Saturday, November 15, 2014

What did the Rat Say?

Wow, it's been way too long since I blogged. I'm glad to be back and I'm glad to come back with a free activity! :)

My class worked on a little dialogue practice the other day. We use Essentials for Writing in my literacy class, which is a HIGHLY prescriptive book for middle/high school students who are more than two years behind in their writing skills. So most of the time, I'm reading from a script, and it's very teacher-directed. My students need that, I get it, but sometimes, I need something a little more inspiring to get them to want to write more. Most of my students are very creative and pretty good writers. They just have trouble staying on topic, and grammar/mechanics are very tricky. 

I recently bought a book at our school's Scholastic book fair called Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack. I don't know about you, but I will typically purchase a book that I think I can use for a particular skill, and this one lent itself beautifully to cause and effect practice. However, I picked it up the other day and read it cover to cover. In my head, I was adding dialogue to the rabbit and rat on each page. What happens in the story is the rabbit suggests a picnic to the rat, but bad things keep happening, preventing them from having their picnic. The rat points out all of the "bad news" and the rabbit tries to look at the positive side of things, which is what is pictured on the "good news" pages. I've always used wordless books to work on dialogue skills. But, this book works great as well. You could also use it to add that cause and effect practice before or after dialogue skills. 

You can check out the book here:

You can also click on the picture to take you to the Amazon page. 

Since it IS close to Thanksgiving, I wanted to GIVE away my little dialogue activity that goes with this book. Check it out here, or click on the pictures below to take you to my TPT page where you can download for FREE! :)

Here are some more sample pages:
Here is the first page of the worksheet. I put pictures of a rabbit and a rat on each line so it would be easy to see who is speaking (even though I included who was speaking in each sentence). 

You could have students complete this entire worksheet independently. However, to have a line for each page in the book (for each character's "dialogue"), I had to put 23 sentences in, so that might be a little overwhelming for one sitting. I ended up letting my students work with a partner. You could easily cut apart the strips and give each student one or two to punctuate, or you could cut apart a few strips and give a set to groups of three or four. As always, do what works best for your students. 

You do NOT have to read the book with your class for them to use this activity. Students can simply read the sentences and punctuate them correctly. 

Please leave feedback if you end up using this activity. I would love to know how it worked for your class. 

Enjoy the freebie! And enjoy your weekend. Stay warm - it's a balmy 28 degrees here in Louisville, Kentucky right now!!! Brrr!!!

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