“Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” – Gene Fowler.
Alex is having a hard time with the jump from writing a few sentences to writing paragraphs. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that Alex is giving me a hard time about the jump to writing paragraphs. She’s obviously capable of writing well, but she complains bitterly about the length and otherwise fights me every step of the away.
This little story was last week’s assignment. The directions gave her the basic premise and three supporting ideas to write about – e.g., “tell what happened when the ducklings went into the water.” She was supposed to flesh out that framework into an interesting story. I think she did a charming job of it, but whoa, was it a struggle.
The Kitten Who Thought It Was A Duck
Once there was a kitten who thought it was a duck, because it was raised by a flock of ducks. When the ducklings ate corn, the kitten tried to, but choked. The kitten learned how to swim, so he followed the ducklings into the water. The kitten could not swim far, so he had to ride on the mother duck’s back, but he fell off. PLOOSH! Some kids saw it and thought it was the saddest-looking kitten they had ever seen.
When the kitten chased a mouse, the other ducklings thought they were supposed to. They tripped over their own feet.
Her first draft was a grudging, bare-bones framework and full of misspellings. I insisted, despite her howls, that she write a final draft. We talked about how a final draft can either be a boring exercise in copying or it can be an opportunity to make your story even better. She spent forever on the final draft on Friday and only managed to write a few sentences. She insisted that Writing Strands is just too hard and too long for her. But today, when I sat her down to finish, she added a bunch of elaboration and humor to the second half and seemed genuinely pleased with the result. Now she wants to send it to a publisher.
I think this is a reasonable amount of writing to expect from a third grader. I certainly think that kids in public school are writing this much or more. Am I off base?