Crafting Powerful Life Stories
Writing Workshop Session 1
Connection: Think of a past teacher who has tried to teach you about crafting powerful true stories from the small moments of your life.
6th grade expectations of daily writing: I'm going to expect that each of you, as a writer, can fill a page and a half of your notebook every day with a compelling true story.
Today I want to teach you - to remind you really - that as a writer, you can get help not only from each other and from me, but also from texts others have written. To learn from finished texts, you need to study them, imagining the strategies the writer probably used so you can then try those same strategies on your own writing.
My Wedding Cake
Have you ever asked the question "Wow! How did somebody make that?!"
We are going to start our year by studying a personal narrative that another 6th grader has made.
(pass out a copy of Ai's Narrative)
I shivered a little bit.
"It's pretty cold!" I said as I dipped my toes in the water. I took a pebble and threw it far into the creek.
"Well, whatever!" I said as I plunged in to the cold water. It felt amazing! The cold water covered my eyes like gentle blankets and the water washed over me like a breeze. Swimming is my favorite!
"Wait up!" yelled Emma as she ran down the hill with her floaty wrapped around her waist. Her curly brown hair whipped around in the breeze. I shivered, I was cold already! A moment after that, India's mom waded in, laughing.
"Ha! It's cold! she said. Then she stopped. "Girls, out! Out of the water!" she pushed us back to shore. I looked back and saw a long, thin water snake, slithering towards us. I gasped. I quickly swam underwater in big, wide strokes.
Ask yourself: "What got to me in this piece?" "What part worked for me?" "How did the author do that?"
*Create Chart: How to Write Powerful Personal Narratives (page 7)
*MARK UP a piece of writing
*Circle things that are "WOW!" and "AWESOME"
*Underline words you don't know/Things that confuse you
*Write your thoughts, feeling, connections, etc.
Rules for Keeping a Writer's Notebook:
1. All pages STAY in the notebook
2. Date EACH entry
3. Leave the back of each entry blank
4. Length - 1.5 pages (or more if you would like)
5. Use Quick Lists
6. One entry can have more than one story idea within it
After looking at another 6th grader's writing today, where do you feel you are as writers right now? Where would you like to go?
Talk about Writing Goals
1. Write two goals for yourselves as writers. Think about what you already do well, and what you could learn to do even better.
2. Finish Annotating Ai's story if you need and write your 1st entry using both Ai's writing and the two points we added to our chart How to Write a Powerful Narrative