Here is the initial email I sent to the Grade 6 students:
Dear Grade 6 Students,
Thank you so much for agreeing to help the Grade 4 students in my class to revise and edit their stories. They have been asked to use a book they have really enjoyed reading, then write either an extra chapter, or an alternative ending.
They have been working really hard on their stories and are almost at the publishing stage. However, before they get there, they would really benefit from some last minute advice and that’s where you come in. You have each been given a Grade 4 buddy. Your buddy will be sharing their story with you this week (by Wednesday). Your job is to read through the story and then offer suggestions as to how it might be improved.
You will do this on Friday when you will be hooking up with your story writing buddy to discuss their story. You might do this via google hangouts, or simply by commenting on their google doc. I would like you to critique their stories in as much detail as possible to help them produce the best possible work.
This link will take you to our class blog. It will show you some of the things we have been working on:
- Creating an effective story opening
- Writing effective settings
- Creating 3D characters
- How to Ba-Da-Bing a sentence
I’ve also asked my students to try and make sure every sentence makes sense and that the plot flows so that they keep the reader actively engaged. This is quite a lot to ask of my students but they’ve done a pretty good job so far. Your task is to help them turn good stories into great stories. Try to make your feedback as detailed as possible. You might use phrases like:
“I really like this paragraph but could you describe ….. In more depth?”
“Could you use a more powerful adjective here?”
“Maybe you could Ba-Da-Bing this sentence.”
“How did X feel when this happened?”
“Could you show how X was feeling rather than telling us?”
Thanks again for your help.
We’re really looking forward to hanging out with you guys on Friday.
A WINNING SHORT STORY
- Does it have an attention-grabbing title?
- Does the first line ‘hook’ the reader?
- Does the story have sharp attention to detail?
- Is the setting interesting and unusual? Do we (as the reader) get a sense of the setting’s atmosphere?
- Is the character interesting and dynamic?
- If the characters speak, is their dialogue authentic and believable?
- Can we relate to or empathize with the main character?
- Is the language and vocabulary interesting and creative? Do you ‘show not tell’?
- Do you make use of all 5 senses?
- Does the structure make sense: is there a clear beginning, middle & end?
- Is the main message or theme clear?
- Is the Story Memorable? Original? Creative?
- Is there a satisfying ending? Remember, sometimes less is more...
- And finally..... Edit, edit, edit! Is the story FREE of spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes?
"She added a lot of comments. My first paragraph used to be half of what it is now."
"He gave me 2 or 3 bits of advice."
"I think it was really helpful."
"My buddy told me basic stuff but when I asked she went into more depth."
"She was really helpful. She gave me hard things to think about. She really challenged me. My first 2 paragraphs have lots of depth but the ones need more."
"He gave some advice and told me specific place where I needed to add more detail."
"He made what was good, great."
"She really helped out with the title and capital letters."