Draft and Edit a 'Star' Narrative - (Lesson 2 of 3)

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SWBAT draft a narrative to recount a short sequence of events about a person's life, using temporal words and creating a concluding paragraph.

Big Idea

Write the rough draft and using editing 'stars' to make it look great!



I chose this text and topic because M.L. King Jr. is an important historical figure in American history. You could use any historical figure for this lesson, as long as you have an informational text that has details for the students. My class had done a previous lesson about this character, so they brought a lot of ideas to the lesson. Here's the lesson - M. L. King, Jr., His Story was in the Past - that I taught prior to this to add to the students' knowledge about Martin Luther King, Jr.

In Part 1 of this lesson, Organize Your Narrative, students used an organizer to write a sequence of main ideas and details about Martin Luther King, Jr.  This is part 2 of the 3 part lesson about writing narratives. Second graders need time to work through these writing steps of the writing process (brainstorm, organize, rough draft, edit, final draft). The district expectation for my students is to create a 5 paragraph essay, aligning with the Common Core Standards of composing a variety of types of essays, including narratives that recount a sequence of events. (W.2.3). In this lesson, students will create a rough draft and add temporal words to signal event order, as well as a conclusion. Guiding students through each step and giving them practice will ultimately help them be independent writers.

To give you more background about how to help students write a 5 paragraph essay, I encourage you to look at an earlier unit  - Writing with Main Idea and Details - that I taught about writing expository essays.

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)


Common starting point

  • "Yesterday we created a great organizer with main ideas about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life. You added some great details to each main idea."
  • "We are writing a narrative biography, which is a story about his life." 


My goal in this short introduction is to refocus the students' attention on the task and bring all to the same place that we left yesterday.

Write the Draft

20 minutes

Give the purpose and background of the lesson

  • "Let's review the introduction that we wrote yesterday. We used the topic, Martin Luther King, Jr. - and put it in a sentence with a word from the 'topic sentence starter' chart. We added one more sentence to make it a paragraph."
  • "Your job today is to write 3 paragraphs - one for each main idea - and a conclusion."
  • "Once you're done, choose a transition word that will help you move from one paragraph to the next. Take a look at our 'transition words' poster and choose a word that makes sense in front of each paragraph."
  • "Finally we'll edit our work with editing stars'."
  • Here's the overview that I gave students.



  • "Let's start our first paragraph by writing about your first main idea and details. I'll indent the first sentence. Let's work together to compose a draft of the first paragraph."  Here's the introduction and first paragraph that we wrote.
  • "Now that we've written the paragraph, I'll choose a transition word that makes sense and add it to the beginning with this yellow marker - you can use yellow post-it notes." This is how I tasked students to use the transition words.
  • MAKE SOME MISTAKES (spelling, repeating words, capitalization, missed words, noun/verb tense) in this draft so you can demonstrate editing later.
  • I did clarify the use of paragraphs for students who tended to forget to indent.


Work with students

  • "Go ahead and write your paragraphs and raise your hand if you need help."  Here's how I individually helped a student.
  • Walk around and help as necessary and remind students to use past tense verbs.
  • Prompt as necessary to help them write the conclusion - use a word from the 'topic sentence starter' chart and use the topic. Their conclusion will need to be 2-3 sentences.
  • This is a completed page with transition words.

Edit the Draft

20 minutes

Explain and Demonstrate

  • "Now that your rough draft is done, we need to edit your work."
  • "I'm putting my 7 stars on the board to check over my essay. I'll edit my introduction and first paragraph to show you what to do."
    • "I check the capitalization - names, first words of a sentence, places...Once it's right, I can draw a orange star on my paper."  This is my discussion about editing capitalization.
    • "I check the spelling. If I spelled all the words right, I can draw a red star on my paper."  I did put some spelling prompts on the board of difficult words. Here's how I explained how to check spelling words.
    • "I check the handwriting. If all the letters look good, I can draw a green star on my paper."
    • "I check the punctuation - periods at the end of sentences, commas...., If it looks good, I can draw a pink star on my paper."
    • "I check for words that I repeat (He is, he is...). Once I check and fix any, I can draw a  yellow star on my paper." Here's my explanation of editing words and sentences.
    • "I check the grammar - do I have a noun and verb in each sentence? Once it's right, I can draw a blue star on my paper."
    • "I reread all three paragraphs with a friend."  I reviewed the rules of peer editing.  Once they sound good, I can draw a purple star on my paper."  This is the  explanation of peer editing.


My goal is this activity is for students to begin to become responsible for editing their work. They do have a basic understanding of these 'star' concepts, so they can be held accountable to fix some minor mistakes. I am not focusing on new grammar rules (quotation marks or complex grammatical phrases). My focus is, instead for students to use what they know to go back and correct their own work. The Common Core standards encourage students to be able to focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing. (W.2.5)


Students take a turn

  • As students work, walk around and help. Encourage their efforts and make sure their editing is correct.
  • Here's one student's rough draft.


As students participate in these collaborative conversations (SL.2.6), they are ultimately talking about their own writing and looking over others' writing. They are following the rules for discussion, taking turns, and building on what others say. This is the kind of learning the the Common Core Standards is striving for. (SL.2.1) The ultimate goal is for students to, when appropriate, learn from each other. Did someone forget to capitalize the noun? That's a good sentence because the noun and verb agree? Wow, my neighbor says it's hard to write too.  This kind of learning and writing toward a goal is a true team effort led by individual students working and learning how to be great writers.