Christmas Adventure Writing
Students will be able to write a narrative that incorporates characters, setting, problem, and solution into a Christmas-themed story.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Ask for students to share the titles of some of their favorite Christmas stories.
- Ask for one student to summarize his or her favorite Christmas story.
- Support the student to incorporate the setting, characters, problem, and solution into his or her summary of the story.
- Remind students that:
- the setting is where a story takes place,
- the characters are the people or animals that are in the story,
- the problem is a conflict that the characters need to solve, and
- the solution is how the characters solve the problem.
- Tell students that today they will be writing their own Christmas stories.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- Explain to students that their Christmas stories will be similar to each other’s in some ways but different in other ways.
- Tell students that all of their stories will take place on Christmas Eve. In their stories, a reindeer, candy cane, and snowman will have an adventure together.
- Explain to students that their job is to explain how the characters met, where they went, and where Santa Claus might be.
- Remind students that their stories should have a problem and a solution.
- Tell students to take some time to think about a possible adventure these characters might embark on.
- Ask students to touch their noses when they have their idea.
- Once all of the students are touching their noses, begin the pre-writing process. If any students are struggling to come up with an idea, check in with them one-on-one to help generate some story ideas.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (15 minutes)
- Explain to students that before writing their story it is important to do some planning to think about the different elements of their stories and to organize and explore their ideas.
- Project the Story Planning Worksheet onto the board, and distribute a copy to each student.
- Model for your students how to complete this pre-writing activity using your own Christmas story featuring a reindeer, candy cane, and snowman.
- Think aloud and tell your students, “My story is going to take place on a tropical island like Hawaii.” Model for students how you will write your setting in the box under the heading “Setting.” Ask students to think about where their stories will take place and to write it in their “Setting” box.
- Once students are done move on to characters.
- Think aloud and tell your students, “I already know that I have to include the reindeer, candy cane, and snowman in my story, so I will write them under “Characters.” However, I also want to include a hawk in my story, so I will add that to my list.” Ask students to think about the characters in their stories and to write them in the “Characters” box.
- Once students are done move on to the problem.
- Think aloud and tell your students, “In my story the problem is that the characters are stranded in Hawaii, and the snowman is beginning to melt. They need to think of a way to get him back to the North Pole immediately!” Model for students how you will write your problem in the box under the heading “Problem.” Ask students to think about the problem in their stories and write it in their “Problem” box.
- Once students are done move on to the solution.
- Think aloud and tell your students, “In my story the problem is solved when the hawk flies to the North Pole to tell Santa about the melting snowman. Santa rushes to Hawaii on his sleigh to bring them all back to the freezing North Pole.” Model for students how you will write your solution in the box under the heading “Solution.” Ask students to think about the solution in their stories and write it in their “Solution” box.
- Once students are done move on to the title.
- Think aloud and tell your students, “I want my title to be exciting so that people want to read my story. I think I will call it 'The Melting Snowman.'” Model for students how you will write your title in the box under the heading “Title.” Ask students to think about the title of their stories and write it in the “Title” box.
- Tell students now that they have organized their ideas, they are ready to work on their stories.
Independent Working Time (15 minutes)
- Hand out and preview the Writing a Christmas Story worksheet for students to complete independently.
- Walk around the room, providing students with support for generating ideas, using invented spelling, etc.
- Have students use a blank piece of white paper instead of the Story Planning Worksheet to draw the elements of their story (characters, setting, problem, and solution). Have them add labels and words depending on their writing abilities.
- Have students use a blank piece of white paper instead of the Writing a Christmas Story worksheet to draw their Christmas adventure, adding labels and words depending on their writing abilities.
- In addition to writing their story, students could write a prequel to give background on their characters or a sequel to keep the adventure going.
Assessment (5 minutes)
- Post the “Story Elements” poster on the board.
- Tell students that you will read one of your Christmas-themed adventure stories aloud.
- Ask students to listen closely to see that your story incorporates all four of the story elements (setting, characters, problem, and solution) discussed today.
- Read your story aloud.
- After reading, go through each of the story elements on the chart paper and ask students to give you a thumbs up if each element is incorporated and a thumbs down if it is not.
Review and Closing (10 minutes)
- Call students to the rug for Author’s Chair (a sharing technique where students sit in a chair before the group to share their story).
- Using either popsicle sticks to pull students’ names or by taking volunteers, give at least five students the opportunity to share their stories aloud.
- After each student is done reading, encourage the other students to provide positive feedback to their peers by raising their hands to share something that they liked.