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Writing: Organization

Graphic Organizers: Storyburger


Today's Snack: What else? A hamburger! Set it out with all the fixin's before you do today's hands-on project. If you can make a chocolate shake to go with it, great - but stirring in a "milk fixer-upper" like Ovaltine or Hershey's syrup into plain milk is fun, too.




Construction paper, all colors, especially tan and dark brown


Sharpie markers for details

Real sesame seeds, school glue and toothpick

Lined paper and #2 pencil



All writing projects have some kind of a beginning, middle, and end. If you think about it, it's the same way with everybody's favorite sandwich: the hamburger.


Let's make some construction paper cutouts to illustrate this. This is an unusual type of "graphic organizer," a sort of picture that helps you plan in advance and organize a piece of writing.


Cut out the shapes of a two-part hamburger bun out of tan paper, a "meat patty" out of darker brown paper, and as many accompaniments as you wish out of orange, green and other colors of paper.


You may want to cut out and use the markers where needed to design a square of cheese, pickles, a lettuce leaf (you can actually scrunch up and flatten back down a piece of green paper to resemble lettuce), onion slices (draw a spiral in the center out to the edge), tomato slices (mimic the seed patterns in a real one), blobs of ketchup and mustard (cut the paper into blob shapes!), and so forth.


Now start creating an outline right on your Storyburger for a story about your favorite meal - real or imaginary.


Pretend the top bun of a hamburger is the beginning. Write a few words to outline your beginning. You can glue on several real sesame seeds to remind yourself that your beginning should be interesting and promising, like the "seeds" to a good story.


Your paper "meat patty" is the middle. So write a few words about the main details of your favorite meal.


On each paper accompaniment that you cut out, add another supporting detail that you would be sure to include: what was on the menu, perhaps the setting of the meal, the flavors, who you were with, what the special occasion was, candlelight, maybe something funny that went wrong, what you did before and after, and so forth. Remember to use your five senses!


Your unique and interesting style of writing, your unique word choices, and the sparkling ideas in your story will represent the condiments -- tangy ketchup and mustard -- that give a sandwich its specialness. Only in your case, the "condiments" will make your STORY special! Be sure to add some paper symbols for those to your Storyburger. You could write some special vocabulary words, metaphors or quotes on your paper blobs of condiments that you want to include to make your story really good.


Finally, the bottom bun is the end of the story. On the paper bun, you can sum up your summary. Write a few words to outline how you will conclude and wrap up your story in a memorable and satisfying way for your reader - just like you feel when you finish chewing that last yummy bite of a burger.


Now take a regular piece of writing paper, and write your three-paragraph story about your favorite meal. Just follow the lead of your Storyburger.


It's a great way to . . . excuse the expression . . . get your hands on your story, the way you grasp a sandwich in both hands.


By Susan Darst Williams Writing 2010




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