During the summer of 2009, my sister Judy came to visit for the weekend. Both being teachers, we shared our classroom challenges, concerns, and ideas. One concern was my frustration with students’ writing folders. I continued to explain how my students’ papers were disorganized and typically ended up wrinkled or torn. At times, writing papers were not filed. They went home or were misplaced inside students’ desks.
Therefore, as we lounged on my porch, I told Judy about a new writing tool called the Narrative Story Folder. I described how this tool would assist students’ organizational skills as well as enhance narrative writing. First, I showed her eight pages of content which consisted of vocabulary words, capitalization and punctuation reminders, a writing guide, graphic organizers, and a writing process checklist. I demonstrated how the eight pages would fold into an organized 8 1/2″ x 11″ booklet. Initially, Judy was intrigued but questioned how the booklet would fit on top of a student’s desk. In addition, she thought students would have difficulty folding and unfolding this tool. After I modeled the process of the Story Folder, Judy thought it was a wonderful idea.
A month later, the school year began. I journeyed through the steps of Writing Workshop preparing my students for the Narrative Story Folder. A week before introducing this new writing tool, I began to copy and tape the pages together to produce them. At times, it was laborious but I knew the positive benefits would outweigh the length of time it took to create each one.
The following week, I shared the Narrative Story Folder with my third grade class. I informed them it was a writing tool to help compose stories. Each student had fifteen minutes to read and manipulate their own. Everything they needed to write a narrative was in one place. They thought it was a “Cool Tool!” Additionally, my students were motivated and enthusiastic to try it out.
By the end of the school year, the Narrative Story Folder was used three times in my classroom. A few teachers within the school district used them too. Teachers and students loved them!
In February 2013, Creative Teaching Press published the Narrative Story Folder as well as others and gave them a new title called, Writing Organizer Fold-Outs. The Narrative, Informative/Explanatory, and Opinion Piece Writing Organizer Fold-Outs for grades 2-3 and 4-5 were introduced at the International Reading Association in April 2013 and were a hot seller.
Now, it’s October 2013 and teachers from across the country continue to purchase the Fold-Outs. Furthermore, a principal from the east coast traveled to Lithuania to share the Fold-Outs with teachers and administrators.
Last, I am quite proud of this writing tool and I hope it helps many as they venture through the art of writing!
By Bruce Cabell, Author of CTP’s Writing Organizer Fold-Outs.
To learn more about Writing Organizer Fold-Outs, see Bruce’s explanation here! Teachers love them too! Check out two inspiring testimonials here!