Category Archive: narrative

An Elaboration Tool for Self-reflection and Revision

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“Show don’t tell,” we say over and over to students but–it’s harder than it sounds, though, maybe for multiple reasons.

Playing Around with Instagram Stories

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I’ve been tinkering with Instagram Stories this summer. I’ve discovered several ways teacher-writers can use them as a tool for living and storytelling.

Memory Chains: A Strategy for Writer’s Notebooks

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Here’s a fun strategy you can try to generate writing in your notebook this summer. Come back-to-school time, you can teach your students how to use this strategy if they get stuck.

Narrative Writing Makes a Beautiful Gift

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 The students wrapped their writing in an array of wrapping paper, and they left my classroom eager to share their gifts – the gift of words.

Connecting Through Story

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“Story is the basic unit of human understanding.” – Drew Dudley, Day One Leadership. We have been learning through story for thousands of years.  Our innate fascination for wanting to know what happens… Continue reading

Shaking Up Personal Narrative

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Ever since I read this post by Katie Kraushaar, I’ve been thinking about personal narrative and wondering why it is that students, particularly in middle elementary grades and beyond, are sometimes less than enthusiastic about… Continue reading

Making the Most of Pre-Assessments

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 We spend a week or so sharing stories, and building excitement for writing stories. We hand out notebooks with fanfare, and writers happily personalize them. They brainstorm ideas for stories they could write.… Continue reading

Where Have All the Narratives Gone?

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I’ve been thinking about why young writers struggle with personal narrative and realistic fiction writing.

Nerdy Birdy: A Review & Giveaway

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When I first opened Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds, I was not (yet) reading it with the eye of a writer.  I was way too smitten with the bird on the front cover.  I mean,… Continue reading

Teaching the Four Types of Writing Through Texts

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Janiel Wagstaff’s books will help you teach primary writers about the four types of writing in an engaging way. Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win her series of Stella books.

Opening Lines

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Opening lines should draw readers into the world of a story & involve them from the start.

Writing the Hot Spot First

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How, she wondered, could we get them to write more focused narratives? And what types of entries could they make in their writer’s notebooks to help them with this process?

Big Realization from a Tiny Mouse

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I have an irrational fear of mice. It is bad news. My husband has established a preemptive strike in our basement and garage. He engages in an impossible battle to keep our home,… Continue reading

A moose, penguins & book giveaways

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This Moose Belongs to Me and Baby Penguins Everywhere are new books with strong messages that contain craft moves we can teach young writers.

My WordFest Mentor Text Stack Is Growing!

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I’ve been tinkering around with the picture books I’m going to bring when I speak at WordFest later this month.  My presentation focuses on using recently published picture books as mentor texts to… Continue reading

Scene Changes

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I’ve been trying to think through how to explain thinking in scenes to young writers in a way that makes it accessible. It seems they either write two scenes and call it done… Continue reading

Q&A with Patricia Polacco + a Giveaway

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Patricia Polacco has long been one of my favorite children’s authors. I’ve led author studies of her works with my former students in both reading and writing workshop. I have used books like… Continue reading

What do you think of this minilesson?

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I’ve been working on a few sample minilessons to give my grad students next month when I start teaching “Children’s Literature in Teaching Writing.”  I’ve been making tweaks to the traditional minilesson structure… Continue reading

The Book Stack

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An eclectic little stack today. Click on the images to go to a link about the book. I’ve been enjoying books I can read a little here and a little there. This book,… Continue reading

Approaching Common Core + PARCC

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Yesterday I heard James Kofi Annan tell his story of child slave to business man to freedom fighter for the children in Ghana. Check out this CNN video for a taste of what… Continue reading