Wilson & Ditch: Sleepy Hollow
Taking inspiration from "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," students will create their own spooky story using the main story elements: Character, Setting, Problem and Solution.
Subjects: Literature, Creative Writing
Estimated Time: This is a project that will take between 15-20 minutes daily for at least 8 days.
- Students will learn how to create a graphic organizer "flipbook" to aid in story development and creative writing.
- Students will use the flipbook and the writing process to create their own spooky stories about a location of their choosing.
- Students will use descriptive words in the proper location when creating and revising the draft.
- Students will use proofreading marks when revising the draft.
Related Book: A to Z Mysteries: Sleepy Hollow Sleepover by Roy Ron
Related Video: Wilson & Ditch: "Sleepy Hollow, New York" (4 minutes 6 second)
- Construction Paper 9"x12" or 12" x 18" (select white or a light color)
- Wide Ruled Notebook paper
- Colored Pencils
Part One: Preparation
- Watch "Wilson and Ditch: Digging America, Sleepy Hollow" with the class.
- Read an age appropriate version of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" to your class such as A to Z Mysteries: Sleepy Hollow Sleepover by Roy Ron.
- Discuss the characters, setting, problem and solution of this story.
Part Two: Make a Flip Book
- Create (as a whole class) a flipbook to review and analyze the story read in class
- On the first flap, write the word "Character." This can be written anyway you choose: diagonal or straight across, but it must all fit in one flap. The second will be labeled Setting, the third will be labeled Problem, and the fourth will be labeled Solution. Under each (now labeled) flap, you will demonstrate how each student will write a sentence or two and/or draw a picture to coincide with its topic.
- After the students complete the "class" flipbook for "Sleepy Hollow," have them think of their own spooky story about a location that they have visited and create a flipbook for this new story. Tell the students to make the story as scary as possible. Remind them to include all the story elements described in the class flipbook (character, setting, problem and solution).
Creating the Flip Book:
- Fold your construction paper in half lengthwise, and then fold in half again widthwise to mark the center.
- Open up the last fold and fold each side in half by lining up the outside edge with the center fold.
- Open up the sides to reveal four equal sections.
- Lift the cover and cut along the folds between each section.
- Now you should have four equal flaps, one for each topic: Character, Setting, Problem and Solution.
This activity may also be done as a whole class instead of each student creating an individual story.
If using a 9"x12" piece of paper, you will have a book that is 4.5" high and 12" wide. The fold will be along the top edge, with the back page uncut, and the cover cut into four equal flaps that are 4.5" high and 3" wide.
Part Three: Building Plot
Use the graphic organizer from http://printables.scholastic.com/printables/detail/?id=35528 to help create the rising action that will make the story more exciting to the reader. Take either the Sleepy Hollow Story or any other suspenseful story that the students have heard or you have read before. Now, fill in the major action and suspense moments along the plot line.
Have the students' brainstorm about 2-3 spooky action-suspense moments for his/her own story that will lead up to the resolution of the story. Place these events in sequence on the plot line graphic organizer.
Part Four: Creating the Story
Using the flipbook organizer and the plot line organizer, have students write the first draft of the spooky story. Brainstorm with the class on the following points to include in their story. Make a list of these points on the board or chart paper.
- The five descriptive words
- All of the rising action from the plot line
Encourage students to edit and finalize their story.
Part Five: Oral Report
Have a spooky story telling time. Have each student sign up to read his/her spooky story to the class.
- Turn this into a script and film with a digital movie camera. Have students cast their roles, create the costumes, and plan the hair and make-up. Record the story and have students edit using imovie or any movie editing software you may have. The students may add more sound effects and creepy music to enhance the scene.
- Make it a formal lesson in grammar and the writing process:
- Have students begin to write the first draft of their stories. Remember to have the students use the flipbook as a tool and follow the characters, setting, problem and solution. Tell the students to write and not worry about grammar, spelling or punctuation. Just write.
- Revisiting the Draft: Have a writer's conference with each student. Have the student bring 2 different colored pencils to identify nouns and verbs. Go through the student's paper with the student and identify these two parts of speech. Underline the nouns in one color and the verbs in another. (This can also be done in a small group setting.)
- Either at this time (or another conference) have the student look for adjectives in front of the nouns. Help the student make a list of adjectives that could go in front of the nouns in his/her story. Have the student use proofreading marks to insert the proper adjective(s).
- Do the same for adverbs (how, when, where, why...) Make a list of appropriate adverbs that the student could insert using proofreading marks. This is a great time to introduce Onomatopoeias like "Crash," "Bam," "Screech" and "Whoosh."
- Editing "The Sloppy Copy": Now is the time to sit one-on-one with each student and help him/her edit the spelling, grammar and punctuation. Have the student read his/her story to you slowly. See if the student realizes the natural pauses for periods or commas and any grammatical errors, such as missing words. Have the student insert the marks where needed. Once the punctuation is corrected, help the student to identify any misspelled words. If the word is on a wall in the room, circle the word and write the letter "W" on top so that the student will look around the room for the correct spelling of that word. With any other misspelled words, give them the correct spelling and have the student write the misspelled words in a "personal dictionary" that is kept in his/her desk.
- Final Rewrite: The student will work from the draft and rewrite the story following all of the proofreading notations. Tell students to make the neatest copy possible and to use their best printing. Remind them to correct all mistakes.