets of gold jiggling with each jump. She asks for an orange creamsicle and hands over one shiny quarter. Sandy walks, stops, licks, spattering the sidewalk with drops of sticky sweetness all the way home. We sit on our stoop in the shade to finish – the lovely ice cream gone too soon!

Guided Writing: Turn and talk about the memory.  What did you like about it?  Open your notebook and try to write an ice-cream memory (sherbert, sorbet, gelato, or frozen yogurt). It may be helpful to have students brainstorm settings and write one sentence about each before deciding on the entry.  For example: Boardwalk – I sat on the hard, wooden bench and watched the waves rolling in and out, licking my creamy vanilla cone in rhythm with the waves.   I will walk around the room and peek at what you are doing (Roving conferences with clipboard).  After some time, have students share in small groups and in whole groups.  Copy some of their sentences on the chart.

Write and Reflect Again:  If you would revise this entry, what is one thing you would absolutely do?  Try it out. Remember, you are not writing an entire story!  Here is my example (Share on overhead or distribute your thoughts on a handout).  Give students time to write and share (even if only with a partner).

Reflection: Let’s look at my paragraph.  What writing strategies did I use?  Reflect on the strategies you seem to use naturally and automatically as a writer.  What are your “fingerprints”?

Write and Reflect Again:  If you would revise this entry, what is one thing you would absolutely do?  Try it out.  Perhaps rewrite your entry as a poem in any format.  Compare entries.  Which do you like better?  Why?

Projection (Optional): Create a goal for yourself that will help your reader to visualize your words.

  • Try to appeal to a sense you don’t usually use – like smell, taste, or touch. 
  • Look at your adjectives.  Are they vivid and exact? 
  • Do you use color? 
  • Examine past portfolio entries to see how you have used the senses to create descriptions.  Choose a piece for possible revision(s).
  • Find examples in your reading where authors appeal to the senses and copy them into your notebooks.  What strategy has an author used that you could try on for size?

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