I shared the introduction paragraph with my classes yesterday and most seemed interested in my story. We broke down the elements of the paragraph and they could see the flaws in their writing and made notes on their papers before I collected their work. I will make copies and pass them back today. I introduced the rising action paragraph and got them to work while I checked in with students around the room to coach, motivate, and to discuss the stories they’re writing. Each visit took time and I made time to try to connect to their stories. I gave them input and asked clarifying questions as well as reminded them they were on the right track. By period’s end most had gotten a healthy start on their rising action paragraphs.
I wrote my rising action paragraph and it is below, the action is rising to the next part of our story, the climax or peak of action where the conflict is resolved.
Our summer vacation had begun normally. School let out and we were able to see our friends and have fun in the neighborhood. But I knew, really and the three of us knew we would be leaving for at least a month to see my dad in Saudi Arabia. To get ready for our trip we had to get new passports and have our immunizations updated. We had our pictures taken and went to the health department in downtown Houston to have our cholera shot. The shot didn’t hurt, though the hustle and bustle of getting ready made getting ready for a trip I didn’t want to go on even more difficult. We also had to pack and make sure we had the things we needed especially, the medicines I needed and the shots for my asthma and allergies that my mom gave each week. It is hard to remember everything you need, until you need it. Finally, my dad came over to pick us up and fly with us. As glad as I was to see my dad, I knew his arrival meant we were really going and that made me sad.
There is no easy way to get to Saudi Arabia, especially from Houston. First we flew to Miami, then London. We had to stay in London for a few days while my dad made arrangement s to bring us into the country. Saudi Arabia restricts the people who come into their country and you need special permission called a visa. In order to get a visa we had to go to the embassy and wait with all the other people trying to get visas and into Saudi Arabia, like us. We were the only kids, most were engineers or workers like my dad who had jobs in the country and were trying to get permission to enter the country. While we were in London, we saw a few things like Buckingham Palace, rode a double decker bus, and the subway. It was fun, but not as much fun as swimming in the lake, sailing, exploring the swamp or hunting for frogs, or playing baseball on the corner lot. Finally, we got permission and then my dad got the airplane tickets. Unfortunately, my dad could not get tickets to Riyadh, where he lived, and we had to fly in to Dhahran, which was about 250 miles away on the Persian Gulf coast.
It was fun at the airport and we got to see the Concorde which was being test flown that summer. It is always fun to visit the airport and see the different colored planes from all over the world. Watching airplanes and flying was making the trip more interesting and finally we were off. The flight took a few hours and soon we were landing in Dhahran. Saudi Arabia is hot and Dhahran is on the coast and is hot and humid and the difference between London and Dhahran was like being hit by steam bath. The air was warm, wet, and thick especially for ten o’clock in the evening. Getting through customs was very interesting and the baggage handlers went through our luggage to make sure we were not bringing in things that were not allowed to bring with us. Finally we made it through customs to find Julie, my step mother to greet us. She was wearing a head scarf to cover her hair and show respect to the local customs of head covering for all women, including western women. She was with her driver because women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia and she had tale to tell of her journey to greet us.
I still need to wrap up with the three final parts: climax, falling action, and resolution. They will be coming in installments just like my students. Writing is a process and it takes time. I find for seventh graders and even myself; time is needed to think through a story to get to what is most important. Also, for seventh graders a paragraph or a smaller part of a story each day is easier to manage.
The journey continues and today looks to possibly be the best day ever and the forecast for tomorrow is a million and six times better – it is Saturday and possible the best day of the week! Making the Days Count, one day at a time.