Early in the unit Authors As Mentors, I presented a minilesson about how authors like Angela Johnson grow stories from small moments. It talks about how authors don’t sit down and write a book automatically after getting an idea. I used my small moment “card in glove compartment” to show how I could grow a story in my mind first before writing it down on paper. I used a blank book from the Work on Writing station of Daily 5 and touched each page as I told the story out loud to my class. I told my class that authors plan how the story will go before actually writing a book. I remember getting some “Ohs” on that comment. It was like little light bulbs going off at the same time. I could just see “I didn’t know that!” in their thought bubbles over their heads.

I then folded a piece of copier paper twice to make four equal sections and labeled the sections 1 – 8. I explained to my class that planning how your story will go is an important step for an author. Writing it out in this manner is another way to help you grow your story and if you make a mistake, it’s OK because this is not your published book. With their help remembering how my story went, I wrote it all down putting the events in order from 1 to 7. I told them they may not have to use all 8 sections of the paper. The most important thing was for them to give themselves time to grow their stories and I did not expect them to write a book all in one week.

Since then I have had several students taking the time to grow their stories into a published book. I wanted to share a few with you this week. Enjoy!

P.S. We have been talking about books having a title page, dedication page and the fact that authors do not put The End on the back of their books. They now realize that the illustrator usually has artwork on the back.










page 1 – I Go to the Store with Granny  page 2 – To my granny who is the best.  page 3 – One day I went to the store with my granny.  page 4 – It was fun. I got stuff to make a smoothie. And we went to Food Lion.  page 5 – Then we went home to make our smoothie. page 6 – I “drinked” all of mine. I got a brain freeze. page 7 – Then my granny “spended” the night with me. We watched TV. page 8 – I had so much fun with my granny. page 9 – I love my granny.  page 10 – Love













page 1 – A Day at P.E. page 2 – I dedicate this book to mom and dad. page 3 – One day in P.E.I almost got run into.  page 4 – But then (I) went around them and felt good.  page 5 – And we did another round of tag. We had a great time. page 6 – The End



4 thoughts on “Growing Stories in Your Mind

  1. Penny,
    I loved your blog this week as always. The writing is so impressive. Look at you and your class doing writing books. The writing and illustrations are wonderful. I really liked the “dadakeat to mom and dad.”


  2. I really like the idea of folding the paper to plan what they are going to write about! I may have to use that idea as we make more books in my classroom next week. Looks like your students are working really hard and enjoying what they are doing.


  3. This blog post is a testimony to the wonderful teacher that you are!! I am always inspired by the teaching that happens in your classroom. The progression of children’s writing from your first blog to this post….WOW!! Your students are writing more and more, but not only are they writing more and more they are also learning about what authors and illustrators do and they are incorporating that into their own writing/drawing.


  4. Using a folded piece of paper is such smart, easy way to support children in “growing stories.” I also think the language of “growing stories” is so much more useful than “adding details”–especially for young writers.

    The idea that “the end” doesn’t have to be stated at the end of a story (and usually isn’t) is something I always worked on with third graders. Your reader should KNOW it’s the end by the way you’ve structured the story and offered a clear ending/resolution. If your reader needs “the end” to know it’s “the end,” it’s a good sign that the real ending needs some revision!


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