Writing In The ELA Classroom: Narrative Writing

December 04, 2015

Help students to develop a compelling storyline with dynamic characters. In this #2ndaryELA Twitter chat, middle and high school English Language Arts teachers discussed narrative writing: favorite assignments, students' struggles and solutions, and helpful resources. Read through the chat for ideas to implement in your own classroom.
This #2ndaryELA Twitter chat was all about narrative writing in the ELA classroom. Middle and High School English Language Arts discussed favorite assignments, students struggles and solutions, and helpful resources. The highlights are below.

Favorite assignments:
*Short creative assignments like rewriting fairy tales/famous stories
*Write about their average day, then to embellish it into a fantastical story
*Have students do a random act of kindness and then write about their experience
*Write commencement-style addresses, or words of wisdom on what they've learned
*Write a sci-fi/historical fiction piece of their own after reading Kindred by Octavia Butler
*Writing Roulette where they have to continue story of peer, maintaining the story's mood/tone
*Create quirky characters and make collages or social media profiles before writing fictional narratives
*"Encyclopedia of my Ordinary Life," Top Ten, and House Hunters

*Making meaningful revisions
*Page and word limits. They want to keep writing and writing.
*Separating fictional stories from their personal stories
*Slowing down the narrative. They get excited about where the story is going and skip the details.
*Getting started if they don’t have story idea

*To encourage revision, first read mentor texts & identify effective techniques. Then ask students to find those same techniques in their own writing. If they aren't there, students need to add them.
*Page restrictions are essential. One cannot mark a novel.
*Having journalling for personal stories and creating fictional character that are different from them.
*Peer edit with students with different writing styles 
*Use mentor texts as read alouds

Helpful Resources:
*Pinterest boards like this one
*Baby by Patricia MacLachlan. It is simple, beautiful, almost poetic. A great example of concise writing.
*Collect ideas while reading young adult literature
*Teaching for Joy and Justice by Linda Christensen

Hope you'll join us next Tuesday night, December 8 at 8pm EST to discuss helping students think beyond themselves during the holiday season. The questions for our next chat will be posted here on Sunday. If you missed this chat, scroll down and read the whole thing below.

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