So Natasha’s English curriculum guided her through writing a “personal story” paper, and I coached her. She did the steps over a couple days.
This was actually traumatic because she knew what she wanted to write about and I still wanted her to write at least one more thing down. She doesn’t like writing any more than I did at her age, so I’m always looking for functional reasons for her to write to get a bit more practice.
Picking one (Check.), making a list of things to mention in the story, and then deciding the order of presintation of the list. Then she was supposed to write, self-check/revise and then rewrite it.
I added the steps of telling me before she wrote her first draft because (as a storyteller, and knowing how discouraging the physical mechanics of writing can be) I wanted this oppertunity to stay wonderful.
It was wonderful. Somewhere between making the list and deciding what order the things should be presented in she realised she was preparing to write a story. Like Mama writes stories.
And her motivation was so high it was adorable and a delight. When she got to the writing stage she sometimes had to ask how to spell words. I’d help her sound things out (unless they were sight-words. Then I just told her), and before the end she was sounding out her own words. And feeling GREAT about that, too.
Every sentence was a triumph, and after each one she had to stop to read me the whole piece from the beginning.
There were so many fun things coming out of her mouth I kept tweeting them, so here’s the train in 140 characters or less:
- So excited! I’m coaching my oldest through her first writing project. “1st draft. Just get the words down- ideally where they make sense.”
- Me: Good use of commas. N: What are commas? (The power of good reading and writing-play.)
- Me:The little curly things after the names. What do you think they’re for? N: They’re like *ands* only… not.
- Thank you Daddy for taking us to that rocket launch. This is so great. N (singing): This is so fun! This is so fun! I’m writing a *story!*
After we went over her first draft she rewrote it, and this is her final product.
At 1:00 AM, January 28, we went to a rocket launch. I went with Mom, Dad, Melody, and Elisha. At 1:40 AM, the rocket launched and it made a big light on the horizon. When the rocket got into the sky it made a big BOOMing noise. Then we went home and went to bed.
What type of rocket launch?
A Black Brant 10. It’s a sounding rocket which is a sub-orbital launch to take payloads high above the atmosphere.
Most launches from Poker Flat are for aurora research.
Since this wasn’t for aurora research it actually had a defined launch date/time rather than waiting for the occurrence they were looking for.
So now when they do aurora research what types of things are they trying to determine?
This is so interesting. We have nothing like this on the east coast.
Natasha, I’m very proud of you and your first story. I loved going to a rocket launch with your daddy too, many years ago before he and your mommy were married. I probably wrote about it in my journal at the time. Maybe we can look for that journal next time you come to Grandma’s house.
[…] impressed with how systematically it worked through the basics in her 2nd-grade text. She wrote her first personal essay last year, following the step-by-step instructions as guided by the curriculum. She […]