Narrative Writing Lesson Plan

Theme:

A Holiday to Remember

Summary:

This plan takes students through the planning, writing and editing stages of creating their own Holiday themed story book. Included are student planning resources, a student checklist, and a rubric, as well as differentiation and extension ideas.

Duration:

4+ sessions

Resources:

  • Character Planning Handout
  • Setting Planning Handout
  • Plot Planning Handout
  • Story Checklist
  • Rubric

To save on printing, you can double-sided print or have students use scratch paper instead of using the three planning handouts. The Story Checklist could be laminated and reused and you could fill in the Rubric digitally.

Common Core Standards supported

4th grade (click for more details)
W.4.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
W.4.3.A Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
W.4.3.B Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
W.4.3.D Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
W.4.3.E Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.
W.4.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grade 4 here.)
W.4.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
Optional:
W.4.3.C Use a variety of transitional words and phrases to manage the sequence of events.
5th grade
W.5.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
W.5.3.A Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
W.5.3.B Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, description, and pacing, to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
W.5.3.D Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
W.5.3.E Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.
W.5.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grade 5 here.)
W.5.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.
Optional:
W.5.3.C Use a variety of transitional words, phrases, and clauses to manage the sequence of events.

Lesson Plan

Step 1: Introduction & Planning (click for more details)

Step 1 is for planning purposes only so students will not need to be at computers. Students can work on books individually or with a partner or small group.


Introduction:


 Discuss with students
  • Tell students they will be writing story books called A Holiday to Remember.
  • Ask students to share memories from their own Holidays. Share some of your own memorable ones or refer to stories students might know such as Home Alone.
  • Ask what might make something memorable (something going wrong, something special happening, something unusual happening, etc...).
  • Explain that the stories they will write can be fictitious or based on a real Holiday memory.
  • Show example StoryJumper books to generate engagement with the task.

A. Character Planning


Emphasize to students the importance of planning their writing before they begin.

Use the Character Planning Handout or scratch paper for students to brainstorm their main character. You can model this with a character of your own first.


Note: students should produce a quick and rough sketch of their character for brainstorming only. They will create their character’s final look on the StoryJumper platform.


 Ask prompt questions such as:
  • Who is your character? What is their gender/age/appearance?
  • What does your character like doing during the Holidays?
  • How does your character feel about the Holidays? (Mood)
  • How does your character feel when he/she sees someone who is sad? (Empathy)
  • How does your character respond when things go wrong? (Response to situations)
 Differentiation
  • Decrease difficulty: Provide sentence structures such as “The character…....when he/she sees someone who is sad” and allow students to use key words and pictures to build up their character.
  • Increase difficulty: Plan two or three characters in this way.

B. Setting Planning


Now use the Setting Planning Handout or scratch paper for students to plan their main setting. There may be multiple settings, so they should brainstorm their main or first setting. Again you can model this with a setting of your own first. Consider displaying some Holiday scenes for inspiration.


Note: students should produce a quick and rough sketch of their setting for brainstorming only. They will create the final look of their setting on the StoryJumper platform.


 Ask prompt questions such as:
  • Where does the story start?
  • What does this place look like during the Holidays?
  • What can you smell?
  • What can you see?
  • What can you hear?

Encourage students to use adjectives and multiple adjectives where appropriate.

 Differentiation
  • Decrease difficulty: Provide sentence structures such as “I can hear...” and allow students to use key words and pictures to build up their setting.
  • Increase difficulty: Provide a thesaurus for descriptive words and details and require complex multi-adjective phrases.

C. Plot Planning


Use the Plot Planning Handout or scratch paper to have students sketch out their narrative arc. You might model this with a well known story such as Red Riding Hood so students understand how to use the four sections of the handout.


Talk through conflict and resolution in their stories and engage the reader with these.


Spend a little more time on this for students to fill out details and description in each section and think about how their character(s) will react.


Students may need some help in developing their plots, so consider class/group discussions to flesh out different conflict and resolution ideas. Plots need to be completed and checked before students move on to writing their books.

 Differentiation
  • Decrease difficulty: Have students talk through their plot with a partner, adult or small group and then use key words and phrases in each box.
  • Increase difficulty: Require descriptive details in each section or have students create their own planning sheets.

Step 2: Creating Books on StoryJumper

Before this step, click on “Create a Class” on your homepage to set up your class if you haven’t done so already. On the class page, click on “Edit Class” and make sure your class is set up correctly. For more information on setting up your class, read through the Teacher’s Guide.


Using StoryJumper


 Help your students learn how to use StoryJumper
  • If your students are new to StoryJumper, start by watching the StoryJumper Tutorial as a class to learn the basics of writing a book on the platform.
  • To reinforce how to use the platform, walk through some of the steps, such as uploading an image or adding a text box. As you carry out each of these actions on the whiteboard or using a projector, have each student perform the same steps on their own computer.
  • Students can find more "How To" information in the Author's Guide.

Creating the Book

After students log into StoryJumper, have them click “Create a Book” using the “Blank” book template.


Students should first create their cover page, change the cover color and pattern, add the title (A Holiday to Remember), and add their name. They can come back to add an image later.


Students can then add text and images to each page as they write their stories. They may prefer to either write all of the text or create all of their images first. Allow flexibility as to how each student prefers to work, ensuring they are making sufficient progress in the allocated time.


For images, give guidance as to how to source these online or use the props and scenes provided. Remind students that their images should help the reader to understand the story. Images can used on either side of each double page and also include text. Students can look at some example books from the StoryJumper library to see how text and images can be integrated.


Ensure that students are referring to their planning as they write and are structuring their books carefully. For example, they should use the Character and Setting Planning Handouts for their first pages, as well as the first box from the Plot Planning Handout.


If you want to provide extra support or structure, you could walk through the detailed guidance below and display it on the board:


Beginning

  • 2 double pages
  • Introduce the setting with sensory details
  • Introduce the character with descriptive details
  • Explain what is happening

What Goes Wrong

  • 2-3 double pages
  • Explain what happens
  • Give details and clear descriptions
  • Include how the character reacts

Who/What Helps

  • 2-3 double pages
  • Explain what happens
  • Give details and clear descriptions
  • Include how the character reacts

Ending

  • 1-2 double pages
  • Explain how the story ends
  • Use clear descriptions
  • Include how the character feels

You can also include:

  • Dialogue in speech bubbles
  • Dialogue in your writing (indirect speech)
  • Transitional words (e.g. later on, next, suddenly)

You could also give out the Story Checklist at this point for students to use as they work through their books. Alternatively, hand out this checklist in the next step when they review their stories.


Provide support as students work.


 Differentiation
  • All students: Require different lengths of writing on each page or a different number of pages, depending on student ability.
  • English Learning or struggling students: Consider using the “Add Voice” feature so they can orally narrate their stories before they start writing. Then they can add text afterwards.
 Extensions
  • If time is available, or just with the advanced students, you could require the inclusion of dialogue. This could be added through speech bubbles as well as using indirect speech in the text.
  • Additionally, you could require examples of transitional words and phrases to be included. Provide examples as necessary.

Step 3: Review and Finish Books

Before this step, you can review student progress from the class page to intervene and provide support to individual students as necessary.


Finishing the Book

Students should finalize their text and images in order to complete their books.

They may also have time to adjust the layout to make their books more visually appealing. Books from the StoryJumper Library can be used as examples.


Final Review

Students can use the first column of the Story Checklist to carry out a final review of their own book. Read through each item so that students understand what they are looking for. You could give examples or work through a review for one student as a class.


Students can then peer review other's books. Pair up students to carry out these reviews. Students should click “Invite” in the editor to invite another student to collaborate on their book. The invited student will see the book on their “Home” page. They can then carry out a review using the right-hand column of the Story Checklist. They can add checkmarks and also write notes of things for the author to improve. Students should then sit down in their pairs to share their feedback.


After the peer review is completed, the original author can remove the collaborator from their book and make any changes and improvements.


When students are finished, they should click the “Finished” button below their book on their home page. You will then see the “Finished” label under their book on your class page.

Step 4: Assessment & Completing the Writing Project

Assessment

Perform a final review of each student’s book, perhaps sitting down with the student during an appropriate time.

You can then use the Rubric to grade students’ books if required.


Publish

Consider publishing the students' stories as hardcover or paperback books for students to keep.
Knowing their books will be published adds a level of accountability to their work and encourages higher standards of writing.


More information about publishing student books can be found in the Teacher’s Guide.


Narrate

Students can narrate their books to demonstrate reading fluency.

The tutorial video in the Author's Guide shows you how to narrate a book.


Share

Books can be shared with parents online so they can purchase their child's book themselves - a perfect holiday gift!

More information about sharing student books with parents can be found in the Teacher’s Guide.


You could even hold an Author Open House for students to showcase their published books to their parents.



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