As I passed out this "Give Language" passage, I explained to the students that given a chance to examine various authors’ styles of written often provides a model to improve our own writing. First, we analyzed Amy Tan’s excerpt for specific writing concepts: commas in a series, prepositional phrases, subordinate clauses, and imagery. I asked students to independently review this passage and highlight and label these concepts. These are concepts that we have previously studied in class.
Together we noted the time order that Ms Tan used in her narrative and its effect upon the setting.
After reading and analyzing this passage, students were given the chance to begin writing their own narrative imitating Amy Tan’s writing style. The pattern is given in Given Language Practice. I stressed the point that this writing assignment is telling your story using imagery. It is not just filling in the blanks; students must take time to organize their thoughts and focus upon sensory images.
When they have created their narrative about a home memory, students made sure that they did include the various writing concepts and that details appealed to the senses. Then they could write their final copy on the reverse side of the passage.