Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11

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					                               Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11
     Ohio Standards               Lesson Summary:
      Connection                  Students brainstorm personal experiences and create journal
Writing Process                   entries that reflect these experiences. They select and develop one
                                  of these journals into a personal narrative. They revise and edit
Benchmark A                       their narratives through peer response writing and editing groups.
Formulate writing ideas,
and identify a topic
appropriate to the purpose
                                  Estimated Duration: Three hours of successive class time
and audience.                     (additional time for journaling prior to undertaking assignment to
                                  be polished)
Indicator 1
Generate writing ideas
through discussions with
others and from printed           Commentary:
material, and keep a list of      Teacher-reviewers credited this lesson for its clarity, effective pre-
writing ideas.                    assessment, repeated journaling and group work. Teachers noted
                                  particularly the value of the “opportunities to reflect on life
Indicator 3
                                  experiences” and “required embedded reflection.”
Establish and develop a
clear thesis statement for        One teacher noted the value of hearing multiple corrections.
informational writing or a        Another remarked, “Students not only have to write their own
clear plan or outline for         pieces but they also have to engage with a peer....”
narrative writing.

Indicator 4                       Pre-Assessment:
Determine a purpose and           • Distribute Draft: A Terrible Accident, Attachment A.
audience and plan                 • Ask students to revise each sentence, correcting sentences form,
strategies (e.g., adapting
formality of style,                  usage and grammar.
including explanations or         • When all students complete the exercise, pair students to share
definitions as appropriate           their corrections and agree upon one revision between them per
to audience needs) to                sentence.
address purpose and
audience.                         • In whole class discussion, encourage pairs to share their
Benchmark C                       • Using overhead transparency or discussion, review the revision
Use a variety of strategies          possibilities for each sentence.
to revise content,
organization and style, and
to improve word choice,           Scoring Guidelines:
sentence variety, clarity         Collect the students’ individual corrections. Because each student’s
and consistency of writing.       sentence corrections may be different, use the revised sentences as
                                  an initial guide for grouping students with varying language
Indicator 6
Organize writing to create        abilities in heterogeneous revision and editing groups.
a coherent whole with an
effective and engaging            Post-Assessment:
introduction, body and            Each student drafts, revises and edits a personal experience
conclusion and a closing
                                  narrative. A peer reviews the final draft of the narrative, using the
sentence that summarizes,
extends or elaborates on          Personal Narrative Rubric, Attachment B, prior to its submission.
points or ideas in the
writing.                          Each writer completes a Personal Narrative Writing Reflection,
                                  Attachment C. Collect the final draft of the personal narrative, the
                                  peer’s rubric evaluation and the reflection.
                                Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11
Indicator 7                        Scoring Guidelines:
Use a variety of sentence          Paired students respond to each other’s personal narrative, using the
structures and lengths (e.g.,
simple, compound and
                                   Personal Narrative Rubric. Collect the completed rubric, the final
complex sentences; parallel        draft of the narrative and the writer’s reflection. Using the same
or repetitive sentence             rubric, evaluate each writer’s personal narrative and re-teach
structure).                        individual indicators as necessary.
Indicator 8
Use paragraph form in
                                   Instructional Procedures:
writing, including topic           Day One
sentences that arrange             1. Brainstorm topics with students that could become enriched
paragraphs in a logical               personal narratives.
sequence, using effective          2. For five to six days provide students with ten minutes per day
transitions and closing
sentences and maintaining
                                      for journaling about one of their selected topics. With each
coherence across the whole            journal, students create an overview of one story developed
through the use of parallel           from the brainstormed list.
structures.                        3. After five or six journal entries have been drafted, ask the
                                      students to reread each journal story and select one to develop
Indicator 9
Use precise language,
                                      into a polished personal narrative.
action verbs, sensory              4. Before students begin enriching their narrative idea, select a
details, colorful modifiers           short first-person narrative—from class anthology or from
and style as appropriate to           outside sources—to read in class and discuss its narrative
audience and purpose, and             element and development. These elements include the narrative
use techniques to convey a
personal style and voice.
                                      lead and events, dialogue, effective rhetorical devices,
                                      embedded reflective elements, flashback, etc.
Indicator 12                       5. Provide students with in-class opportunities to develop their
Add and delete examples               personal narratives.
and details to better              6. Teach elements of style, precise language and sensory details
elaborate on a stated
central idea, to develop
                                      and targeted audiences, using a writer’s handbook or a writing
more precise analysis or              textbook, which provides examples for students to revise and
persuasive argument or to             discuss.
enhance plot, setting and          7. Ask students to re-examine elements of their own narrative to
character in narrative texts.         reflect precise language, sensory details and sentence
Indicator 13
                                      development that reflects an understanding of their own
Rearrange words,                      narrative style.
sentences and paragraphs,
and add transitional words         Instructional Tips:
and phrases to clarify             • One method of brainstorming personal narrative topics involves
meaning and achieve
specific aesthetic and                modeling the process by telling three or four personal stories.
rhetorical purposes.                  No story should be more than a summary of the experience and
                                      last more than two or three minutes. After retelling the story,
                                      ask students to recall whether they too have had similar
                                      experiences. Use stories that are both poignant and funny, etc.
                                      Stories about car accidents, job-related issues, pets, athletics,
                                      embarrassing moments, fears, etc. can provide the basis of a
                                      personal narrative.

                               Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11
Writing Applications              •   Once the students understand the concept of a personal incident
                                      short summary, have them keep a list of possible topics. The
Benchmark A
Compose reflective                    list of topics should be composed of phrases to jog the memory
writings that balance                 (e.g., “my car accident,” “the death of my dog” or “the
reflections by using                  championship soccer match”).
specific personal                 •   Remind students that this particular narrative includes peer
experiences to draw
                                      evaluation. Caution them against choosing this assignment for
conclusions about life.
                                      their most personal and/or secret moments.
Indicator 1                       •   Although students draft for ten minutes each day, the remainder
Write reflective                      of the class period may also provide opportunities for mini-
compositions that:                    lessons on those editing skills found lacking in the pre-
a. use personal experiences
   as a basis for reflection
                                      assessment. Depending upon the length of each class period,
   on some aspect of life;            teach other concepts, skills and/or literature along with the
b. draw abstract                      development of the personal narrative.
   comparisons between
   specific incidents and         Part Two
   abstract concepts;
c. maintain a balance
                                  8. Prepare the students to respond to their peers’ writing by
   between describing                 randomly selecting students for the groups. Use the pre-
   incidents and relating             assessment as a guide to assure heterogeneity. Each group
   them to more general               should be composed of four or five members.
   abstract ideas that            9. Provide groups with a non-threatening collaborative writing
   illustrate personal
   beliefs; and
                                      activity to initiate their revision work. Use a Bio-Poem Outline,
d. move from specific                 Attachment E, and require students to describe a cartoon
   examples to                        character or an action hero; OR use a cartoon layout where
   generalizations about              students provide the character’s words in the strip’s balloons.
   life.                          10. Have each group orally share its creation.
Writing Conventions
                                  11. Ask each student to write a reflection of their group writing
Benchmark A                       12. Address the class with general comments about their reflections
Use correct spelling                  (after having read them) to help the groups refine their
conventions.                          collaborative efforts.
Indicator 1
                                  13. Provide the members of each group with a Personal Narrative
Use correct spelling                  Response Guide, Attachment D. Each student completes a
conventions.                          revision response guide for every other member of the group.
Benchmark B                       Part Three
Use correct punctuation
and capitalization.
                                  14. After students revise their personal narratives, place students in
                                      final editing pairs or triads. Again, use the pre-assessment as a
Indicator 2                           guide to ensure diverse skill levels make up each group.
Use correct punctuation           15. Ask each student to proofread the peer’s personal narrative
and capitalization.                   using the Personal Narrative Rubric, Attachment B.
                                  16. Ask each student to complete the Personal Narrative Writing
                                      Reflection, Attachment C, after collecting the personal
                                      narratives and peer rubrics.

                             Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11
Benchmark C                     Differentiated Instructional Support:
Demonstrate understanding       Instruction is differentiated according to learner needs, to help all
of the grammatical
conventions of the English
                                learners either meet the intent of the specified indicator(s) or, if the
language.                       indicator is already met, to advance beyond the specified
Indicator 3                     • Students listen to each others’ personal narrative topics to
Use correct grammar (e.g.,          gather their own topics.
verb tenses, parallel
structure, indefinite and       • Grouped students assist each other during the drafting, revising
relative pronouns).                 and editing stages of the writing process.
                                • Students write about a topic specific to their own experiences
                                    and from their own viewpoint.
                                • Provide a scribe for students requiring one and/or make other
                                    accommodations as needed.
                                • Consider working as a peer with one or more students.

                                • Students can orally present their personal narratives to the
                                   whole class.
                                • Students’ narratives can be compiled into an “Our Stories”
                                   booklet, complete with an introduction about their classroom
                                   writing experiences.
                                • Students apply personal narrative writing skills to the
                                   development of a third-person narrative.

                                Home Connections:
                                • Students talk with family members to more vividly recall
                                  narrative incident.
                                • Family members who recall the narrative incident can be
                                  encouraged to create their own narrative of the incident,
                                  providing another view point for the story.

                                Interdisciplinary Connections:
                                Foreign Language
                                • Communication: Communicating in languages other than
                                    Benchmark: I. Create presentations on a range of original
                                    authentic expressive products.
                                    Indicator: 11. Create texts (e.g., short stories, poems, skits)
                                    based on themes/perspectives (e.g., family, dating, careers,
                                    music) from the target culture.

                           Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11
Materials and Resources:
The inclusion of a specific resource in any lesson formulated by the Ohio Department of
Education should not be interpreted as an endorsement of that particular resource, or any of its
contents, by the Ohio Department of Education. The Ohio Department of Education does not
endorse any particular resource. The Web addresses listed are for a given site’s main page,
therefore, it may be necessary to search within that site to find the specific information required
for a given lesson. Please note that information published on the Internet changes over time,
therefore the links provided may no longer contain the specific information related to a given
lesson. Teachers are advised to preview all sites before using them with students.

For the teacher:       all attachments, personal stories, overhead projector and transparencies

For the student:       writing paper and utensils and personal stories

• Dialogue
• Embedded reflection
• Flashback
• Narrative lead and events
• Rhetorical devices
• Sensory images

Technology Connections:
• Students develop their personal narratives using word processing program.
• Students use email or chat rooms monitored by teacher to discuss and revise their stories.

Research Connections:
Arter, Judith and Jay McTighe. Scoring Rubrics in the Classroom: Using Performance Criteria
for Assessing and Improving Student Performance. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2001.

A holistic rubric gives a single score or rating for any entire product or performance based on an
       overall impression of a student’s work.
An analytical trait rubric divides a product or performance into essential traits or dimensions so
       they can be judged separately—one analyzes a product or performance for essential traits.
       A separate score is provided for each trait.
   Holistic rubrics work best for:
   • Judging simple products or performances
   • Getting a quick snapshot of the overall quality or achievement
   • Judging the impact of a product or performance
   Holistic rubrics, however, do not provide detailed analysis which helps plan instruction.
   Analytical rubrics address some of the limitations of the holistic rubric. These manage to
   • Judge complex performances involving several significant dimensions
   • Break performances into traits in order to more readily grasp the components of quality
   • Provide more specific feedback to students, parents and teachers.

                          Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11
A general rubric can be used across similar performances. The same rubric can be used for all
open-ended mathematics problems or all writing assignments.
Task-specific rubrics can only be used for a single task.

Arter & McTighe include a metarubric or “A Rubric for Rubrics” summarizing the qualities of
good, average and unacceptable rubrics. The qualities of the good rubrics are included here.

   • Content is based on the best thinking in the field.
   • If counts of anything are included, the counts really do reflect quality.
   • Definitions of terms are correct and reflect current thinking in the field.
   • Number of points on the rating scale makes sense.
   • Content is selective yet complete.
   • The rubric is insightful; it helps students understand the nature of quality.
   • Rubric’s clarity assures different teachers would similarly rate the same product or
   • A single teacher can use the rubric to provide consistent ratings over time.
   • Words are specific and accurate.
   • Terms are defined and samples provided, if necessary.
   • Rubric provides “just enough” descriptive detail.
   • Basis for assigning ratings is clear.
   • The rubric is manageable, including only enough traits to be easily remembered and
   • Results translate clearly into instruction.
   • When the skill is complex, the rubric is analytical rather than holistic.
   • The rubric is usually general, rather than task-specific. The rubric is broadly applicable
        to the content of interest.
   • Task-specific rubrics are used only where justifiable (the task is sufficiently complex or
        the nature of the skill being assessed is complex).
   • The rubric can be used by the students to revise their own work, plan their own learning
        and track their own progress.
Technical Quality
   • The rubric language is appropriate for the diversity of students found in typical
   • Wording is supportive of students—it describes status of a performance rather than
        judgments of student worth.

Atwell, Nancie. In the Middle: Writing, Reading and Learning with Adolescents. Portsmouth,
NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers, 1987.
Group Share Sessions

                            Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11
        Group share meetings end each writing workshop and feature all the elements of
        individual conferences with one key difference. Here all writers respond to an individual
        writer’s work. It’s not show-and-tell but purposeful dialogue.
Editing Conferences
Sample skills taught in editing conferences:
     • Edit using a different pen or pencil.
     • Put the date and draft number on every piece.
     • Use ¶ to indicate new paragraphs.
     • Watch for too-short, choppy paragraphs. Combine these.
     • Circle words that need spell-checked.
     • Read pieces softly to yourself and put periods where your voice drops and stops.
     • Proofread slowly to yourself.
     • Watch for saying the same thing more than once.
Mini-lessons are 15- to 30-minute direct-instruction lessons designed to help students learn
literacy skills and become more strategic readers and writers. In these lessons, students and the
teacher are focused on a single goal; students are aware of why it is important to learn the skill or
strategy through modeling, explanation and practice. Then independent application takes place
using authentic literacy materials.
Many researchers recommend using a whole-part-whole organization for teacher skills and
strategies. Students read and respond to a text – that is the whole; then teachers focus on a skill
or strategy and teach a mini-lesson using examples from the text whenever possible – this is the
part. Finally, students return to the text or another text to apply what they have learned by doing
more reading or writing or doing a project – this is the whole again. The skills approach to
reading is described as part to whole, and the holistic approach is described as whole to part.
This approach considers both. Instead of isolated drill and practice activities that are often
meaningless to students, this approach encourages teachers to clearly connect what students are
learning in mini-lessons to authentic literacy activities.

Calkins, L. M. “When children want to punctuate: Basic skills belong in context.” Language
Arts, 57, (1980): 567-73.
    • Decades of research demonstrate that teaching grammar as a school subject does not
        improve most students' writing, nor even the "correctness" of their writing. What works
        better is teaching selected aspects of grammar (including sentence variety and style,
        punctuation, and usage) in the context of students' writing-that is, when they are revising
        and editing their writing
    • For improving editing skills, it is most effective and efficient to teach only the
        grammatical concepts that are critically needed for editing writing, and to teach these
        concepts and their terms mostly through minilessons and writing conferences,
        particularly while helping students edit their writing.

Palinscar, Annemarie S. & Kathryn Ransom “From the Mystery Spot to the Thoughtful Spot:
The Instruction of Metacognitive Strategies.” The Reading Teacher, 41 (1988) 784-789.

Metacognitive knowledge is strategic knowledge used during reading. It consists of all of the
strategies used to actively construct the meaning of a passage. It is very useful for

                          Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11
comprehension; good readers stop to look at a figure, sound out an unfamiliar word, reread a
troublesome sentence, think about what they have read, underline important information, and
read chapter summaries first. Metacognition then is students’ conscious awareness of their
thinking. Readers and writers use metacognitive strategies to monitor and evaluate their

Zemelman, Steven, Harvey Daniels and Arthur Hyde. Best Practice: New Standards of Teaching
and Learning in America's Schools. Portsmouth,

  • All children can and should write.
  • Help students find real purposes for writing
  • Encourage students to take ownership and responsibility
  • Organize “writing workshops” where students journal in a cooperative, workshop setting
  • Realize effective writing programs involve the entire writing process
  • Give students real audiences and a classroom context of shared learning
  • Extend writing throughout the curriculum
  • Teach grammar and mechanics in context, at the editing stage of students’ writing

Attachment A, Draft: A Terrible Accident
Attachment B, Personal Narrative Rubric
Attachment C, Personal Narrative Writing Reflection
Attachment D, Personal Narrative Response Guide
Attachment E, Bio-Poem Outline

                           Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11
                                      Attachment A
                                Draft: A Terrible Accident
Directions: Read each of the following sentences. Revise the language and/or usage in each.

1. The story I am going to write about was about the time I broke my leg.
2. While I was riding my bike when I was twelve.
3. It has been a sunny day and I and my friends went to the park on our bikes.
4. I had almost gotten to the park when I decided to show off my bike’s riding ability.
5. My friends Dominic and Bart were right behind me.
6. Waiting for me to lead the way up the curbing.
7. I can feel they’re eyes on my back and I pedaled faster to get some speed up.
8. Just when I reached the curb I pulled a “wheelie,” at which the front wheel of my bike reared
   up about two feet off the concrete.
9. And then it happened.
10. Instead of whirling on my back bike wheel, I flipped over the handlebars of the bike.
11. I fell on my back and rolled over on my arm.
12. My arm broke in two places.
13. I screamed my bikes’ broken.
14. My friends and I started to laugh even though I was in a greatly lot of pain.
15. I didn’t do any more wheelies for a long time on my bike.

                            Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11
                                          Attachment B
                                    Personal Narrative Rubric

Directions: Place a check beside each accurate statement.
                                                                      Student   Teacher

1. The narrative’s lead effectively begins the story.                 ____      ____

2. The narrator is consistent throughout the story.                   ____      ____

3. The narrative’s body develops the incident fully.                  ____      ____

4. The narrative’s incident develops logically or chronologically.    ____      ____

5. The narrative’s setting is clear and precise.                      ____      ____

6. The story contains no extraneous story elements.                   ____      ____

7. The narrative’s conclusion is appropriate or surprising.           ____      ____

8. The narrator has embedded self-reflection into the story.          ____      ____

9. The narrative is free of word choice and spelling errors.          ____      ____

10. The narrative is free of punctuation and capitalization errors.   ____      ____

11. The narrative contains sentences that are varied in length and
    complexity.                                                       ____      ____

12. The narrative contains effective sensory details and
    action verbs.                                                     ____      ____

13. The narrative is paragraphed appropriately.                       ____      ____

14. The narrative employs elements of “show, don’t tell” writing. ____          ____

15. The narrator employs direct quotes.                               ____      ____

Teacher comments:

                          Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11
                                      Attachment C
                           Personal Narrative Writing Reflection

Directions: Respond to each of the following questions, as you reflect upon your personal
narrative writing process.

   1. What do you consider the most successful element of your narrative?
      What makes it so?

   2. What part of the narrative might you further revise, expand upon or cut if provided the
      opportunity? Why would you make this further change?

   3. From whom did you receive revision assistance? How did that group or individual help
      you “see” the story’s development more precisely or differently?

   4. What aspect of the narrative writing was most difficult for you? How did you overcome
      that difficulty?

   5. How will your writing process on this personal narrative impact upon the next essay you

                          Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11
                                    Attachment D
                          Personal Narrative Response Guide

Directions: Respond in writing to the following questions as they apply to the piece of writing
being read. [Remember: Show the author that you listened well! Try to remember (or jot down)
something that struck you as memorable in the narrative.]

   1. How does the narrative’s lead get the reader into the story?

       What is successful about this lead?

       How can the lead be improved?

   2. Is dialogue (direct quotes) used in the story to move the plot along or to develop
      characterization? Is it effective? Can some exposition be re-written as dialogue to
      improve the movement of the story? Make suggestions.

   3. Is reflection developed in the narrative? What does the writer say was the impact of this
      incident on his/her life?

   4. Name one scene in the story you would like to see expanded. What might the writer add
      to the scene to develop it further?

   5. Does the narrative ramble anywhere? Does the story get off focus anywhere?
      If so, make some suggestions to tighten the storyline so that it flows better.

   6. Give the writer some examples of effective “show, don’t tell” writing; or, make
      suggestions to correct the “tell” language into “show” language.

                      Polishing Narrative Writing – Grade 11
                                 Attachment E
                               Bio-Poem Outline

                                  First name…

               Four Traits that describe your character (adjectives)

                  Relative of… (brother; sister; friend; etc…)

                     Lover of…       (three things or people)

                         Who feels…         (three items)

                           Who fears…     (three items)

                           Who gives… (three items)

                     Who would like to see… (three items)

                     Resident of _____________________

                                   Last Name

                               Friend to Big Bird
                   Lover of anything dirty or dingy or dusty
                     Who feels grouchy, cranky, contrary
   Who fears leaving his trash can, a clean-up on Sesame Street, being alone
            Who gives up nothing that’s rotten or ragged or rusty
               Who would like to see scenic landfills of America
                           Resident of Sesame Street
                                  The Grouch