Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time. This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.
I highlight the skill of using personal monologue and dialogue specifically as students use these in their narratives so I want to make sure they understand how to use it effectively. It also aligns with the Common Core's focus of dialogue in narrative writing. Students need to be aware of not just how to write dialogue but also the most effective ways to incorporate dialogue and monologue in a narrative to create a stronger piece. Some narratives include too much dialogue and others narrative take place too much in the writer's mind. This lesson helps students to get out of that.
Today will be the last day students learn a new revision strategy that will benefit them as they revise their narratives. Students have a tendency to either write too much dialogue and personal monologue or not enough. We review the handout titled "Revision Toolbox." These are the last major steps in revising before we get into editing. By this point, students have revised their narratives a few different times so they should have multiple drafts.
The handout includes specific examples from two different narratives that highlights personal monologue and dialogue. I think it is important to give students clear models of effective writing. We read the handout as a class and discuss the benefits of using effective monologue and how these examples work effectively.
When reviewing the handout, I make sure I spend time discussing voice. Since voice can be a challenge for students to master, I want to make sure I mention it as much as I can. This lesson helps students to work on incorporating voice in their narratives in a specific way by focusing on monologue.
The Monologue Dialogue Revision Explanation video discusses the importance of discussing monologue and dialogue and how to use the handout.
Students need the time to practice these revision strategies with guidance. Not every student has personal monologue in their narrative and not every student has dialogue so this is a lesson that is benefited by differentiating instruction. I give students time to work on either of what they have. Since they have already been drafting for some time, they should be aware of the dialogue and monologue they have in their narratives.
As students are working on revising, I conference with each student to see where they are at. Some students who use dialogue need to revise the dialogue they include. I discuss with them individually the dialogue they are using and whether or not is effective and authentic. Other students create narratives that takes place entirely in their head. They include too much personal monologue and not enough narrative. We look for the moments where we can tell the story more rather than focusing too much on the feelings and thoughts of the writer.
During this process we refer back to the Revision Toolbox, so students know ways to look at their monologue and dialogue in their narratives.