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SCOPE AND SEQUENCE (Week Three): Teaching the Personal Narrative Essay


Week Three: Some of you might have asked your students to come to class today having watched a sports event on the weekend and bringing examples of play-by-play CDs and color commentator CMs. If so, use the first half of the class having them write samples in a carousel fashion on paper attached to the walls of the classroom (with music, of course) and then reviewing the accuracy of their findings.

Before we begin, you'll notice that I have not divided Week Three into Days. Teachers have different schedules and interruptions. The list below can be done in five days. I've bolded nice starting points. Some of you might complete it in less time; some of you might need more time. The key is to "TAKE YOUR TIME." Solicit questions. Don’t let them sit in those desks for more than 15-20 minutes without having them get up and move – Suggestion:– music and brain breaks!

  1. Use the model prompt, “Tell about a time when you made a mistake.”
  2. Give the students a blank “Tchart.”
  3. To avoid confusion with color-coding, place the blank Tchart on your doc camera, and with you as their guide, have the students circle TS in blue; CD column heading in red; and CM column heading in green.
  4. Pull a popular novel, short story, or chapter book off the shelf and read the first chapter. At the beginning of the story, the reader can begin picturing the setting, the characters, and the plot. Tell the students that this visual picture in their minds unfolds because of the details in the story. This picture is what they want to create when they are writing/telling a story to their audiences. It happens through the details, and this reason is why the ratio is what it is.
  5. Use the model on p. 92 to demonstrate the Tchart process for the beginning paragraph of the model paragraph. Students copy each part, and you explain again the importance of details when writing a narrative. Return to the novel, short story, or chapter book and have them highlight the details/images that relate to the “Tchart.”
  6. One mistake that is often made when beginning this process is that teachers and students think that the Tchart is about the whole story; it’s not. It delves into the beginning only. You will work through a Tchart for the middle part of the story and again for the end of the story. Yes, there might be some repetition, but if you will tell the students to “go deeper” as the story unfolds, then, hopefully, the story will evolve, and the characters and events will be visualized in the imagination of the reader. Each section of the story will have a “Tchart.” Completing the Tchart results in their first draft of their first paragraph of the story.
  7. For the CDs and CMs, review pp. 78 – 83 with the students.
  8. Give the students two handouts: a blank “Shaping Sheet” and my “Transitions” handout. Tell them, “We’re going to ‘Move and Improve’ (from trainer Lauren Roedy-Vaughn).”
  9. Have them move (don’t say “Copy”) the information from the Tchart to the “Shaping Sheet,” revising the sentences as they move them (e.g., include more CMs from what they did not use – TS, CM, CS). Here, you may go beyond the model and let them do some revising on their own, adding transitions between sentences where necessary. Create complete sentences for the CDs.
  10. For ELA teachers, give the students three rules for editing and revision; for non-ELA teachers, focus on the TS to make sure it accomplishes what the prompt asks; and then look at the CDs and explain that determining the content of these cells is critical in presenting explanation/information.
  11. Completing the “Shaping Sheet” results in their second drafts!
  12. Move and Improve to the final draft (write or type in black-and-white or color), using the paragraph form (if writing) in your graphic organizers.
  13. Then, repeat the process for the second body paragraph (middle of the story) and the third body paragraph (end of the story). Or, read through it together and then build a story together.

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Dr. D'

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