Narrative Leads, Transitions, and the Echo Conclusion


Recently we have been focusing on Narrative Writing.  I always try to do a short unit on Narrative Writing after we finish basic paragraph writing and learning to cite evidence.  I like our narrative unit to fall during October.  My students LOVE to tell spooky, scary stories this month, and it is a perfect time to get them writing longer pieces.  We have been building up our stamina through Communication Journals, and we are just about ready to scream and shout.
This past week we worked on Narrative Leads.  I like to use The Storyteller from Saki as a basis for this so I can tie in a reading element.  The Storyteller has a plot twist, and my Smarties are all about the plot twist.  I got these initial lessons from Erin at Lovin Lit and her Interactive Writer's Notebook.  After we get the basics of leads down, I have them write 5 leads for a Halloween story.  THEY GO CRAZY.. trying to make the scariest, or silliest, or creepiest hook imaginable.
We posted these up on our side wall so others could get a few good ideas as well.

Next, I talk about Conclusions.  Basically, I teach them about the Echo conclusion, because it is an easy way to for them to grasp the concept.  I use The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton for this lesson.  You can go {HERE} and read more specifically about this.  After using our notebooks and getting the foundation,  I pass out Halloween story starters that were written by Bruce Coville.  He is an amazing author, writing such favorites as My Teacher Is An Alien and The Dragon Slayers.  He has also recenlty written a new Amber Brown book.   This series was originally created by Paula Danzinger, another amazing children's author, who passed away too early!  She and Coville were friends, and he recently collaborated with another author to write an Amber Brown book.
But.. back to Halloween narratives..
For several years he created a story starter for Halloween that was published in the local Syracuse newspaper.  Students could write the conclusion to the stories, and the best were published in the paper around Halloween as winners of the contest.  These stories are SO GOOD!  My Smarties ate them up.  Even though he does not write the story starters anymore, I saved several from past years, and I allowed my students to choose one that they loved and practice writing the conclusion..
THEY GO CRAZY for this.. I don't think my classroom is ever this quiet.. EVER...
Until they finish of course!  Then they want to read.. read... read.. everyone's.  They want to share, and critque, and just discuss WRITING.  I'm in teacher Heaven when this happens!

This year, I borrowed a little trick from one of my BBBs Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teacher, and I found finger lights.  I let the kids use them to sit in groups to share their stories.  Even "Big Kids" need a little "light" fun!
I'd love to know what you do to teach or review narratives.  We really have to move on to the meat and potatoes writing of arguments, explanatory, and research of sixth grade, but I love letting them have these moments as well!

1 comment

  1. Oh I love the idea of the Halloween leads!!! Thank you so much for sharing this!!


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