These days I sit and struggle with the addition of narrative writing to our state standardized writing tests. It is befuddling to consider creative narrative writing as something that is standards-based, as it relies heavily on the ingenuity and individuality of voice of the author. Not to even mention the history of authors not having formal education or being kicked out of schools! In the end, my students must become better writers and hopefully, their development of voice will show the results in their scores. While working on the Narrative Writing Mat (posted below), I reviewed previous lessons that worked over the years that students reported as impacting their writing and engaging them in school.
For this particular lesson, I remove many of the desks from the room and have some of them line the walls of the room. Students take the notebook and a cheatsheet of literary terms. Students compose as many poems as possible during the course of the period. Students take a spot around the objects placed in the middle of the room. These objects are just random objects found in the house or a junk drawer. Students begin the period writing in any form, type, or voice they want to write in. They students' main directive is to use the objects as a muse for their writing and if they become stuck, focus on using vivid details and sensory language to describe the objects. Without notification, I buzzer goes off (I usually set this for about 2-3 minutes) and students move two spots to the right. While this doesn't seem like a lot, students quickly notice how a slight shift in perspective greatly alters what can and cannot be seen. Students start the process over again, but I often begin with a list and call them out or write them on the projected screen. Perhaps during this writing students have to use two metaphors and one allusion or the lines must go ABBA BCCB and so on. This forces students up in Bloom's Taxonomy, where they now have to apply their mastered knowledge and skills. Also, students must be prepared as they don't have a lot of time to relearn the terminology.Students continue to move around the circle, moving two spots until back at the beginning. During their writing, I have time to walk around and provide individualized instruction as I read over student's shoulders.
Now that I've found my folder of narrative writings, I'll be posting them along the way. As promised, here is the Narrative Writing Mat to put on students' desks while their writing.
|Narrative Writing Mat Front|