It was the morning of our Polar Express Party. My first graders were expected to arrive at any moment. Everything was set up and ready to go. One of the parents had already agreed to bring in the milk that morning for the hot chocolate. As I plugged in my Crock Pot and turned it on, I was praying that the milk would arrive soon so that the hot chocolate would be ready in time for the party.
As the morning bell chimed, I could hear excited, little voices in the hallway. My students started entering the classroom with big smiles and even bigger bundles of blankets and stuffed animals. The milk arrived sooner than I expected. I thanked the parent and immediately began to pour the cold milk into the HOT Crock Pot…crackle, CRACKLE, CRACKLE. WHOOOOOOOSH! “OMG, OMG, OMG” was all I could say as the milk went everywhere. I stood there with my mouth agape and holding each half of the Crock Pot in my hands. I watched in amazement as the milk poured down the counter and onto the floor. The milk was on my jeans and shoes, but I stood there motionless and in disbelief.
Weeks later I would use this story during writing workshop. We were adding ideas to our Tiny Topic notebooks. “Do you guys remember our Polar Express Party?” I asked. “I’m going to add that story idea to my Tiny Topic notebook and I’m calling it, The Hot Chocolate Fiasco.” I told them. “What’s a fiasco?” several kids inquired. “It’s when something turns out to be a disaster,” I admitted. They all laughed and immediately started sharing ideas for what they would call this story. The most popular idea was, The Hot Chocolate Explosion. I love when my stories inspire them to write similar stories. Now we have a shared experience that could be used in our writing. It’s really important to show them how we can use our daily experiences for great writing ideas.
Last week I was looking over some of the pieces in our writing folders. I came across this story by Spencer. It’s called, Exploding Hot Chocolate. Take a look at the title page and the dedication page below. By the way, the circled “c” stands for copyright.
I absolutely love working with early writers. They are so brave and often very willing to try something new.