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									               Focus Lesson Planning Sheet
Focus Lesson Using An Inverted Triangle To Find A
Topic        Specific Writing Topic
                           Adapted from Dorfman and Cappelli, 2007
                           Inverted triangle organizer (copy for each student)
Materials                  Story ideas from teacher’s life (broad to narrow focus)
                           Chart paper

                           We have spoken about how good personal narratives tell about one
Connection                 small moment and the author zooms in and focuses on that small
                           moment when he/she tells the story. Today we are going to see a
                           way of helping us do just that.

Explicit                   I know from talking to you that you all have really great things to
                           tell about. However, sometimes we are still thinking of big
Instruction                watermelon topics and we’re having trouble figuring out how to zoom
                           in on one seed idea within that big watermelon. One strategy that
An alternate plan
would be to use a          writers use to help them focus is to create an organizer that
piece children’s           narrows and focuses their thinking to one small moment. It looks
literature with which      like this. Draw the inverted triangle organizer. It’s like starting
the students are
                           with a big block or wood or marble and gradually whittling it down
already familiar and
create the inverted        until what’s left is the work that only you can see and make. The
triangle that the author   triangle shape reminds you to whittle down smaller and smaller,
may have utilized to       narrowing your focus more and more.
narrow the focus.
                           Watch me use this tool.
                           Relate idea from your own life that starts as a big topic (for
                           example, my trip to DisneyWorld). Then with each successive level
                           of the triangle as you progress toward the more focused point at
                           the bottom, narrow the focus of your big topic (for example, the
                           rides at Disney, the roller coasters, Space Mountain, and finally,
                           the time the kid in the car behind threw up on Space Mountain).
                           Point out that the bottom level is not really stated as part of the
                           list but more as “the time….” This shows that the writer has
                           arrived at a small moment seed idea. Also explain how different
                           triangles may or may not need more or less levels in order to zoom
                           in to the final focused small moment.
                           This final part of my triangle is a small moment story that only I
                           could tell because it is a story which I was in and a part of. Lots of
                           people could describe Disneyworld (or other big watermelon you are
                           using in your demonstration), but only I have zoomed in on this one
                           small moment.
                .Let’s try creating one together. Let’s start with a big topic you all
                know about. Choose something like “recess.” Guide children’s
Practice        responses in such a way that a narrowing will occur. So now what do
                we want to zoom in on about that (so for recess, maybe “the
                playground equipment”). So now what about the playground
                equipment? Again, elicit a response that will demonstrate focusing
                the topic (going across the monkey bars). Can we zoom in even
                more? Try and bring to an eventual “point” or small moment with
                someone’s response (for example, the time I fell off the monkey
                bars and got a bloody nose). Demonstrate that this is the small
                moment from which to build a personal narrative story.

Send Off [for   Today take a look at your heart map or other ways you have been
                coming up with ideas. Think about if these ideas are more like
Independent     watermelons. If they are, use the triangle organizer tool to try to
Practice]       focus your big idea and whittle it narrower and narrower until you
                find a small moment seed idea within that big watermelon topic.

                Share triangle organizers students have used to narrow focus.
Group Share

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