Lesson 2: Setting the Scene
In the second part of this lesson, you will teach kids how to write a lead-in sentence.
1. At this point put the copy of the picture of the returning stampeders on the overhead. Have the student examine the picture. Ask, "What do you notice? What are the expressions on their faces? Do they look weary,excited, confident, suspicious?..."Encourage students to explain what they see and to justify their thoughts based on what they actually see.
2. Explain to the students they are to select one person in the picture and imagine they are that person. Tell the students they will be writing a brief paragraph from the perspective of their miner using a strong lead-in sentence. You can define "lead-in sentence" as a sentence early in a piece of writing that makes a reader curious to read more.
The paragraph will reflect the thoughts of the miner at that moment in time. The writing may not necessarily use proper grammar or complete sentences in order to portray the voice of the miner. The objective of the writing is to use a strong lead-in sentence in order to draw in the interest of the reader.
You could say, "When writing, it is important for the author to grab the reader's attention in the first couple of sentences. With a strong lead-in sentence an author can create excitement and interest on the part of the reader. Then the reader will want to continue reading."
3. Share some examples of writings with strong lead-ins. For example, Charlotte's Web by E. B. White or Caves by Stephen Kramer are both good examples. You could also share examples of the student writing included in this unit (Documents 2 and 3). Or share two different lead-in sentences, both about the same topic. Have one be a strong lead-in and the other bland. Have the students identify which sentence is more engaging then compare the two in order to articulate what makes the strong lead-in sentence better.
4. Pass out the overhead transparencies and pens. Have students write their short paragraphs on the transparencies in order for students to share their work later. Transparencies also add a layer of novelty which helps maintain student interest. Select a few students to share their writing with the class. Have the students identify a part of the writing that is interesting from the reader's perspective.
TEACHER NOTES: If you want to keep copies of the writing for documentation, you can have the class initially write on paper and select a few students to rewrite on the transparencies, or you can make copies of the transparencies on a copy machine.
OBJECTIVE: To create interest and excitement for the journey to the Klondike gold fields; To write lead-in sentences.
TIME: 90 minutes (can be broken into two parts)