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Writer's Workshop: Narrative Writing: Revision Ideas: Leads, Endings, Dialogue, Small Moments, Sensory Details

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jean zambelli

on 21 February 2016

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Transcript of Writer's Workshop: Narrative Writing: Revision Ideas: Leads, Endings, Dialogue, Small Moments, Sensory Details

A quick review:
Launching ideas: Do you need more help?
Sample Lesson:
Two - Three Day Lesson
Day 1:

Students will work in groups to categorize leads from the strongest to the weakest.

1. Put students into groups of 4. Hand out 4 - 5 chapter books and/or picture books to each group. Ask students to look at the leads in each book and to put those leads in order from the strongest, most interesting lead, to the weakest, least interesting lead. The group must determine what makes a lead strong and what makes a lead weak. Once they have established this rating, hand out 5 index cards. Ask the students to number the cards from 1 - 5 (1 being the weakest; 5 the strongest) and to then copy the leads down on the index cards. Collect all cards for you to analyze for tomorrow's lesson.
2. If time allows have students write a new entry into their writer's workshop notebook.
Day 2:

; Students will analyze the strong leads from yesterday and "try ten" to create new leads.
1. On chart paper or a smart board create a list of ten of the strongest leads that students chose yesterday. Try to choose leads that are somewhat different. (Questions, dialogue, strong sensory details, etc...)
2. Students could work in groups of 2 or the same groups of 4 from yesterday. Ask students to talk about what makes these leads strong and to write down what they notice about each lead.
3. Discuss as a class what they felt were the best leads.
Writer's Workshop:
Narrative Writing:
Revision Ideas:
Small Moments
Sensory Details

More resources:
Creating a hand map; heart map; history of your name; inverted triangles.
History of a name; writing from a list; writing from a word.
Heart Mapping; similes, metaphors; sensory details
Revision Lessons
Today we will focus on 5 topics:
Small Moments
Sensory Details
Writing Leads
Where can I find Lessons?
The Writing Fix.com
The Writing Thief by Ruth Culham
Notebook Know How Strategies for the Writer's Notebook by Aimee Buckner
Mentor Texts by Lynne R. Dorfman and Roe Cappelli
Craft Lesson: Teaching Writing K-8 by Ralph Fletcher and Joann Portalupi
3. Model for the students how to use these leads to change one of their own. For example:
If a student wrote "One day I went on a roller coaster and it was fun." Their "try 1
0" * may look like this:
an old amusement park in Jersey that was surrounded by screams stood 2 little girls with big, big dreams.
Not every ten year old sits in the front seat of a monster roller coaster, on its first run, and enjoys every moment of it!
Have students help you create a few more leads.
4. Now ask students to go back to a story in their writer's notebook and change their lead using all of the "models" they discovered as a class.
5. Have 3 - 5 students share their new leads. (Or partner students up so that everyone gets a turn to share.)

*The Try 10 Strategy is in
Notebook Know How
pages 62 - 63
Writing Endings
The same sample lesson for leads can be used for endings.

Begin with a question
Begin with action
Begin with a problem
Begin with the setting
Begin with dialogue
Begin with a sound
Begin with character
Sample Leads
An example of showing not telling using Crispin by Avi. This lesson can be found on The Writing Fix website.
The Writing Thief

Mentor Texts

Craft Lessons


We can learn about the people, events and places in a story by paying attention to what the characters say. Dialogue tags or speaker tags serve two purposes:
1. They tell the reader who is speaking.
2. They show the reader the actions related to the comments. (readwritethink.org)
Why is it important in a story?
What could you do first?
Explain the definition of a speaker tag (dialogue tag). What is it? Where can it be found in a sentence.
He said
, "What...."
Middle: "The boy,"
she said
, "it is...."
End: "The boy...about it,"
she said
Some Ideas on How to Introduce Dialogue
Stranger in the Woods
by Carl R. Sams II
Point out the speaker tags and emphasize the idea that many of the speaker tags support who the character is. The owl asked, the cardinal chirped, etc....
Reinforce the idea that the tag is important in showing
the character said something.
Hand out a comic strip to the class.
Have the students rewrite the comic using dialogue.
The students may NOT use said. Hand out a list of alternative words they can use.
Resources to Use for Dialogue
Craft Lessons: Teaching Writing K-8
Comic strips
Any Chapter/Picture Book
Have students write the dialogue between two characters that might be missing from a book. For example, in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, there is part of the book where Aslan pulls Edward aside to have a serious discussion with him. C.S. Lewis never writes what is said. Have students write the conversation they think happened between Aslan and Edward.
Slowing Down Time/ Using a Time Focus/Snapshot Writing
J.Zambelli October 2014
What does this mean?
Without guidance, students will often choose topics that are huge and unfocused: "My Life," "School," or "My Hobbies."No wonder they quickly run out of things to write about! Such topics usually lead to list of ideas where the writing never goes beneath the surface.
Craft Writing - page 68
Focusing on a Slice of the Pie
My Family
Big Topic: My Family
Who in my family is important? Grandpa. Topic still too big.
Think of a specific memory I have of Grandpa.
Grandpa and I fishing.
That will be where I will start my story.

Grandpa and I went fishing.
Craft Writing - Pg. 68
Using a Timeline Strategy:
If students are having trouble with this concept ask them to choose one of their own stories to reread.
As they reread ask them to create a timeline of their own story. (What happened first, middle, last.)
For example:
We went
to the
We unpack
We turn on
water and
scared near
the garage.
This is really my story. I will rewrite it beginning here.
to Use:
The lessons for these books can be found in:
Mentor Texts and
Craft Writing
Mentor Texts:
Late Lunch
short story by Ralph Fletcher
Foul Shot
poem by Edwin A. Hoey
Mentor Texts to Use for Endings
As Ralph Fletcher (1993) says, "It is the ending, after all, that will resonate in the ear of the reader when the piece of writing has been finished. If the ending fails, the work fails in its entirety" (92).
Appealing to the Senses
Description helps students understand how to be more specific since they are writing about just one thing. They don't have to stop with simply describing what they see. Writers use all of the senses to give us a concrete, physical experience. (Mentor Texts pg. 74)
Sample Lesson:
Tell students that good writers use these five senses - sight, touch, smell, taste, sound - to bring the world of their stories to their readers.
Put these senses up on a chart.
Read a picture book to the class. Ask them to pay attention to which of the five senses the author uses in the writing.
Read the book aloud.
Which of these senses did the author use to describe something? Put answers down on chart.
Today I'd like you to reread your writing and look at which of the five senses you tend to use the most. Pick one story and add as many senses as you can to your writing.
Mentor Texts to Use for Sensory Details
Think of conferencing in two different ways:
How is it going?
What are you working on?
What will you write next?
Have you checked for capitals, punctuation?
These conferences may be a little longer. The questions you may ask here are:
What did you change in this piece?
What is working here/not working?
Did you try a new lead? Let's look at it.
How will you end this story?
Do you need help working on something?
These are quick, check in conferences. Some of the questions you may ask are:
Interesting book that only uses 'bubbles' to show dialogue.
Editing and Revising
Capitals, Punctuation, Spelling, Paragraphing
Changing leads, Adding more details, Adding an ending, Adding Dialogue
Most of your mini-lessons should focus on revision lessons.
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