Narrative Writing Workshop: It’s All Claimed Up in My Thesis Statement

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SWBAT write an introduction for a narrative that is descriptive in detail, well-structured, and contains a specific point-of-view for writing.

Big Idea

It's logic that drives my organization and claims for writing this story!

Lesson Overview

A thesis is a statement that claims what you believe and what you intend to prove. In writing, the thesis is the one thing that can influence the difference between thoughtfulness and a simple retelling of facts. In this lesson, students will discover that the thesis statement starts at one point: a topic/subject.

Bellringer: Statement vs. Statement

6 minutes

To understand the importance of a strong claim in writing, students will respond to the follow question:

Statement 1: Anna, the main character in the story, lived in poverty her entire life.

Statement 2: Anna’s positive attitude changed the lives of the children and seniors in her community.

From the statements above, which is a simple statement and a thesis statement? Use complete sentences to justify your opinion.

Thesis statements are hard to write at the middle school level. While students understand its importance in writing, creating one’s own can be a great challenge for students. The correct answer to this question is statement 2. Here is a  4 Finger Test to help students know if a statement is worthy to be a claim in an essay.

Building Knowledge: Video

6 minutes

Let’s roll the credits! Students will understand the importance of statements in structured writing by watching a video. As the video plays, students will see how a thesis can be developed by a writer. During this time, I will walk along the classroom to ensure students are paying attention to the clip. A discussion will be held about what made their thesis statements correct or incorrect.

Since my students struggle with writing, having them watch and take notes from the video would have posed difficulty in them understanding what they were writing in their notebooks. However, if teachers want students to record notes from the clips, see the following Writing a Thesis Statement example of what could possibly be written in their notebooks.

Independent Practice: Thesis Practice

20 minutes

Students will work independently to practice thesis statements. A Thesis Statements Practice handout will be give which encourages students to understand how statements can contain a topic, attitude, and opinion about a particular subject. For each practice problem, students will determine if the statement is an opinion or a thesis. After going over each statement, students will use the information from the video clip and the handout to modify the thesis of their narrative.

Wrap-up: A Checklist

15 minutes

Students will spend the remainder of time editing their peers' (Just One More Day) paragraphs. Students will use the introduction part of the narrative checklist to comment on students opening paragraph. The choice to peer-edit throughout this process will allow students constant feedback on their writing and room for few errors to occur in the final draft of the essay. If more class time is available, students can move into drafting the body of their essay. For students that need additional support, I can help develop their thoughts through questioning what they are intending to talk about in their stories. See what other support could have been given in this talk over paper with narrative check list video!