Shape Your Story, Part Two: Summon the Elementary Teacher in Yourself

Writing a story is a lot like working a puzzle. We have to get the pieces to fit just right. What takes shape is a masterpiece. Well, maybe not at first. In December, you learned how to Summon the Primary Teacher in Yourself, and started with the basics for Shaping Your Story, Part One. Today we are going to add a few more pieces to the puzzle and Summon the Elementary Teacher.

Look! Here she is now. Quit passing notes and listen up before she catches you! Your own inner teacher–the one who comes by in quiet times of writing deliberation–will be addressing you soon, so you’ll want to remember the Six Traits of Writing:

Click for larger view.
Click for larger view.

It seems like a lot all at once, but it is easier to analyze when you break it down trait by trait. Take a look at your current manuscript and assess where you are now. Make an effort in each area, take critique feedback into consideration if you are at that point, and make some revisions.

It is important to constantly assess your writing as you revise. Why not check to see where you fall on the Six Traits Scale? This will help you target where you need the most growth. You should have a clean row of circles across the All Star row before submission.

6TraitRubric
Click for larger view.

Teacher-student conferencing always follows when I use this rubric, or scoring outline. Sometimes I take myself completely out of the equation and let peer assessment and conferencing take over. (Sounds like a critique group, right?)

Go ahead… try the Six Traits yourself! You might be surprised at what you inner teacher tells you. Spread the Six Trait Scale through your critique group and let them test it out, too. Give it to your kids or a group of neighbor kids and let them use it to assess your work-in-progress. Then take a look at the results, roll up your sleeves, and dedicate yourself to the Six Traits. Oh, and don’t argue with your inner teacher or you may end up in detention.

Join me in February for Part Three: Summon Your Middle School Teacher. Leave me a comment below to let me know how your inner teacher is treating you.

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