Narrative Writing Workshop: Creating Dickensian Pastiche (Day 2 of 3)

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SWBAT write narratives using effective writing techniques by mimicking Dickens' style to create additional chapters or scenes for A Tale of Two Cities

Big Idea

Dickens was the master of plot manipulation. Today's workshop will focus on brainstorming our own Dickensian sequence of events.


10 minutes

We will start class with ten minutes of reading time. I will read with the students during this time.

Review of Dickensian Grammar and Pastiche Assignment Overview

20 minutes

I will go over the major requirements of the pastiche assignment today. As with any large point assessment, I will read through the assignment sheet with students so that they have heard and seen all that they are required to do to be successful. I will also use this time to field any questions they might have.

The main purpose of this assignment is so that students will have the opportunity to write narratives using effective techniques (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3), but I am also using it as an assessment of their ability to read and analyze Dickens' style for its essential parts, such as his use of motif, parallel structure, characterization, etc. 

Once we are finished going over the assignment and before setting them free to write, I will also spend a little time reviewing a few key aspects of Dickens' style and usage based on some common mistakes I saw in their sentences from yesterday. As one of my goals is to help them improve their writing on the whole, I want to make sure that we are all working towards the appropriate conventions (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1 and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1b). Additionally, I believe that if they can write sentences well, their writing will improve exponentially. Thus my lesson from yesterday and thus this brief review today before we move to the actual writing of their pieces tomorrow. 

To do this, I will ask the students to pull out their novels and review a short piece of text together to answer what Dickens is doing with tense and narrator perspective. I will also remind them about the importance of being historically accurate in their stories and remind them to avoid anachronism. 

Story Map Drafting Worktime

20 minutes

For the remainder of the period, I will ask the students to create story maps for their pastiche. There are so many ways to start the creative writing process, but because a big part of what I want them to be able to do is to set out characters, conflict and a progression of events (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3a), I think planning with all parts of their narrative in mind so that they can sequence events into a unified whole (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3c) will be most helpful.

I will suggest that they brainstorm and work collaboratively during this stage of writing. I will also circulate the room to answer questions or offer feedback/pointers if they need help.

Wrap Up and Next Steps

5 minutes

In the last five minutes of my part of the block, I will collect the students' story maps just to check and see how much progress they made during their work time. I will do this quickly while my teaching partner is giving a quiz so that I can hand them back before the end of the class period so they have this tool to work with as they begin to draft.