with my students now and am interested in hearing how others have taught this.
What I have tried so far is to talk about how great their stories are and how hard it is to have one suddenly end with "And then I went home." or "THE END!!!" I took a humorous approach and did some pretend stories and greatly exaggerated the last bit, always ending with "AND THEN I WENT HOME!" which caused my students to laugh their heads off! Now I do it any time we talk about our writing, just to produce a laugh.
Tomorrow I plan to work on close-in endings further by continuing a shared story we have been working on. I will do the exaggerated ending with it and see how they react, just to drive the point home.
Something else I will try is to read a good story to them and just when they are completely absorbed and waiting for the next line, I will abruptly end it with AND THEN THEY WENT HOME!"
I am interested to hear other suggestions.
but what worked most was using kid's work to model and saying, "She could have said, ______, but she wrote, _____." I found that they just needed to hear lots and lots of examples of close-in endings and nonexamples so that they would know if they did it in their own writing.
Also, when we were doing that, I would be pretty forceful in asking kids to try new endings if they had ended with a far out ending. I find that with things like that, you kind of have to hold them accountable or they won't internalize it. For example, if a child has a three page watermelon story and I conference with them, I have them take out one page and grow it into a small moment instead of letting them think it is a real small moment.