I visited with the third graders at Blanchard Elementary School today. They were a great audience and had some excellent questions about writing and books. I was so excited to hear how much they enjoyed the Georgia habitat books. It's really a wonderful feeling when your audience loves to read what you wrote!
Our topic for today was the hats a writer wears. You don't start out wearing the author hat. You start with the investigator hat, the one that leads to an idea and the information relating to it. Then you move on to the writer hat and work, work, work! After that comes the editor's hat. Read it out loud. Revise. Get it right.
It would be nice if writing proceeded in a nice straight line like that, but it generally doesn't. So we talked about moving back and forth between the hats, finding the right amount of information, the best way of presenting it, and filling in the holes.
Tricks of the trade: I had asked the students to bring a piece of their writing with them. I gave everyone a piece of tracing paper to place over their writing. Then we placed a pencil on the beginning capital word and drew a straight line to the period, continuing until each sentence was lined through. When you lift the tracing paper, you can see the length of your sentences. The trick is to realize how long your sentences are and make sure that you vary their length. A long one, a short one, a couple of medium length, another short one. Variety is the spice of life, and it goes a long way towards improving a composition.
After signing a few books (and a few arms!), I said goodbye. Abby, my sweet guide, walked me back to the office and sent me on my way. It was a good day.
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