I honestly can't believe I haven't been introduced to this story by Mei Matsuoka before now. I came across it in this month's Scholastic Reading Club order. I instantly fell in love with this clever story. "Footprints in the Snow" is about a wolf who wants to prove that there can be stories written about nice wolves. He begins to write a story about Mr. Nice Wolf, who finds some footprints and follows them to try and make a new friend. Along the way, he meets several animals, all whom are skeptical of his intentions, and who think he wants to eat them for a snack. It has a clever twist in the end, and leaves readers with some questions...
"Footprints in the Snow" is a perfect book to teach students how to write a story of their own, following a similar structure. I decided to use this book as a mentor text to model each step of a writing project.
The illustrations are so clever that even introducing the story will be meaningful for my students. The illustrations on the cover and title pages have a lot for kids to talk about and will get them very excited to read the book.
After we read "Footprints in the Snow" the first time, we will complete a "Cast of Characters." We will use the character sheets to practice retelling the story with a partner.The next day I will tell students they will be writing their own stories like the one Wolf writes. As a class, we will brainstorm a story that follows the pattern of Wolf's story. Students will help me create a story like "Footprints in the Sand," a story about a snake,who finds footprints in the desert. I will model filling in a "Cast of Characters" for our Class Story. Then, I will give students time to brainstorm their own stories and complete a "Cast of Characters" for their tale.
In the next lesson, we will discuss dialogue in "Footprints in the Snow." I will make giant speech bubbles with poster paper. We will locate the dialogue for each character in the story and write the words on the bubbles. We will act out the dialogue as a class. We have done this with other stories and my students beg to practice over and over again.
Then, we will use our "Cast of Characters" to plan the dialogue in our stories. I will model how to write a speech bubble for each character in our class story. I will give students time to write the dialogue for their own stories, using the speech bubble sheet.
Finally, we will construct displays for our stories. I plan to hang these up on our January Writing Bulletin Board.
For detailed lesson plans, check out this unit on Teachers Pay Teachers.