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9 Narrative Writing

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Lauren Griffith

on 5 September 2018

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Transcript of 9 Narrative Writing

English 9
Personal Narrative:
Launching the Writer's Notebook

Session 1
Objective (Write in WNB): Writers pay attention to the world around them. As writers, we need a place to keep our thoughts and ideas, our questions about things we want to know more about, and practice writing in one place. There are certain things that writers do in a writer's notebook, like recording memories, conversations, things that bother or interest us.
Decorate your writer's notebook. Since your notebook will be filled with your individual thoughts/writing, you want it to reflect your own values or interests.
You may use pictures, magazines, quotes, etc. It does need to be school appropriate, but effort will decide your grade for this assignment.
Check plus = 10 pts. Check = 8 Check Minus = 7
Session 2
We are a community of writers
We write using a process
of uncovering one's own beliefs, insights, and values and this process requires non-judgemental and thoughtful feedback from others.
We take risks.
Consider a time you felt an extreme emotion. Write about it in your WNB.
Write as much as you can in 5 minutes.

Examples of emotions:
Disempowered, helpless, elated, shocked, saddened, anxious, jealous
Joyful, grateful, prideful, excited, hopeful

Consider what you learned about yourself, or life in general, from this event.

Reminder: Some topics may be too personal to share. You want to write about an experience that you will be
comfortable sharing with partners.
Independent Practice 1:
You will now share your entries with your partner/group.
Listeners will tell the writer what they found the most memorable about their entries and make non-judgemental, clarifying statements.

Statement starters:
I wish I knew more about......
I wonder.....
I was confused by....
The part I remember best is...
I also....

The writer will take notes about the feedback in their notebooks.
About This Unit:
Writers of personal narratives explore real experiences.
Writers gather ideas from the world around them and record them in their writer's notebook.
They develop a repertoire of narrative techniques.
They work with a writing community to draft and revise their narrative.
Notebooks are used to deepen our understandings of our thoughts and beliefs as well as developing our writing and thinking skills.

While the writing in the notebook may be disjointed or choppy, the thoughts and ideas are important to the writer and may be developed into something more later.

The notebook is an informal no-pressure place to explore our thoughts.
Independent Practice 1:
Independent Practice 2:
Select a topic from the "Ways to Use the Writer's Notebook" glue-in and complete one entry that is at least one page in length.
Turn and Talk:
Turn to your geographical partner and share your decorated notebook.
Explain your decisions about why you chose to decorate your notebook in the fashion you did.
Highlight quotes/pictures that are the most meaningful to you.
Turn and Talk:
Read your journal entry aloud to your geographical partner.
Select a second topic from the "Ways to Use the Writer's Notebook" list and complete another entry that is at least one page in length.
The topic you choose should be different than the first topic you wrote about.
This is due tomorrow and will be checked in as process points.
Writing Community:
This class will require you to dig within yourselves and to work with one another
I am a guide and facilitator, but by no means the only judge or editor of student work.

You will get to know and trust one another.
Session 3
Objective: Writers
record memories from their past
with as much detail as possible to use for the basis of their writing.

Writers write about stories that matter, but sometimes they don't even know why the story is important until they write about it.
As a class.........
We are going to actively read "Eleven" by Sandra Cisneros.
Active Reading:

Highlight/Bracket sections where Cisneros
recalls or explains the memory

Highlight/Bracket, in a different color, parts where Cisneros is making sense of the memory,
finding significance
Independent Practice 1:
Read the possible journal starters.
Which starters stand out to you?
Which starters do you think you can write about in detail?
Choose one journal starter from the list and write an entry in your notebook that details that memory.
Possible Journal Starters:
I thought it was going to be a great day, but boy was I in for a surprise.......
That day started off like any other, but it sure didn't stay that way....
The time that really changed my life was...
The way I view the world was changed forever when.....
It should have been a great summer, but....
I used to think ______, but now I think _____
Share your entry with a partner to see potential for future writing.

Discuss with your partner to answer the following questions:

Is this an important story that you think has potential as a longer piece? Why or why not?

Why is this memory significant or important to you?
Session 4
Strategy: Writers reread to discover the significance of their stories so they can expand their writing.
How do we find significance in our writing?
We look for the following things:
Anything that surprises the writer
Repeated images, ideas, lines, or words
Anything that catches the writer's attention as important on this second reading
Independent Practice 1:
Reread and highlight your own entry using the same process we previously discussed.
Based on what you highlighted, write a new draft-->
Choose which line, word, image, or idea you think is important
Write it at the top of a new page in your WNB
Write a new draft that delves deeper into the topic identified as important
Be open to new ideas or related ideas and write those ideas as well
Session 5
Objective: Writers reveal their characters by describing their physical characteristics, behaviors and mannerisms, and dialogue.
Gary Soto's "The Bike"
Copy down the following chart in your WNB's:

*You will be writing down different lines from the story, so be sure you have enough room in your chart.
Follow along as we read the story and copy down what we find in your chart
Underneath the chart in your WNB complete the following quick-write:
Look back over the story and the chart and consider how the character came to life on the page.
Be sure to answer the following questions:

What kind of character is the narrator?
How did Soto's physical and behavioral descriptions help you picture and "hear" the character?
What are ways you can flesh out a character by using description?
Independent Practice 1:
Using the chart as a model, list physical and behavioral characteristics of your own main character (YOU) at the time the story takes place and that of any other character you will include in the story.

Tell your partner how you would describe yourself, using the two categories.
Together, you will work to choose details you think have potential to include in the story by highlighting or underlining them.

You are looking for description that will cause the reader to be able to "see" the character in his/her mind.
Using the lists of details you created,
write at least one paragraph
describing yourself at the time of the story you plan to write.

You will want to include both physical and behavioral details.

Then, incorporate those details into a new draft.
Session 6
Objective: Writers reveal their characters by exposing their thoughts. They consider how a character's internal story impacts the action.
Writers build interesting characters by allowing the reader to "see" and "hear" them, but also by letting readers know their characters' thoughts.
Most good writers switch back and forth between the
external story (description and dialogue)
, and the
internal story (thoughts and backstories)

*Reminder: Authors don't always give clues like "I think...." to show that the character is thinking about something
Independent Practice 1:
As we read Robert Cromier's "The Moustache", highlight passages that show a character's
thoughts (internal story).
First, with your partner, explain what you highlighted as internal story.
Next, work together to highlight passages that show external story.

Then, discuss the following questions:
What do you notice about the balance of the two?

Would the story be as effective if it didn't include one of the types of descriptions?

Could it be better if the story included more of a certain type of description?
Go back to your characterization paragraph about yourself.

Find some places where you could add internal stories (thoughtshots) and external stories (dialogue). Make note of it and highlight and place a "T" or "D" in the spots you want to revise.

Rewrite the passage adding the internal thoughts and dialogue.
Session 7
Writers share their writing with others. A writer seeks feedback to discover what a reader sees, where there is confusion, and where new possibilities exist. They make plans to rework their writing when they see how others view it.

"As I reach out to create the writing communities I need, I have one rule: I do not share my writing in process with anyone who does not make me want to write. When I get a response from the members of my writing community, I hurry back to my desk, excited by the problems, the possibilities, the strengths I have discovered. I have work to do and I am eager to get at it."
-Donald Murray

As a class.....

We are going to look at a piece of writing together to practice the skills of giving helpful feedback. Use the following questions as a guide:

1. Which craft decisions do you admire in the piece? (For example, great imagery, a funny metaphor, some realistic dialogue, etc.)

2. What part of the story is confusing? Was it hard to tell how it all ended? Was it confusing trying to determine who was talking?

3. What possibilities do you see in the story? In other words, what are some things the writer could do if they thought it would be appropriate? Never tell the writer what they need to do, only what they might do!

Independent Practice 1:

In small groups of 4-5 students, silently read one group mate's story and then answer the response group feedback questions on the notecard.

After finishing EACH story, pass the stories to the right and read the next group mate's story quietly.

At the end, all of the personal narratives should have been read and notecards filled out by each reader. The narratives and notecards are then returned to the author.
Turn and Talk:
Turn to your neighbor and share the most helpful pieces of feedback you received, share the changes you plan to make based on the feedback, and then thank the group for their advice!


-Return to your own writing and make any changes that you feel are necessary or desirable after closely reading and considering the group's feedback!

Session 8
Writers give their work clarity by using proper conventions of writing. Readers can understand who is speaking with properly formatted dialogue.
As a class....

Today we will use the "Editing and Formatting Dialogue handout as we read a passage from Jeffrey Wroblewski's The Story of Edgar Sawtelle to notice how the dialogue is formatted; such as where the punctuation occurs and where the text is indented. We will also review the "cheat sheet" section of the handout to learn the four ways a writer might set up dialogue in a writing passage.
Independent Practice:
Return to your narrative to find places where dialogue might improve the story. Write two examples of dialogue to insert, using proper conventions on formatting dialogue. Try using two of the four strategies described in your narrative.
Turn and Talk:

Read your dialogue to a small group to gain feedback about how realistic sounding the dialogue is.

Edit each other's dialogue samples to be sure they are correctly formatted according to the conventions from your handout.

Edit and revise your narrative. It is due in completion for the next session for a final celebration!
Session 9

Writers celebrate their stories by sharing them with others. Listeners note what resonates with them in their peers' writing.

Today we will celebrate your hard work by sharing our writing with others. Sometimes sharing a personal story can be very difficult, even emotional. It is our responsibility to nurture the writing community we have created together by being positive and supportive!
Independent Practice:

Take turns sharing your story in your designated group.

Turn and Talk:
After each student finishes, students in the group should volunteer to share what "stuck" with them. What line or section of the story made you say "Wow!" or surprised you about the writing?
Writers often seek an audience for their work by submitting their stories and poetry for publication.

We will be looking at some contests to submit your writing to through print and online sources!
Write this down in the front of your WNB. It is our motto.
Select a second topic from the "Ways to Use the Writer's Notebook" list and complete another entry that is at least one page in length.

It should be a different topic than you wrote about yesterday.
Warm Up:
Label and date in WNB!
Writing about Memories
Figurative Language
Read the story again, looking for figurative language (similes, metaphors, personification, etc.).
Now, choose one example of figurative language that you identified.
How does the writer use this technique to make meaning?

How does it help you, the reader, better understand her deeper meaning?
...the way you grow old in kind of like an onion...
The writer uses this simile to show the reader another example of what she means by saying that being eleven also means being ten, nine, eight, etc.

Look back at your memory drafts you have already written in your WNB OR think about a story from your life you want to tell--maybe it will turn into your polished narrative.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination,
but should finish in the reader’s.”
Stephen King

1. What do you LOOK LIKE?\
2. What do you THINK?
3. What do you SAY/DON’T SAY?
4. What do you DO/DON’T DO?
5. What do you FEEL?
6. What do other people SAY or THINK about you?

• Now,
choose an entry from your WNB.
Think about who you were at the time the story take places and try to characterize yourself at that time. Add external details in three different places of that entry.

• Use as many of the 4
methods of characterization
as you can and write it in your WNB.

Key Actions
Mike's actions are important but minimal. He doesn't just tell us what he does, but also what he thinks and how he feels.
Where does Mike express the
of this story (this is what he learned from the experience)?

Put a *star* by the meaning.
Ideas to Jump Start Your Narrative
Seeking independence
A new start
Now or never
The first day
A comeback
Closing a chapter
Changing for the better or worse
What matters most in the end
Learning to adapt
Broken promises
The hard truth
Only recently
Personal success
Honest mistakes
Setting an example

Explode a Moment/Stretching Time
Session 6.2
Writers use the stretching time technique to zoom in on the climax of their stories.
Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash grew up in
a small farming town in
Arkansas named Dyess.

His music frequently
reflected his life

*Watch the video clip of Johnny Cash in concert performing his song “Five Feet High and Rising”.

*In this song, he sings about an event that occurred during his childhood.

*You will then work with a partner to analyze the lyrics, looking specifically for elements of personal narrative.

How high's the water, Mama?
Two feet high and risin'
How high's the water, Papa?
She said, "Two feet high and risin'"

We can make it to the road in a homemade boat
'Cause that's the only thing we got left that'll float
It's already over, all the wheat and the oats
Two feet high and risin'

How high's the water, Mama?
Three feet high and risin'
How high's the water, Papa?
She said, "It's three feet high and risin'"

Well, the hives are gone, I've lost my bees
The chickens are sleepin' in the willow trees
Cow's in water up past her knees
Three feet high and risin'

How high's the water, Mama?
Four feet high and risin'
How high's the water, Papa?
She said, "It's four feet high and risin'"

Hey, come look through the window pane
The bus is comin', gonna take us to the train
Looks like we'll be blessed with a little more rain
Four feet high and risin'

How high's the water, Mama?
Five feet high and risin'
How high's the water, Papa?
She said, "It's five feet high and risin'"

Well, the rails are washed out north of town
We gotta head for higher ground
We can't come back till the water goes down
Five feet high and risin'
Well, it's five feet high and risin'

The Cut
English 9 2013
When you walk in......
Highlight the following elements in your rough draft:
Explode a Moment
Significance Passage
Highlighting Traits
Choose a color to highlight each of the required narrative traits.
-- descriptions (physical or otherwise) of you or other people in the narrative).

Internal Thoughts


Figurative Language (2)
--label the two (simile, metaphor, etc.)!

Deeper meaning of the story
Create a color key so I know what each color represents
On the last page of your narrative, complete this sentence:
On one level, my narrative is about _______,
but on a deeper level, it is about __________.

Polished Copy
*go to eng 11 memoir prezi
What is fluency in writing?
"The ease with which the writer writes
when presented with an occassion for writing."
It has to do with the pure amount of writing
you can produce
in a given period of time.
This does not mean you write nonsense just to write lots of words.

This means that as the semester progresses, you work on writing more in a given period of time.
How do I write more?

THINK on the page.
Keep your pen or pencil moving.
Don't worry about mistakes.
Let's Try It!
Topic: Your Day So Far
Time: 30 Seconds
Write the number on the top of the page.
Let's Try Again!
Topic: This Weekend
Time: 60
What are similes used to describe the ways we grow old? Paragraph 3
Metaphors/Similes/Personification used to describe the sweater:
Metaphors/Similes/Personification to describe the speaker(Rachel):
Figurative Language in "Eleven"

"Hair" by Haven Kimmel
As we read this narrative by Haven Kimmel, look for ways the
author paints pictures with her words
for the reader.

Also look for ways the author tries to
infuse humor
into her writing.
After reading “Hair” by Haven Kimmel, reflect on the following topics and choose one or two about which to write.

Length: At least one page in your WNB.

Your hair
(For example, a hairstyle from your childhood that is embarrassing to you now; how you feel about your hair; what your hairstyle says about you).

A favorite article of clothing or shoes from your childhood
(For example, the t-shirt you wore all the time because you loved it so much; the pair of boots you always wanted but never got).

(For example, the time your sister talked you into doing something you knew you shouldn’t; the belongings of your brother that you envied and wished were yours).

Your neighborhood
(For example, the various families in your neighborhood; cruising around your neighborhood on your bike in the summer).

• Any other topic that is on your mind right now.

(On Glue-In)
Have a topic chosen for your narrative
"The Jacket"
Writers Make Meaning

Writers include the significance in their stories, not just plot.

Writers Develop Characters.

Writers use 6 methods of characterization:
Say/Don't Say
Do/Don't Do
What Others Say
Writers Use Figurative Language to Create Connections and Images for the Reader.


Find a point in the text where the
author makes meaning
--he finds some significance in the fact that he wears this ugly jacket for year.

Put *** by it.
Finish this sentence in your WNB:

On one level, "The Jacket" is about ______.
On a deeper level, it is really about ______.
Do a free write about your
chosen topic
for the personal narrative assignment.

If you have already written about this topic in your WNB, you may continue the entry--but start it on a fresh page and give it today's date.
As We Begin Class Today:
When you walk in......
Copy down the following definition in your WNBs:

Climax Definition

Climax, a Greek term meaning “ladder”, is that particular point in a narrative at which the conflict or tension hits the highest point.

Climax is a structural part of a plot and is at times referred to as a crisis. It is a decisive moment or a turning point in a storyline at which the rising action turns around into a falling action. Thus, a climax is the point at which a conflict or crisis reaches its peak that calls for a resolution or denouement (conclusion).
The Rules of Formatting Dialogue

1. Quotation marks go at the beginning and ending of spoken words.

2. A speaker’s sentence should always start with a capital letter.

3. Some form of punctuation (comma, question mark, exclamation mark, or period) should go at the end of spoken words, but before the closing quotation mark.

4. Each time a new speaker speaks, a new indentation (TAB or five spaces) is needed.

Excerpt from David Wroblewski’s novel The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

“Okay, “ she said. “Follow me.” She tore her coat from the hook and walked out the door and in the waning light led them around the corner of the woodpile.
“Here,” she said. “ I want you to load this into your truck and take it out to the field. Every stick. Edgar will show you where the wheelbarrow is. Then I want you to go into town and go to Gordy Howe’s place and get another truckload and bring that back. I’ll call him now.”
The old man scratched his head and looked at her.
“Will it be enough?” she said.
“Yes, ma’am, I think it will be. It might take some time, even then, but I believe that will do it.”
“And will you help?”
The old man smiled and nodded.
“Oh, we’ll help all right. We’ll be here until the ground is thawed.” He turned to the younger man. “Won’t we?” he said. “Son?”

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