a story in five parts

In second grade I teach the kids to write a five-part story. Is it the program we use? Perhaps not exactly. But is it the curriculum? Yes. And is it how to write a story? Yes.

Students start out---Well, I start out telling stories. Then they break them into 5 parts. Then they tell each other stories. Then they help each other break them into 5 parts. The telling, the hearing, the processing, the analyzing. It's all part of writing.

They write each sentence on a different page and illustrate it. Later, we get into detail sentences...and they learn that these five "parts"--these five sentences will become topic sentences, and a paragraph will follow. These parts will eventually have names--the exposition, the problem, the rising action, resolution, falling action etc. Such is a personal narrative. Such is the anatomy of a story.

Today. One little bug was finished and I was editing her sentences. (Yes, words DO need to be spelled correctly and it's never, ever, ever too soon to teach them that every single 's' doesn't need an apostrophe nearby🙄)

"So here are your sentences," I say after we have edited. "I had a sleepover with ------. We went out to dinner. Then we ran back to the car. Then we got ice cream. And we went home and played baby dolls."

"Yes." She nods.

"Well, that is an excellent small moment story!"

She smiles.

"My only concern is it sounds EXACTLY like the sleepover I had with Mrs. Kleckner this weekend. So? Are you sure you didn't steal MY story?"

"Ugggggh." She snatches her paper out of my hand. "You guys do NOT have sleepovers!" I laugh. I get out of her teeny chair. Life goes on.

Three hours (ish) later, we are having snack. (And this is why I adore Bess).
In between bites. The class is sleepy, or something. It's oddly quiet.

Totally straight face, she says to me (loud enough to carry):

"So. Which baby dolls should I bring over this weekend?"

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