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55 Fiction are super short fictional stories consisting of . They offer a unique but manageable challenge for most students, regardless of their ability or skill level. The writer must use creative and careful word selection to tell a complete story in a very short space.
This assignment helps students practice:
Typically students find they must make many revisions before their story is finished.
Students usually enjoy 55 Fiction, but are quick to point out that they're not easy to write just because they're short in length.
55 Fiction are a wonderful way to introduce a creative or story writing unit. They are ideal for teaching or reinforcing the aspects of story writing, and make excellent warm-ups for the start of a class. They lend themselves to collaboration and sharing, and often I have my students read them aloud in class.
They're also useful for differentiation in classrooms with a wide spectrum of ability and skill levels. Students who finish an assignment early can be given a 55 Fiction while other students work. Students that struggle with longer writing assignments find 55 Fiction much less intimidating and more accessible.
My students are required to "Posterize" their completed 55 Fiction stories and post them in the halls of the school. Often students will place them in bathrooms on mirrors, stall doors, and over urinals. Students "Posterize" by designing a small poster that displays the story in a complementary way. "Posterizing" lets students take ownership of their writing, instills pride, and celebrates their work for everyone in the school to see.
The lesson consists of directions, tips for writing, several example stories, and a worksheet for planning and writing a rough draft. My students are encouraged to use a word processor for additional drafts as it provides a continuous word counter, allows for quick and easy revisions, and has tools to help students find the right words for their story, and spellcheck. These can be done in 30 minutes time, but depending on the class I will take up to 150 minutes for this assignment.