Hard to believe the first month of school is over.

The great thing about teaching three blocks of the same course is the chance to make changes and try new approaches.

I started the year by reviewing the writing process and using the personal narrative as the vehicle. The assignment itself has links to short stories (all of our stories contain some story elements, so literary terms can be used in context), and I always find it interesting to read the unique stories that are produced.

I often find myself rushing through writing instruction. So for this unit, I made a point of breaking down all the steps, and finding plenty of examples to share with students, before releasing them to the writing.

Sometimes I would use an ipad to flash narrative excerpts on the projector screen. Other times, I would split students into groups, have each group read an example of a narrative and analyse the structure and features. (I found lots of examples on www.teenink.com) And along the way, I collected portions of writing from students as formative assessment (their attempts at introductions, conclusions).

Once most of them seemed ready, I provided time for brainstorming, gave them a graphic organizer, showed them the rubric (I’ll save the co-creation of criteria for another unit…I forgot), and then let them write.

They’ll do peer feedback letters on Tuesday, and then I’ll see the final products the following class.

Hopefully the task breakdown will mean they will all hand in pieces they are happy with.


Analysis by groups: