Reflection: Standards Alignment A Great Beginning Makes Us Stop, Think, and Read - Section 1: Creating the Purpose


I have played around with the format of our narrative unit for a few years to determine the best place in the sequence of the unit to teach the "great beginnings" lessons. We recently changed our writing curriculum to Lucy Caulkins and in her program she recommends teaching it later in the unit along with the strong endings lessons. Tried it - this is what I saw....students moved too quickly to their main events and did not orient their readers to the story opening situations, going back to add this later did not produce the great beginnings I had hoped they could write for their stories, and increased confusions as to what goes last and what goes first in their stories (or a beginning and ending that were almost identical). 

Due to this I decided to go back to starting the unit with the great beginnings lessons to help my students keep a "reader's interest" focus rather than a "writer's interest" focus. This will also help them to create a story line past their initial free-write stage and to begin thinking about their setting and characters, too. The interactive activities of the lesson have the additional benefit of adding a feeling of excitement and energy to the unit which helps defeat the "I hate writing" themes that enter the class when we begin many writing projects.    

  Lucy Caulkins vs Unit
  Standards Alignment: Lucy Caulkins vs Narrative Unit
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A Great Beginning Makes Us Stop, Think, and Read

Unit 5: Writing Narrative Stories to Entertain Your Readers
Lesson 3 of 16

Objective: SWBAT...orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters by writing an introduction that uses one of the five forms of "great" beginnings

Big Idea: First impressions are everything when it comes to attracting your readers to story! When writers use creative opening sentences they attract readers who want to read more about what will happen next in their stories.

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great opener
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