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Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring Break, Facebook, and Narrative Writing

Spring Break + Facebook + Narrative Writing = Ah-ha Moment!

My husband and I drove from northwest Indiana to Chicago Midway Airport early Monday morning. Lake effect snow was predicted, but we hoped to avoid it. Nope. The dreaded white stuff pelted down on us as we cruised north on Cicero Avenue. At the airport, it snowed harder. Would we get out?

Stop. Is this a Facebook moment? 

The snow continued to fall, but our plane to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, began to board. "Due to the weather, the plane must be de-iced," lamented the pilot. We waited on the plane. And waited. And waited. Finally, the plane rocked and liquid oozed down its windows. 

Is this a Facebook moment?

Finally, our plane took off into the wild blue yonder. Florida, here we come.

A Facebook moment?

We arrived in Fort Lauderdale and rented a bright blue Ford Escape, which carried us south toward the Florida Keys, etc., etc.

You get the picture! Telling the story of spring break within the context of Facebook will help your students understand how to zero in on that compelling event that everyone wants to hear about! Let's cut to the chase. I left the Midwest in snow; I returned in snow. That's interesting but not necessarily Facebook-worthy. We stayed at a beautiful hotel in the Keys; our room had the best view at the hotel. Hmmm. We ate some fabulous seafood. Ho-hum. 

On Tuesday, we snorkeled. Wow, that would provide some great material, but it didn't really have a climax. Just an endless stream of fish (and one really cool manta ray).

Wait, is this a Facebook moment?

Thursday morning we left the Keys and drove north to the Everglades Safari Park. The sign read, "Airboat Rides - Register Here." Wow! What an adventure! The boat cruised slightly above the level of the water, so noisy that earplugs were a necessity.

So . . . are we finally to the Facebook moment???

After the ride, we were invited to an alligator show. I couldn't believe how the trainer, Jeff, could stroke his alligator pals . . . and even stick his hand in their mouths!! Awesome!

Is it a FB moment yet?

Then, at the end of the show, Jeff announced that each of us could hold a two-year old alligator. Was I brave enough for this? Yes! 

Is this the Facebook moment? Yes! My friends loved it! 

Now it's time to write about the particulars. How much did the alligator weigh? Did he try to snap at me? How did I feel? How did his soft underside feel? What did the trainer say? ("If you don't try to kiss him, you should be okay.") Here's the story that my audience has been waiting for.

So when you're trying to help your students figure out what parts to cut and keep in a narrative, just remember one thing: Facebook! Choose that one part that's most compelling, the part that would get the most likes on Facebook.

Happy Spring Break to all of you!