Writing in Role

Personal journal writing comes quite naturally to little kids.  When it comes to Writer’s Workshop, their own experiences serve as a pretty natural platform for ideas. Going to the park, birthday parties, play dates, soccer games – all pretty standard fare.

Writing in role, whereby you take on the perspective of another, bridges us beautifully into formally introducing another genre of writing:  fictional narratives.  Essentially, you’re still writing about yourself but you just happen to be someone (or something) entirely different.

The first book I typically read to introduce this concept is Doreen Cronin’s, Diary of a Worm.  What would it be like to be a worm?  Where do they live? Who would they play with? This book is great in helping propel student thinking.  After reading aloud Diary of a Spider and Diary of a Fly – the kids really begin to get the hang of it.

I am a parrot.  I sit on a branch.  The forest is my home… If you are a person, I’m sorry you can’t fly… The trees are warm.  It is comfortable…

I am a whale.  I dive in the deep water.  I look out for fish.  I sprayed out water.  I like to be me, do you like being you?

I am scared from foxes.  My favourite thing to eat is hay… I like to gallop.  I like to do races…

It’s not easy for kids to think outside their egocentric little selves.  An activity like this helps them do just that.  Not only do they get to take on another persona (which is always fun), but they really get their imaginations going and start to understand just how narratives work.  Then there’s the whole “building empathy” thing and link to Social Responsibility…  That’s a whole other can of worms, so to speak.

Time to take on the role of being a responsible teacher and go to work.

Have a great week, everyone.


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