Author Archives: No. 2 Pencil


Hi! I have been enjoying reading the stories you have sent! You are awesome writers!!!
This Saturday we will have our “Story Recital”. The first half of class will be review and practice. The second half will be the recital. Parents are encouraged to attend. Each student will have a 3 minute time limit to read. I know that’s not enough time for those of you who are writing longer stories to present the whole piece, but we only have an hour.
I can’t wait to hear your presentations! Looking forward!!!

Writing Rubric


Focused, clear, specific. It keeps the reader’s attention.


a) I know a lot about this topic and added interesting tidbits.

b) I showed what was happening instead of telling.

c) My topic was small enough to handle.

d) I can easily answer the question, “What is the point of this paper/story?”

e) I have a beginning, middle, and end.


Extremely clear, visual, and accurate. I picked the right words for the right places.


a) My words are colorful, snappy, vital, brisk and

fresh. You won’t find overdone, vague or flowery


b) All the words in my paper fit. Each one seems just right.

c) Look at all my energetic verbs! (actions words like run and throw)

d) Some of the words and phrases are so vivid the

reader won’t soon forget them.


Mostly correct. There are very few errors in my paper.


a) My spelling is accurate.

b) I have used capitals correctly.

c) Every paragraph is indented to show where a

new idea/speaker begins.

d) Periods, commas, exclamation marks, and

quotation marks are in the right places.

e) My grammar/usage is consistent and shows control.

Fantasy Fiction

Fantasy Fiction

No one can resist the temptation of a Harry Potter once one gets the glimpse of the fantastic world of brave heroes, life-and-death situations and the magical kingdom. It is difficult to ignore the impossible and the improbable once we are part of the amazing maze of wands, and magic chants and talking animals. The unicorns and Lord Voldemort will effortlessly capture the imagination of the young minds.

Some of the very frequent and mostly-used topics of the fantasy fictions are dragons, all kinds of mythical animals like goblins, trolls, leprechauns and unicorns. The main composition contains elements of magic and supernatural things and the magic is woven through words and settings. No Harry Potter would be possible without the Hogwarts School and anything will be possible when one has companions like Hermoine and Ron. In other words impossible is possible in the fantastic world and fiction seems to be stranger than truth.

The mostly used subjects for fantasy fictions are the eternal conflict between good and bad, dark lord who is responsible for the destruction and havoc in the world. Of course one cannot miss magic which is responsible for all the changes and happiness. Even some of the folklores and romance are taken as the basic elements for the fantasy fictions.

Historical Fiction


The genre of historical fiction in the field of children’s literature includes stories that are written to portray a time period or convey information about a specific time period or an historical event. Usually the event or time period is about 30 years in the past. Some well-known examples are Karen Cushman’s


In historical fiction, setting is the most important literary element. Because the author is writing about a particular time in history, the information about the time period must be accurate, authentic, or both. To create accurate and authentic settings in their books, authors must research the time period thoroughly. They must know how people lived, what they ate, what kinds of homes they had, and what artifacts were a common part of their lives.

Historical fiction books—whether they are picture books, transitional books, or novels—may have characters who are either imaginary or who actually lived during the time period. Settings also may be real or imaginary. The plot events may be documented historical events or they may be fictional. If they are fictional, it means that the author created the events for the telling of the story. The fictional characters, settings, and plot events must be portrayed authentically as if they actually

could have happened. A classic example of historical fiction is

Johnny Tremain, a 1944 Newbery Medal book. The primary setting is Boston in 1773. The book contains both real and fictional characters, real and fictional settings, and real and fictional events. The book is successful because of author Esther Forbes’s extensive historical research and knowledge of the time period and her skillful blending of history and fiction into a believable story.

Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife’s Apprentice, and Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watsons go to Birmingham—1963 and Bud, Not Buddy.

Show vs. Tell

Showing instead of telling helps you create a picture in the reader’s mind. It also helps you get away from the repetition of empty words, such as weird, really neat, beautiful, wonderful, and boring.


Telling: The girls were excited.

Showing: The girls held tight to each other in a mock effort to contain themselves. Arms flailed upward and giggles and screams filled the arena as the pop star bounded onto the stage.

Telling: The room was vacant.

Showing: Cob webs flowed freely in the air as the open door brought light to the peeling paint on the walls. The new air gave life to a stuffiness that entrapped the room. Faded and torn white sheets covered once new furniture now drowning in dust.

Telling: Sam was a great pitcher.

Showing: The ball shot from Sam’s hand as if it had been fired from a cannon. The batter steadied himself for the hit as the ball blazed toward him. “Strike three!” the umpire called. Sam’s fast-ball was so hot the batter never had a chance.

Telling: Emma was sad.

Showing: Tears rolled down Emma’s cheeks and splashed onto her new party dress.

Writing Assignment Due Mar. 5th

Hi! It was great to see you all on Saturday! Just a reminder of the assignment we talked about: From the 3rd and 4th graders I would like to see at least 6 paragraphs by the next class.  For the 5th graders and up I would like to see at least 12 to 14 paragraphs. 

Please email me your assignments so I can print/read them before class. 

sschank64(at) sbcglobal(dot)net  

Looking forward to reading them!


Assignment for Saturday Jan. 29

Hi! some of you have been “blog-busy”! Keep writing!

For Saturday choose AT LEAST one of the stories you’ve worked on in class, make sure it is as polished as it can be, and be prepared to present it to our wonderful parents. You might practice with a friend or sibling, your parents, in front of a mirror, or even your pet.  I’m not kidding-they are great listeners!

The first part of the workshop we will double check that your stories are ready to go and practice them.  The second half will be the presentations.

Looking forward!!!!!




Your Stories!

Happy Snow Day Everyone!

Just wanted to let you know I’ve either received your stories by email or by blog.  I’ve printed them out and am adding edits and suggestions. I will give these to you Saturday.  Looking forward!  You are an amazingly talented bunch!!!!



Mittens at the spa enjoying a mani!

More Mittens on Vacation!!!!

Mittens enjoying a four-star dessert of delicious Girl Scout cookies!

Mittens On Vacation!

Diamond's mittens, ready for bed at their 4-star Crowne Plaza vacation! All snuggled up with stuffed bunny. Ahhhhh!

MITTENS!!!!! Are they yours?

Someone forgot a pair of mauve fleece mittens.  Poor mittens. They want to go home. I will keep them warm and fed and loved until next week when they can joyfully return to their rightful owner. 

Assignment for next week Jan. 22, 2011

I really enjoyed hearing your stories today! You are an amazingly creative group of kids!

For next week please either post or email me your story by Tuesday so I can give you personlized advice and direction.  Also, please post any of the short story-starter stories you wrote today!  They were AWESOME! Especially the Lady Gaga one!!!

Can’t wait to read your stories! Thanks!!!!!!


Writing Workshop Assignment Due Saturday Jan.15, 2011

Hi! It was great meeting each of you and I am looking forward to getting to know you better!

Your assignment for next Saturday is to write a 6-8 paragraph rough draft story. Don’t worry! It can be REALLY rough! And the 6 to 8 is certainly flexible due to the fact that we have such a wide age span in our group, but try to at least have four.

Post or email if you have any questions. Thanks!!!
No. 2 Pencil (Susan)