|Writing to Explore: Discovering Adventure in the Research Paper, 3-8
written by David Somoza and Peter Lourie
There are few things students dread more than the research paper. And there are few things teachers dread more than reading them. Too often these papers are simply regurgitated encyclopedia entries. After reviewing many dry research papers, fifth-grade teacher David Somoza began to experiment with an adventure writing model, based on the books written by Peter Lourie.
In Writing to Explore, David and Peter demonstrate how to teach adventure writing, which integrates nonfiction and fiction and motivates students to write with imagination, curiosity, and a hunger to learn everything about their topic.
The book starts with a solid foundation in the basics of good writing: setting descriptions, writing atmosphere, and character development. The authors then explore the specific elements of adventure writing from setting the stage to conducting research; from combining history and geography to effectively utilizing technology. The result is an adventure-based paper that is rooted in real places, supported by facts, and developed with detailed description of images from real locations.
Teachers will find handouts, sample activities, student writing examples, research sources, and tips to help them create a nonfiction writing program based around the adventure writing model.
Research papers don t have to be boring to read or to write. This book will show you how to get vibrant papers from your students papers that teach both reader and writer something new.
Notes from Allison's Book Bag about Writing to Explore
“Their main project is built along the lines of a Heroic Quest story format, but the projects are rooted in a real place with real historic significance. The research phase of the adventure essay might seem familiar. It’s the gathering of important details and facts from a variety of reputable sources. But the presentation of that knowledge is done within the framework of a fictional adventure story, with emphasis on setting (so that the research can be used most effectively). I appreciated the honest reflections here as Somoza shares how he implemented their ideas. The book is a nice mix of the letters that Lourie and Somoza sent back and forth (sometimes while Lourie was on location, scouting out settings for his own books), handy guidelines and teaching moments, and also some exemplary student work. The adventure essay covers a lot of ground and might just hook those students (and teachers) to whom the phrase ‘research project’ conjures up groans and moans and dismay.” (Kevin Hodgson, Middle Web)
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