The day after Halloween is always a difficult day to navigate. Students are usually sleepy and crabby, some are withdrawn. I want to make sure they are engaged in their work. Since we're coming to the end of a unit, I let them spend another day working on their spooky stories. These stories often turn out very well because they allow the kids to practice all of the techniques they've been learning, having to do with their memoirs. Now, they can use these techniques to enhance their spooky stories. Scary stories are also a great place to talk about building suspense, an important narrative technique.
I show a few samples of stories that I felt had fabulous leads and great dialogue. Also, they successfully build suspense and force the reader to ask questions. As a class, we talk about what makes these narratives successful. Then we talk about further suggestions for the writer.
Whenever possible, I begin my lessons with silent, independent reading. During this time, I actively monitor their reading progress by checking their out-of-class reading logs and engaging in reading conferences that cover a variety of topics.
To find ways to enact this section, please see my strategy folder.
I hand out the Final Editing Checklist and make sure students all have copies of the narrative rubric supplied by the district. As a class, I go over the checklist to make sure students don't have any lingering questions. I clear up any points of confusion and then students are given time to complete their work, carefully referencing the checklist as they work.
This puts an emphasis on the importance of the publication stage. I talk about writing as a process; the end goal is walking away with something that is as perfect as possible. The end product is a large piece of their writing grade. Today is the final day they get to focus on their final product.
This should be a quiet and focused time. If anyone finishes early, they may always silently read their independent text. This is why I love our curriculum. When students finish work at different times there is always an alternate activity available (silent reading).
I give the rubric out at the beginning of the unit, but I purposefully wait to give out the checklist until the very last day; the day the memoirs are due. It is a final, focused time for kids to make sure they have included everything they need in their draft. I am giving all of this information as we go through the unit, but on the final day, they can check over each item. This method helps to ensure a thorough final product.
When students turn in their final drafts, it is important that they include all previous drafts with their work. Some of these I have kept but other students have with them. I have a specific order, which I ask them to paperclip they're papers. This is important because I'll also be giving students a process grade that goes along with their final product. I'll need to examine earlier drafts and all revisions that go along with these drafts, which contributed to the final