First Draft Memoir

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SWBAT complete a first draft of their memoir/personal narrative.

Big Idea

Students will maximize laptop time to complete a first draft of their personal narrative.

Type Time

80 minutes

Students should have all materials that they need to write their memoir/narratives: outlines, memoir notes, reminders on what to include style wise. At the start of typing time, I usually show them my model as an example, then I have them begin. I don't give a lot of instructions; usually I just say tell your story to the best of your ability using details and description. These first drafts will serve as a spring board for many mini-lessons that will follow. It is important that students have a solid start to their piece, so they can improve, embellish, and revise down the road. They have the outline directions and their composition notebooks as guides. They are free to use their outlines or anything they've started as a seed idea in their notebooks.

By this time in the unit, students are so ready to begin typing. They've been studying and reading memoirs. Now it is finally time to write their own.

In my school, we have to schedule laptop time. The way it worked out was I could only have the cart for one day this week, so students really had one day to start and complete their first draft. I was worried about this scheduling snafu originally, however, this solid block of typing time proved effective. The kids were anxious to begin and ready to type.

As students typed their narratives, I would look around to see who seemed to have good momentum and who seemed to need a little push. If I saw kids who seemed to be slowing down, I take that opportunity to start a conversation about their writing. I've attached one video conference between myself and one of these students.

At the end of the block, I have kids print their drafts. Here are a few sample first drafts:

Student sample 1, Student Sample 2, Student Sample 3.

If anyone finished early, they are asked to proof-read their story, and then are free to silently read for the remainder of the block.

Narrative writing is important because it allows students to be creative. It gives them an outlet to model all of the techniques they've noticed professional author's using in the memoirs they've been reading.