Monday, June 21, 2010

Teaching the Story: A Middle School Teacher's Testimonial

Last November when I taught at NCCAT, I met Rebecca Quick who had taken a workshop from me at the North Carolina Middle School Conference. I was delighted to find out that she had been using my book and asked if I could interview her.  Now, seven months later, here is the interview. (Scroll down for the video.)

Carol: You have taught language arts for thirteen years. How is Teaching the Story different than other materials you have used?

Rebecca: I have many other writing materials which I never know quite when to use.  Teaching the Story is very well organized and allows me to stay focused on teaching each story element.  The CD provides worksheets that I use as overheads thus simplifying the process of developing a story.

I want to allow my students to write freely, but they get very overwhelmed with the process. Before I used your book I found myself teaching all over the place without a lot of structure. As a result, my students’ writing was all over the place.  Now, using Teaching the Story, at the end of each semester my students have a well written short story of which they are proud.

Carol: What was the most significant way that Teaching the Story helped you as a teacher?

Rebecca: It gave me an outline and direction to teach each element of a story.  For example, the fact that there was a separate chapter on developing the character and then several mini-lessons to help students develop their character was very helpful. 

Teaching the Story is very specific and detailed with lessons that explain and show exactly how to create a setting, develop a character, and create a "real" problem with a "real" solution. 

Carol: Was there a particular lesson that was most helpful?

Rebecca: I found that planning the plot helped the students organize their stories. The “Build-a-Plot” handout was one of the most useful instruments.  As a teacher, I was able to give the students a visual representation of their story in a very simple format.  It allowed me to conference with them and they could adjust their stories as needed. 

Carol: How did the book help you to be a more organized teacher?

Rebecca: By taking time to teach each element in a very simple manner my students did not get overwhelmed and could really focus on the key elements of their story.  It also helped to have a focus when conferencing.  I knew what I had just covered in class and I was able to discuss and give very specific feedback when trying to help them revise. 

Carol:  What would you say to other language arts teachers?

Rebecca: I believe that Teaching the Story will give direction when teaching the fictional narrative. There are many ways to teach students how to write stories, but you will find that Teaching the Story is very helpful in staying focused and keeping the process simple.  At the same time, the book still allows room for your personal style and additional lessons.

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Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Well that is just awesome! Ms.Q's enthusiasm is contagious.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks JOyce. Trust you to be the first one to see this!

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