The last post was such a downer, I just can't leave on that note. So, for your edification, here's what I taught today.
We're working on narrative writing, and this lesson focused on dialogue. Now, this was just the introduction, so I didn't get to bring in all of the wonderful examples found in the wide world of Literature, but we'll get to do that on Thursday.
We started the writing lesson looking at some examples of short dialogue and talking about bits from one of their favorite stories, which happens to come from the author of one of my favorite book series. Then we read some sentences with and without punctuation to show why it's important. Of course, I pulled out one of my old favorites:
"A woman, without her man, is nothing."
"A woman. Without her, man is nothing."
Most of my girls preferred the second!
After a quick, painless practice exercise to remind everyone that the comma goes BEFORE the quotation marks, the kids worked on writing a conversation between two characters from a story they had read last week. When one pair had a hard time getting started, we assigned parts, with each kid pretending to be one of the characters. They took off! They were laughing and joking and working and writing and creating dialogue that worked and was interesting! We spent about 25 minutes working on the dialogue, and it took a few minutes to convince them that yes, they really had to stop, because it was time to go to lunch. It was one of those cheesy fuzzy moments that made me say, "even though this job can be total shit sometimes, it's worth it when I actually get to teach!"
(note the exclamation point BEFORE the quotation marks)
Next week we'll work on suspense. We really should work on persuasive writing, but, truth be told, I hate teaching persuasive writing! Adolescents really don't have the cognitive ability to put together a coherent argument, which is the foundation of all persuasion, and trying to teach them to organize thoughts that they don't have is like pulling teeth that aren't there. You just end up with sore gums. Yeah.
4 hours ago