Sunday, November 4, 2012

Scary Story Writing Unit

I just put a new writing unit onto my Teachers Pay Teacher account
( ) that is great for autumn.  Here is a little sneak peek for my blog followers!

10 Day Scary Story Unit ~ Writer’s Workshop Mini-Lessons

Teacher’s Guide, printables, and examples

The entire unit has 10 pages of complete student-friendly instructions. Below, you will find the breakdown of what I present each day during the mini-lesson of our writer’s workshop time as well as some examples to help get the students inspired to write.  I have some students who do not celebrate Halloween, are not allowed to write/read/talk about pretend creatures, or who just don’t like to write about scary things, so I modify this for them by encouraging them to do any autumn related story that they’d like, or bring one of the seeds from their Writing Ideas section (see my Writer’s Notebook labels& lessons kit on TPT) to final copy form. The vast majority of my students (especially the boys) LOVE this unit and students come back years later still talking about it. Here is the basic breakdown of each day, most of which have an accompanying printable page further on. I have tried to create each section so that you can simply display one on your projector or beneath your document camera and you won’t need to print a copy for every student if you don’t want to.


Day 1                   Day 2                  Day 3                         
Characters         Setting                 Plot/outline      
 Day 4                Day 5                  Day 6        
Drafting             Drafting             Editing
Day 7                  Day 8                  Day 9          
Editing               Final Copies      Final Copies
Day 10
Presentations/Bulletin Board
Scary Story Characters
Begin by thinking of the characters you want in your scary story.  In the My Writing section of your Writer’s Notebook, write down the following information for your scary story characters.  Remember that you do not have to have all of these characters because you get to decide as the author how many characters you have and who they are.
Protagonist Name _____________________
Physical Description (age, hair color, length, eye color, clothes, etc)
Personality (funny, understanding, smart, kind, clumsy, thoughtful, etc)
Scary Story Setting
 Physical Location~ Start thinking about the physical location you want your scary story to take place.  In the My Writing section of your writer’s notebook, write a few of the ideas that you like below, or write in your own setting for your story.  Think about the areas where you want your characters to be during your story, or the different settings you want them to move through. 
Scary Story Editing
Use the 6 writing traits to edit your work carefully. Review your work with an editing checklist to polish your work. Make sure that your story meets all of the following:
1. First, check that you have one main idea for your whole story. Take out any random sentences and make sure that you have supporting details in each paragraph, with at least three sentences per paragraph. (Ideas & Content)
2. Next, make sure that each paragraph is separated with an indented line or that you skipped a line between each paragraph. Check that each paragraph has one main idea and supporting details. (Organization)
3. Now, make sure that all of your sentences start in different ways. Add transition words or rearrange sentences to make them start differently. (Sentence Fluency)
4. Highlight any word you think might possibly be misspelled. Look up these words on, in dictionaries, and on spellcheckers. (Conventions)
5. Make sure that you have at least one great juicy, descriptive, or feeling word in each sentence. (Word Choice & Voice)
6. Examine the first letter of each sentence and look for proper nouns (names of people, places, or things) and check that they are capitalized. (Conventions)
7. Read your entire story aloud with a whisper phone, and change anything that needs to be edited. (Sentence Fluency)
8. Re-write your story on a fresh new sheet of lined paper. (Presentation)
Final Copy
Write your polished final copy in your best handwriting.  Add illustrations or borders to your final copy.  It might look like this when you’re done:
Dim the lights, get out a flashlight, and have students celebrate their writing by reading part or all of their scary story to the class.
What are your favorite ways to get kids excited about writing?  Which writing unit is your favorite to teach in your classroom?  Leave a comment, share, repin, and relish authorship with your students!

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