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

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SWBAT demonstrate a command of the grammar, usage and conventions in standard English language by reviewing and drafting written narratives in the style of Charles Dickens.

Big Idea

With the big idea generation out of the way, it is time to get into the nuts and bolts of narrative writing technique.


10 minutes

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

Dickens and the Semi-Colon: Mini Lesson on Diction and Syntax

20 minutes

To set up their writing time and to do a little direct instruction on grammar and conventions (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.2 and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1), I am going to ask the students to review how to use a semi-colon (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.2a) and how to use coordinating conjunctions to avoid comma splices and/or run-on sentences. Much like the past few days, I am using these writing days to also work on some of the grammar/mechanics/conventions issues that I have been seeing in their own writing. I'm excited to have the chance to work on these things in context as I think that is the best way to teach grammar. 

However, much as I might be excited, I anticipate that this is going to feel a little dry for my students and I'm really struggling with how to make some of the language standards anything but dry. However, I will persevere and hopefully, through our discussion about the grammar points presented in my slides, I will help to create logical reasons for them to utilize some of these structures and tools.

Writing Time

20 minutes

I want to make sure that my students have a little time to write communally. I think that being in a dedicated time and space for writing really allows for students (and anyone, really), to feel less intimidated by the process. Since they have to write a narrative (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3) based on Dickens' style, it is important to give them some time/space to feel less apprehensive about this process. 

This will be really unstructured time. I will circulate the room to offer ideas/help as it is solicited. I will also randomly ask to see what people are working on so that I can informally check in on how things are going. Ultimately, though, I am going to be very hands off in the process because I want to see how they are able to produce clear and coherent writing independently and specifically geared towards the task at hand (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4).

Wrap Up and Next Steps

5 minutes

At the end of class, I will remind students about due dates (their drafts are due tomorrow) and give them my favorite writing pep talk ala my favorite author Anne Lamott from her writing primer Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, which (in the school-friendly version) says that all first drafts are going to be a little crappy. That's why they are first drafts. =)