Using Technology to Effectively Plan Narratives
1. Post a narrative writing prompt. For example, a released STAAR prompt: http://bit.ly/1vSFLlq
2. Send students to an Answer Garden (http://answergarden.ch/ ) you have created. Make the question where it asks students to brainstorm possible answers for the prompt. For example, if the prompt is “Write a personal narrative about a time when you had fun participating in an activity with other people. Be sure to write about your experience in detail and describe why it was memorable.” The Answer Garden question would be, “List the activity as only one or two words. EX: "fishing" For the settings of your answer garden make sure to select brainstorm.
3. Encourage students to submit at least 5 possible answer choices. (More than 3 is important. When students brainstorm for prompts they tend to brainstorm the same top three things. The fourth and fifth ideas tend to be unique and thoughtful. )
4. Post the results of the Answer Garden on the board. As a class, analyze the topics through a series of questions: What do you notice? Imagine if you are a rater and read hundreds of essays answering this prompt; how would you feel when you come across yet another essay on one of the most popular topics? Which topic would you like to read about and why? What do you notice about our less common topics? When did they come up in your brainstorming? How many topics should you brainstorm? How should you make the decision when selecting the topic to pick for your essay?
5. Have each student select the topic they will pick for their prewriting.
6. Direct students to Make Beliefs Comix http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/ and pick the three panel.
7. Instruct students to put the narrative outline in the three boxes. You may want to post these as the directions:
· Think of your three boxes as one representing the three parts of your story: beginning, middle, end.
· In the first panel, use “panel prompt” to write the setting and establish characters.
· Write dialogue that is important/memorable.
· Select appropriate emotions.
8. Set an expectation of time (10-15 minutes) to complete these three panels. Give verbal reminders as you go to help students who fall behind. (i.e. By this time your should be done with your first panel and onto your second.)
9. After the set time, instruct students to change the panel count from 3 to 4.
10. Direct students to the rubric for the essay. You may want to bring them to STAAR Composition Rubric Way Oversimplified by Gretchen Bernabei: http://bit.ly/1z76A61 Bring attention to what makes a 4, highlighting the depth of thought and reflective aspect of the rubric. Panel 4 will describe this reflection.
11. Revisit the prompt. Determine the part that is asking you to be reflective. EX: “Write a personal narrative about a time when you had fun participating in an activity with other people. Be sure to write about your experience in detail and describe why it was memorable.”
12. Instruct students to use panel four for this purpose.
13. Students can then print a copy. To make PDF, press print and then change the settings to create a PDF that can be stored on student’s electronic portfolios.
14. This product can then be used to use as an outline as students write their narratives.