The intention of this study is to allow students to discover themselves as writers, while developing some craft in their writing. This unit is about 2-3 weeks and will address what good writers do, how to value tiny, ordinary moments in the writer’s life and envisioning the writing as a strategy for writing. During this unit, students will be discovering how to narrow the time frame of their story to the most important aspect rather than creating “bed to bed” stories—writing that tells what happened from the moment a character woke up until the moment that character went to bed. Lessons will cover how to narrow the focus of a story with strategies for crafting a well-thought out and concise story. Craft elements will include studying the leads and endings from mentor texts and using what is learned to craft personal leads and endings for personal stories.
Writing Workshop is a time for students to experiment with ideas, styles and the writing process. A Writer’s Notebook is a place for students to house their ideas, drafts and revisions. Publishing is done outside of the notebook so that it can be shared in a variety of ways.
Teachers should keep a Writer’s Notebook of their own to share with students. Students will appreciate seeing their teachers practicing the same strategies they are expected to use.
During Read Aloud the first couple of weeks of school, read picture books with strong and descriptive language. Choose titles from which lessons can be drawn for different parts of the writing process. When these books have already been read aloud, the teacher can revisit certain aspects of the text to teach writing craft and process.
Key Teaching Points:
• Defining personal narrative and rereading writers’ notebook entries
• Building a story by telling it across your fingers and making a timeline
• Narrow the time frame
• Sketching my scenes
• Slowing down the hot spot
• Crafting an eye-catching lead
• Crafting an eye-catching ending
• Revising for sentence variety
• Editing sentence structure
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