Corps of Discovery Land of the Empire Builder Watermelon vs. Seed

Mr. Stephens' Journal

Whenever we write personal narratives, we want to make sure we don't just summarize what happened. Too often, we end up summarizing our stories and they end up being rather boring. They may be well written, and can be understood, but they just don't grab the reader and make them want to read more. We call these watermelon topics (thanks Lucy Calkins). We don't want to write watermelon topics, we want to break down the watermelon and pull out a seed story from within. This allows us to ZOOM in on the details. To illustrate what a good seed story looks like, I have included a few examples that I have written in my journal during writing time, and the kids seem to enjoy and learn from them.

Teachers, when you write with your class, magic happens. They learn from your struggles and your successes. When you can share your thoughts through written words with them, they will never forget the lessons you endure so hard to instill into them. Be vulnerable, take risks...write.

Personal Narratives
- A Trip on a Water Slide to Remember(a class favorite)
- Never Saw it Coming (good example of a strong lead)
- Uh, What's Hanging from the Ceiling?
- The "Risk" of Playing Board Games at Night
- My Dad, the Hero (example of summary)
- The Sunriver Sunburn
- My First Year of Teaching
- College Graduation Speech
- Why are there so many bolts left over Dad?
- Ripping it Up on the Court
- Roller Skating (unfinished)

- My Favorite Time of the Year

Quick Writes
- Frog in her hair...
- Running down the Hall
- The Aquarium

Sunnie Dog
Mr. Stephens' Writing Journal
Fourth Grade

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