Author Craft Study
Part I: Beginnings
No "Once upon a time", "There was once a guy..." or writing prompts in our room!
We have closely examined how writer's begin their pieces of writing. First, Mrs. Bunyi started by collecting and recording various samples from authors in our classroom. Then we categorized it by labeling what the author was doing on various charts (e.g. sentence fragments, talking to the reader, starting with the setting, etc.). Click here to see the charts. After this, students got to work collecting introductions they found. Click here for those collections. And finally, students took the challenge to create powerful beginnings of their own. The results were just impressive, even on an adult level. Here are some of our original submissions (many came from old pieces- real life revisions in process!)
Untitled by Abby
Candles, cobwebs hanging from the ceiling. The sweet smell of my grandma Nora's home-made chicken pot pie, fresh from the oven. Papa kisses me goodnight leaving his old straw hat on my worn out dresser. Then the room goes dark. The only thing lit up was the light of the hallway shining through the crack of my door.
Christmas Tree by Darius
It waits in the dark woods for people to come. It waits for children. It waits to be chopped down. It waits very happily.
Untitled by Erin
The night. Freezing. The wind howled. The blood thirsty animals bellowed. They wouldn't stop until it was done. Over. Gone. Blood trickled down my neck through my thick fur. Aware. Afraid. I barred my teeth as the pack- my pack- moved on. Restless. Depending. Waiting for a command.
Untitled by Will
Never would Rossi stay up so late. Usually, the dim of the TV would take him out or the wind of his open window. But tonight, none of these things worked, so he quietly opened the window.
Untitled by Kayla
Happiness. You never want it to dry out. It can happen in life. Your parents might die or you barely get to see one. You wish things were different. And there are two sides. You can only pick one.
The Story of Wonderful by Ethan
I was about the same age as you are now, when my cousin and I were bored and my cousin said, "Let's build a bridge out in the woods." I thought that was a good idea, so I followed him. Now, first we built small bridges. We succeeded, failed, failed, succeeded, failed. But that didn't stop us from building our greatest project yet.
My Journey by Jeannie
When I found out my grandfather left the world, my heart broke into a million pieces. I just couldn't believe it. My grandpa. Gone. Forever. Never seeing his smiling face. He was the only person I could really tell my feelings to. Now, since he's gone forever, my life is going to change forever.
Untitled by Jordon
It was one quiet, hot summer. All you could hear was the wind whistling in the air and some kids splashing in the water having fun.
Untitled by Ashley
In the house alone to go the wrong way again and again- over and over to see what's on your face. And the beginning has begun again. The mystery is here.
Untitled by Ty
The room was silent. The wind was blowing so hard all of the windows were bursting. But now you could hear a pencil drop. The little girl was scared! She was AFRAID!
Untitled by Jerrica
"Jenny, you dropped something," my good friend Felicia Liguari said, pointing toward a piece of pale pink paper that had fallen out of my locker and landed on the floor.
Untitled by Jasper
It's summer. Birds chirping. Dogs barking. Kids running. Splashes of water hitting my face. I'm setting down beside my friends. Talking. It's getting very, very hot. So, I jump into the swimming pool. Everything is normal and boring.
I just finished up 4th grade. If my teacher (Mrs. Bunyi) hadn't taught me how to read and write so long, I wouldn't be writing this book right now. My story starts two years ago.
Evil Cocos From Chocolate Forest by Taylor
The story you now hold is not a story to be held, assuming you are, in fact, holding it, and not putting it down on a table, which is what you should do, because this story is not a story to be held. Especially if you don't like stories with evil large groups of evil giant-sized Cocos being controlled by an evil mastermind. If you are interested, though, put this book on a table and begin to read.
Untitled by Megan
...when the wind blows the cradle will rock. So hush-a-bye baby. My little baby, your dreams will come true tonight. So sleep your dreamy little eyes, everything will be all right.
My new baby twin sisters were born last night. I am now watching them sleep in my mom and dad's arms. They both look alike. Although Daelyn's head is filled with hair, Dalaynec's is not.
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Click on the image for a larger picture
We used the gradual release of responsibility model for this. That's "watch me", then "let's do this together", then "do it on your own". The left is one of two charts from the "watch me". The chart on the right are samples students shared with the class for the "let's do this together".