What is narrative writing?
Objective(s): SWBAT identify what elements are needed for the genre of personal narrative writing.
Outcome(s): At the conclusion of the lesson students should be able to identify what elements are contained in personal narratives, what authors try to convey through this type of writing, and what ideas do real authors write about that students can emulate in their writing.
Resources: http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/personal-narrative-texts/ - use for example mentor texts
http://www.jmeacham.com/writers.workshop/writing.mini.lessons.htm - use for example mentor texts and expansion of mini-lessons
Chart paper, markers, mentor texts (variety), post-its, clipboards, writer's notebook
1) Ask students what they think a personal narrative is.
Discuss the word personal and what students predict it means.
2) Share with students the story selected from the list of mentor texts listed in the resources section. (For the brainstorming section, I love the book My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco.)
3) Have students list on a post-it ideas and themes that they notice throughout the reading of the story, specifically ask students “While I am reading, write down some ideas that author presents in their story? Who do you think the author wrote this story for? Why was this story important to the author?”
4) After the mentor text is complete have students share their ideas and chart what themes they discovered in the mentor text. Compile a list to create an anchor chart that will remain up throughout the thematic unit on narratives. Some ideas should include: a personal story, written about a true event the author can relate to, is a “small moment” story, has vivid details, characters are entertaining, author’s purpose is to entertain, etc. - reference this anchor chart as an example of lessons students should learn from mentor texts read Lessons From Mentor Personal Narratives.doc
Differentiation: For various grade levels, a variety of texts can be used depending on the age of the children. Also, children can work with their assigned writing partner to come up with ideas for what elements are featured in personal narratives.
Assessment: Through student observation the teacher will be able to identify which students have grasped the concept of what defines a narrative.
Objective(s): SWBAT identify and develop appropriate topics for personal narratives.
Outcome(s): At the conclusion of the lesson, students should have an understanding of what topics are appropriate and techniques for gathering topics to write about in this genre style.
Resources: teacher writing journal, mentor texts, chart paper, markers, turn and talk cards Turn and Talk.doc
1) Read with students another example of a personal narrative from the mentor text list. (I would recommend another Patricia Polacco book, Thank You, Mr. Falker).
2) After reading the mentor text ask students to summarize the story and have students identify the topic of the mentor text. This particular story features a girl who is struggling with learning how to read like her other classmates.
3) Ask students what other topics writers may use to write a personal narrative story. List examples on chart. An extension may be to share with students some of your own narratives from your writing journal.
4) Then have students, with their writing partner, list ideas in their writing notebook that they could use for personal narrative writing topics. If students are having difficulties coming up with topics have students use turn and talk cards to spark ideas.
5) Have students share their ideas with the class and discuss which ideas may have more to write about than others and which ideas are small moments rather than large topics.
Differentiation: To assist students who are struggling coming up with ideas, use the turn and talk cards to have a prompt for students' writing.
Assessment: Through observation and sharing the teacher will be able to determine which children have topics to develop during writing workshop.
Objective(s): SWBAT identify how personal narratives are organized. (ex: paragraphs, beginning-middle-end, small moment stories, etc.)
Outcome(s): Students should be able to identify that each story is a complete thought, from beginning to end. Also, these stories do not highlight the author's entire life, rather they show a small moment in time that is important to the writer.
Resources: chart paper, markers, writer's notebook, mentor text (variety)
1) Begin lesson with a connection to students. For example, talk with students about their summer share stories and how they are about many moments that the students experienced.
2) Chart ideas - especially ideas that are too large to write about (like the entire summer vacation) so that students will be able to compare later. Also, chart ideas about teacher's summer vacation.
3) Then have students focus on the story for the day. Select a picture book that is appropriate for your grade level. For this lesson we will read a short story, Eleven by Sandra Cisneros. This is also a mentor text featured in the Writing Workshop Units of Study.
4) When completed with reading, ask students to summarize story in a few words/a sentence.
5) Prompt students with questions about the main event in the story. (Was this about an entire day/season/vacation? Did the author write about something meaningful? Was it a small seed story or a large watermelon story?)
Differentiation: The teacher can read a variety of texts based on grade level. Also, the teacher can write a sample story of their summer vacation with students. Write about the entire summer and then students can help the teacher zoom in on a special moment from the entire summer.
Assessment: Through use of writer's chart and observation the teacher will be able to see if students grasp that stories are told from beginning to end, but also that the story does not need to be a about a large period of time. This story takes place in about 15-20 minutes. It is like a zoom on a camera. The author focuses on a small part of their day/life.
Objective (s): SWBAT explore brainstorming techniques.
Outcome(s): At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be exposed to a variety of brainstorming techniques and be able to use them effectively to plan their writing.
a variety of brainstorming sheets, writer's notebook, example of completed brainstorming (work in progress with students)
1) For mini-lesson watch as I model how to plot my story on a story mountain using one of the selected topics from my brainstorming list.
2) Plot story along the story mountain revealing what the problem and solution are of my story, what the heart of my story will be, and what the conclusion of my story will be.
3) Have students identify that this is a type of brainstorming and organization technique that works for me, but may not work for every person.
4) Then have students examine other types of brainstorming that other authors use.
5) Have students use the computer and the provided websites to find a brainstorming method for their story and complete the brainstorming.
Differentiation: Students who are comfortable using the computer can brainstorm on the computer and have a printed version of their story. Other students can print a version of the brainstorming sheet and write in their ideas with pencil.
Assessment: By the end of this day, students should have collected a list of topics that they would like to write about for next week. If students are struggling with this, have selected students work with a partner or pull a small group together to list topics together.
Objective(s): SWBAT complete portions of the personal narrative writing Webquest.
Outcome(s): At the conclusion of this week, students should be able to complete portions of the Webquest using themes that we have talked about previously. Also, students should be able to recall topics that are appropriate to write about as well as how they will plan their stories through brainstorming.
1) Review with students the topics that we have discussed throughout the week (what are narratives, brainstorming, topic selection, etc).
2) Have students complete Webquest steps 1-3. Do not complete actual writing of personal narrative because this will be done in class. Students only need to complete the brainstorming techniques.
3) As students complete the "road map" have students share with their writing partner.
4) Ask students what events on their "road map" would be the best to write about and why.
Differentiation: Students can work in pairs as well as small groups to complete this.
Assessment: At the conclusion of this lesson, students should have produced a road map that will help them in the writing of their narrative throughout the unit. Also, through observation the teacher can see if students are using technology appropriately. In addition, students should be able to identify one area of their "road map" that would be the best to write about as a personal narrative.
Note: Writing partnerships are set up prior to the start of Writing Workshop.
The lessons featured in this unit can be adapted for grades 3-5.
Computers are integral to this unit. A laptop cart or computer for each student/writing partnership is ideal.