Writer's Workship & Grammar Instruction on Manipulating Sentences
Lesson 6 of 8
Objective: Students will write strong narratives based on art prompts first by doing a grammar review and then by engaging in a writer's workshop.
As we continue to address various writing genres within this unit, we are also exploring language and sentence construction (L.9-10.2)and correctness (L.9-10.1). Today's lesson focuses on a strange passage in manipulating sentences for which some inferencing must occur. What happened to Cleo Murphy? Why is she going to New York? Why is her father's secretary helping her?
Too often, we ask students to practice their language skills on bland writing: it's like going to the gym and trying to get a good workout in by using those elastic bands--seems like a good idea in theory, but how much fun is that, really? I digress.... This passage gives students practice in parts of a sentence as well as sentence architecture (complex vs. compound), which is a review from a previous lesson in the unit (L.9-10.2), but this different context will provide you and the students with additional diagnostic information. And the students can use this practice as they approach a variety of writing tasks as they seek to communicate more clearly (L.9-10.3).
I am hoping that the work in manipulating sentences will transition into greater sentence variety and craft as students revise and write. Often, we teach grammar on a separate day altogether, but I have found that teaching grammar and mechanics in conjunction with writing instruction can actually help transfer and application of these skills to take place.
Thus, for the remainder of class, I have planned a writer's workshop. Nothing fancy here, but the students need the time to make their narratives (English1WritingAboutArt) more complete. The students will likely hunker down and really get this done. The best way to write a narrative... is to write a narrative (W.9-10.3). Typically, I work a peer review or some kind of writing club into this, but today, the students need to write, extend and revise (W.9-10.5). My goal will be to check in with as many of them as I can.
At the close of class, I will put the rubric on the overhead and ask students to self-assess their progress: CCSS Rubric published by Turnitin.com. I will explain how the rubric will be adapted to suit the needs of the paper as we have sketched it out (W.9-10.5):
Exposition. Whereas some stories focus on laying out the conflict, this story will focus on the imaginative way in which your character or story "steps in" to the art work in general.
1.) How imaginatively does your begin?
2.) What magical/realistic/fantastic means do we have as readers for accessing the story world of the painting?
Narrative techniques. I will ask about description and dialogue (W.9-10.b and d), two key techniques that the students need to examine.
3.) What is engaging dialogue? How is yours?
4.) What is vivid description? How is yours?
Style and conventions. I will ask about sentence correctness (L.9-10.1 and 2).
5.) Check for compound sentences and complex sentences...have you used commas correctly?
6.) How well did you punctuate your dialogue?
7.) Do you have any indefinite pronouns? How's your subject-verb agreement?
Really, these are just reminders for the students to attend to various elements that have been in our discussions for the past several days. For homework, the students are to finish revising their narratives, and some students are moving ahead to do the second piece of writing, the informative piece about an artist's statement.