Presentation on theme: "Narrative Writing Mentor Text from Boy, Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl."— Presentation transcript:
Narrative Writing Mentor Text from Boy, Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl
Mrs Pratchett’s revenge Showing-not-telling through dialog, description and action
Setting the stage… The power of the spoken word… Our form master came into the classroom with a piece of paper in his hand. “The following are to report to the Headmaster’s study at once,” he said. “Thwaites…Dahl…” And then he read out the other three names which I have forgotten.
Action clearly stated… The five of us stood up and left the room. We didn’t speak as we made our way down the long corridor into the Headmaster’s private quarters where the dreaded study was situated. Thwaites knocked on the door. “Enter!”
Important descriptive details… We sidled in. The room smelled of leather and tobacco. Mr Coombes was standing in the middle of it, dominating everything, a giant of a man if ever there was one, and in his hands he held a long yellow cane which curved round the top like a walking stick.
Some serious dialog… followed by action… “I don’t want any lies,” he said. “I know very well you did it and you were all in it together. Line up over there against the bookcase.” We lined up, Thwaites in front and I, for some reason, at the very back. I was last in the line.
Dialog and action… “You,” Mr Coombes said, pointing the cane at Thwaites, “Come over here.” Thwaites went forward very slowly. “Bend over,” Mr Coombes said. Thwaites bent over. Our eyes were riveted on him. We were hypnotized by it all. We knew, of course, that boys got the cane now and again, but we had never heard of anyone being made to watch.
More dialog and action… “Tighter, boy, tighter!” Mr Coombes snapped out. “Touch the ground!” Thwaites touched the carpet with the tips of his fingers. Mr. Coombes stood back and took up a firm stance with his legs well apart. I thought how small Thwaites’s bottom looked and how very tight it was.
Some serious action… Mr Coombes had his eyes focused squarely upon it. He raised the cane high above his shoulder, and as he brought it down, it made a loud swishing sound, and then there was a crack like a pistol shot as it struck Thwaites’s bottom.
Dialog? Action? Description? Little Thwaites seemed to lift about a foot into the air and he yelled ‘Ow-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w!’ and straightened up like elastic. “’Arder!” shrieked a voice from over in the corner. Now it was our turn to jump. We looked round and there, sitting in one of Mr Coombes’s big leather armchairs, was the tiny loathsome figure of Mrs Pratchett!
Our turn… Let’s think about a time when we or someone we know were in a similar situation as Roald Dahl Or Something else that this scene made us think of…
Such as… Getting into trouble at school Being disciplined by parent(s) Being blamed for something you didn’t do or Being praised for something you did well Experiencing an embarrassing moment Receiving an unexpected gift/award
Group one Setting the stage… Our vice principal, Mr. Stomper, came to the classroom door with a pink slip in his hand. He slowly entered the room and his eyes grew larger as he peered over the top of his rimless glasses to survey each one of us in the room. We all watched as he approached David, bending down slowly to whisper in his ear “please step outside.”
We all sighed a big sigh of relief as the vice principal left the room. Kiaira said “I wonder what he did this time.” No sooner had she said that when the door opened and Mr. Stomper came back in and commanded: “The following are to report to the principal’s office immediately. Clark, Moore, Prater, Scalia, Smith and Burgess.”
The six of us stood up and walked outside quietly. We didn’t speak as we made our way downstairs to the principal’s office. Nervously, we knocked on the door. “Please come in.” We stumbled through the office door. The room smelled of coffee and donuts. Mr. Angus was seated behind his big desk and his face looked very serious.
Group two, setting the scene… Our language arts teacher came into the classroom with a small green post it note in her hand. “The following are to report to the library immediately,” she announced. “Allen, Daniels, Conkwright, Thomas, Campbell and Zapata.” The six of us slid out of our seats and curiously made our way down the hall. We opened the big glass doors into the library where the librarian met us and said: “You have been chosen to do the TV morning announcements. Please follow me to the news room.”
Each one of us was suddenly very concerned about what we looked like and Brittany frantically asked “where’s a mirror, I have got to look fabulous for this performance!” Zack said “oh no, I’ve got a ginormous zit on the end of my nose!” “So have you been lying again like Pinocchio?” Miguel joked. “Who’s going first?” Emily asked. “It’s not gonna be me, that’s for sure!”
Group three, setting the stage… Our office worker for the week came into the classroom with a slip of paper in her hand. She handed it to Mrs. -------our teacher, saying “these students need to report to the principal’s office.” Mrs ------ immediately looked very serious. Gazing around the room to find the “chosen ones,” we all slid down in our seats to try to hide.
“You, you, you, and you,” need to report to the principal’s office immediately.
The six of us looked at each other wondering what we had done. Chastity whispered nervously “Shelby, I am so scared.” “Don’t worry, Chastity. You’ll live.” “Guys, what do you think we’re in for,” Amy stammered. “Never fear, Wesley’s here!” “Oh yeah, I feel really protected,” Dalton announced sarcastically.
Group four, setting the scene… Our class was working quietly when suddenly there was an announcement over the intercom. “Excuse the interruption. The following students need to come to the office. Wesley, Shelby, Chastity, Dalton, William and Amy.”
We stopped at the door and William knocked gently. Nobody answered. He knocked again. Harder this time. “Just a moment guys,” we heard a voice say on the other side of the door. After what seemed like an hour, the door opened and we were shocked to see our parents standing in a line behind the principal’s big desk.
Reflection… How did examining writer’s craft in the scene from Mrs Pratchett’s revenge help you in your writing? How does adding dialog, description and action help a writer to show-not-tell?
References Adapted from the work of: Lynne R. Dorfman @ Rose Cappelli in Mentor Texts Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study for Primary Writing by Jennifer Bernhard Clark County Schools Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org