Second birthday

18 Oct

It’s Dad’s second birthday since he passed away.

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We are doing a mini unit on personal essays in sixth grade and today we are quick writing some micro stories, and lists (tight and extended).  I thought I’d try some of these strategies talking about my dad.

Microstory 1:

We weren’t a family that prayed at meals, except on special occasions. Because we weren’t a family that prayed at meals my father developed a strategy for  a successful grace. Before the meal he would write the grace on a slip of paper. Then, he would bring it to the meal and slip it under the edge of his plate . When all heads were bowed, he’d slip the paper closer and read the text.

Tight List 1:

My dad loved crossword puzzles, his children’s education, and a cool beer on a hot day.

Extended list 2:

My dad loved doing the crossword puzzle and always had one affixed  to his clipboard, next to his mechanical pencil and extendable eraser. My dad took an interest in our education, expecting us to do our best and asking questions about what we were learning. My dad loved to sit on the back deck sipping a cool beer on a hot day, admiring his backyard.

Microstory 2: 

In grade 6, my dad essentially made our science fair project. My twin sister and I were partners and Dad suggested we make a telegraph. We spent several hours with him, down in his workshop where he cut tin and wire. We watched as he nailed and screwed the  parts together. Finally, when it was finished, we got to test it out. He’d made the wires extra long, so you could send morse code from one room to another. We got an A.

Tight List 2:

My dad was an excellent electrician, gardener, and chef.

Extended List 2:

My dad was an excellent electrician and handy man who could build or fix anything. My dad was an excellent gardener who grew orchids inside and roses outside. My dad was an excellent chef who didn’t mind doing the dishes afterwards.

Before sitting down to write these, I hadn’t intended to share these with my students. I think I might, now. I can use these as models of the ideas, before I show how to apply the strategies to the topic I’ve chosen for my personal essay.

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8 Responses to “Second birthday”

  1. terierrol October 18, 2016 at 6:18 am #

    I loved reading about your Dad. Thanks for sharing. Your students are lucky to have you as teacher and model writer.

  2. vendija723 October 18, 2016 at 7:35 am #

    This does a beautiful dual job at being an exemplary model for what you want your students to do (I’m itching to try it out myself!) and a loving tribute to a very specific individual.

  3. arjeha October 18, 2016 at 7:55 am #

    I like the idea of the tight list, extended list, and microstory. What a great way to start with something small and expand it. Love reading about your father.

  4. lindabaie October 18, 2016 at 8:01 am #

    You’ve given us a lesson in writing and one in love, Adrienne. Those birthdays bring back memories every time, no matter how long ago. I loved hearing about your dad.

  5. Tara Smith October 18, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    Love the writing process you shared…and the memories of your dad!

  6. lisaorchard1 October 18, 2016 at 11:51 am #

    Awww…I loved reading about your dad. He sounds like an awesome man and I think it was so good of him to help you build a telegraph. 🙂

  7. Brian Rozinsky October 18, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

    These snapshots of your dad made me picture and smile about someone I’ve never met. Meanwhile, the economical combination of tight and extended lists, plus micro stories, packs an unexpected wallop that I’m definitely carrying away in my writer’s toolkit to share with others.

  8. MAK October 18, 2016 at 8:35 pm #

    These are beautiful memories and beautiful mentor texts. I hope you do share them with your students.

Comments are closed.

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