Writing Workshop Mini-Lesson: Rules for Writing and the Story Writing Process

Have your kids read the Plot Chicken? We started our Writing Workshop off with this book. What a great buk, buk!!  In fact, I liked it so much that I created a chicken writing rules printable to go along with the book (free to download down below)!!!  So, in this post I want to share some of our Writing Workshop Mini-Lessons about the Story Writing Process & Story Structure.

PlotChickens-by-AuchThe Plot Chickens (affiliate link)

As many of you know, we use a Homeschool Writing Workshop. (We went to this model about two years ago. Read more about that following the links below.) The kids were excited to get back to writing regularly again! (Hooray for that!). Our Writing Workshop generally consists of three parts

1) Mini-Lesson of the Day (about 10 mins)

2) 15 minutes of reading: The kids really* like their new literature books! ED (Gr.2) is using … DD and LD both really like the selections in their Lit textbooks. So, we’ll definitely be keeping those in our schedule.

3) Writing time: (about 20 mins.) Even Mom sits down with a journal and spends time focused just on writing. I strong discourage anyone from talking & try not to allow anyone to ask how to spell something.

Today I want to share some of the mini-lessons that went really well for us the past couple of weeks.

Mini-Lesson: Plot Chickens’ Rules for writing

The Plot Chicken was a fun way to start off the year. This is a story of a chicken who decides it wants to write a story. Along the way, it learned (in a humorous way) all lessons it needed to know about the writing process. After we read the book, I gave the kids a worksheet that I made to see if they could remember all the rules Chicken had learned along the way.

PlotChicken-Rules-for-Writing We then had a long discussion about the writing rules that the chicken received. We tied that into what we have learned about story structure.

We talked about the story diagram… You know, the one that looks like a roller coaster:

PlotChicken3We talked about how the kinds of novels the kids are reading now don’t fit as neatly into that gradual rising action. Instead, books are often more like real roller coasters with a problem/challenge that gets solved… only for another bigger problem or challenge to crop up.

Another day we did another mini-lesson on the story writing process. This time we used a different analogy about how stories unfold. This one was laid out Melissa Forney in Razzle Dazzle Writing (affiliate link) and is called the “story glove.” We went over the main points in this analogy:

  • Topic or Story Idea
  • Grabber or Hook
  • Problem or Challenge
  • Action of the Story
  • Takeaway

WritingWorkshop-StoryGloveOver the course of the next few days, we read a number of children’s books and looked at how the story fit (or didn’t fit) the story glove and roller coaster analogies.  We looked at how/why these books were written the way they were and whether these analogies made sense.

Last year, we started off with children’s books that highlight different values (like friendship, honor, bravery). This year, our back-to-school theme was/is historical fiction. Some of the books we’re read and discussed in our writing workshop included (these are all affiliate links):

WritingWorkshop-Historical-Fiction-BooksWe had wonderful discussions this past week… about history, about the story writing process (several of these books were based on fact), about story structure, and the fact that not all books follow a process. We talked about using details, building suspense, and creating vivid pictures.  There are so many things to talk about when it comes to books!

If you want to save this Writing Workshop Mini-Lesson for later, I’ve made a free pdf that you can download.  It is about 10 pages.

Writing Workshop: Rules-for-Writing, Plot Development, Story Diagrams


Disclosure:  Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Your purchases help support the blog! If you do wind up making a purchase, thank you!!

Other Mini-Lessons to Use in a Writing Workshop (in any order):

How and Why We Started Using a Homeschool Writing Workshop and Other Writing Workshop Resources on our Blog:






That’s about it for today! See you again soon here or at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page!

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