Sunday, November 18, 2018

This Writing is of Extraordinary Interest

It's November, so the past two weeks have found me teaching my favorite topic of the year: Sherlock Holmes!

For the last 8 days of lessons (Veteran's Day and a snow day broke things up) we've been reading through some of the greats: The Blue Carbuncle, The Red-Headed League, The Speckled Band, The Copper Beeches, and A Scandal in Bohemia.  And after eight days of lessons, I still feel like I need more time!

We always do a writing component with the Sherlock Holmes unit.  The kids learn the story elements of a mystery, practice identifying them in BLUE, and then create their own Sherlock Holmes story, making sure to include each element.  These stories go through a couple of drafts, and then the final version is published three ways: one for me to grade, one to be collected in a class book, and one to be put in a decorated cover for the kids to take home. 

But this year, I was able to really drum up the writing aspect by telling the kids that they had the opportunity to get their stories published in an actual book because  Belanger Books is asking for submissions for a new collection of stories by and for young readers.  To my knowledge, this is the first collection of its kind, and what a great idea!  I'm a firm believer in the importance of classroom libraries, and when this book comes out, it will definitely be added to mine!

Now, will all of my kids submit?  Nope.  And even fewer will get accepted.  But what an impact this will have on the kids that go through the submission process!  This is a real life experience that shows kids that writing isn't just a school assignment.  There is a place in the world for what they are learning in class.  We could be looking at the seed of future authors, journalists, or fan fiction writers right now.

And it won't just resonate with this year's class.  If at least one kid from my school can get a story into this collection, who's to say that it won't prompt kids in the next few years to pick up a Sherlock Holmes book just to see what one of their peers has written?  Could that lead to other Sherlockian stories for that kid?  We can only hope!

With all of the regular lessons about Watson as a narrator, rising action in The Copper Beeches, how good villains are written, practicing reader's theater plays, and this writing project, I still haven't even had time to introduce my class to The Junior Sherlockian Society!  Good thing I have one more day left before Thanksgiving break! 

Tomorrow's lesson plans are to put on plays of REDH and BLUE for the other fifth grade classes, tell the kids about the Junior Sherlockian Society, and of course, watch The Great Mouse Detective.  Because it's important to expose students to one of the best interpretations of Holmes ever made.

1 comment:

  1. I always enjoy hearing about your classroom adventures. Your students are fortunate! You expose them to the great detective and give them opportunities to be productive citizens. I hope I get the opportunity to read their tales!