Narrative Writing: Planning the Plot | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M3A:U3:L4

Narrative Writing: Planning the Plot

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can write narrative texts about real or imagined experiences using relevant details and event sequences that make sense. (W.8.3)

Supporting Targets

  • I can use a story map to plan a well-organized narrative that describes the moment when Mine Okubo "became visible again."
  • I can understand the rubric for the narrative writing performance task.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment story map

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Engaging the Writer: Planning the Narrative (5 minutes)

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (1 minute)

2. WorkTime

A. Becoming Visible Again: Mapping the Model Narrative (28 minutes)

B. Becoming Visible Again: Mapping My Narrative (10 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Previewing Homework (1 minute)

4. Homework

A. Finish mapping out your narrative on the Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment story map. Be prepared to share your story map and explain why you included these details during a peer critique in the next lesson.

  • In this lesson, students synthesize what they learned about Mine Okubo's life from their brief research (during Lesson 3) with their understanding of what makes a strong narrative (which they began learning about when writing their two-voice poem in Unit 1) to build toward writing their final performance task.
  • By reading and discussing the model narrative, students get a sense of the performance task's ideal length and style. They consider how the model addresses the standards on the rubric. Plotting the events from the model narrative onto the story map helps them understand how their own narrative should be organized and sequenced.
  • Students do not have a lot of time to work on their story maps during this lesson. Their homework will be to finish their planning so they are ready for peer critique during Lesson 5.
  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

well-organized, plot, exposition

Materials

  • Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment model (one per student and one to display)
  • Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment rubric (from Lesson 2; one to display)
  • Document camera
  • Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment story map (two per student and one to display)
  • Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment story map model (for teacher reference)
  • Gathering Textual Evidence: Becoming Visible Again after Internment note-catcher (from Lesson 3) 

Opening

Opening

A. Engaging the Writer: Planning the Narrative (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to turn and talk about their homework, explaining to each other why they chose that particular moment from Mine's life to write about.
  • After a few minutes, ask students who chose Moment A ("1944: Walter Cronkite interview") to raise their hands. Cold call a student to explain why he or she chose that moment to write about.
  • Repeat with each of the other three choices. 

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (1 minute)

  • Read the first learning target aloud while students read along silently:

*     "I can use a story map to plan a well-organized narrative that describes the moment when Mine Okubo 'became visible again.'"

  • Point out that the learning target uses the term well-organized. Explain that students will use a story map to keep their thoughts organized as they plan the plot of their narrative today.
  • Ask for a volunteer to explain what a plot is. Listen for: "A plot is the storyline of a text" or "The plot is all of the events that happen in a text."
  • Read the second learning target aloud while students read along silently:

*     "I can understand the rubric for the narrative writing performance task."

  • Explain that students will use a model narrative and the rubric throughout today's lesson to better understand the performance task before they write it.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Becoming Visible Again: Mapping the Model Narrative (28 minutes)

  • Tell students that, although they will use Unbroken as a model for the kind of writing they are practicing in the performance task, it will be helpful to have a model narrative that is the same length as the one they will write to help them see what the final project will look like.
  • Distribute the Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment model and read it aloud while students read along silently.
  • Ask:

*     "In this narrative, what was the moment when Mine 'became visible again'?"

  • Listen for: "when she saw her drawings featured on the cover of a magazine."
  • Have students take out their copies of the Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment rubric, which they received during Lesson 2, as you display a copy using a document camera. Draw students' attention to the Content and Analysis row and have a student read the 3 box aloud:

* "The narrative builds from informational texts about Okubo's life to describe her process of becoming 'visible' after internment."

  • Ask:

*     "Does this model narrative build from informational texts about Okubo's life? How do you know?"

  • Listen for students to point out that the model includes many details from the informational texts, such as her brother's name, the specific camps they were sent to, and the fact that Okubo left the camp to work for a magazine in New York.
  • Explain that, since students have just found evidence that the model builds on informational texts, it would receive a score of at least 3 on this rubric. Invite students to turn and read the 4 box with someone next to them. Ask:

*     "How does a narrative scoring a 4 in this category differ from one scoring a 3?"

  • Listen for students to point out that the rubric uses the phrases "makes inferences" and "creatively imagine" to describe a 4 narrative. Ask:

*     "Does this model narrative deserve a 4? Why or why not?"

  • Listen for students to say that this model deserves a score of 4, since it draws on evidence from informational texts (e.g., the fact that Okubo went to work for a magazine) but makes inferences (e.g., the idea that Okubo might be "terrified" to return to free society) and creatively imagines descriptive details (e.g., the image of Okubo carrying her rolled-up drawings inside her bag as she leaves the gate). 
  • Display a copy of the Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment model using the document camera. Briefly annotate it to reflect students' ideas about its use of textual evidence and its score on the rubric. (For example, you might underline the sentence "I have been hired as a magazine artist" and write, "Explicit use of evidence," or underline "My drawings of life inside the camp are carefully rolled up inside my bag" and write, "Creative imagining.")
  • Display the Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment rubric again. Draw students' attention to the Cohesion, Organization, and Style rows and explain that you will work on those aspects of the narrative next. Ask students to turn and talk:

*     "What are the basic parts in a narrative?"

  • Remind them that they have already studied narrative writing this year (with their Inside Out & Back Again poems in Module 1 and To Kill a Mockingbird analysis and Readers Theater in Module 2A). In this narrative, they will include similar parts, although it is not written as poetry.
  • After a few moments, cold call students to share the parts of a strong narrative, including an exposition (opening) and closing. (If students struggle to remember the parts of a narrative, ask them to look back at the rubric.)
  • Explain that this narrative follows a plot structure they worked with during Module 2A and their study of To Kill a Mockingbird (if they completed that module).
  • Distribute the Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment story map to each student and display a copy using the document camera. Point out the major parts of the plot structure that students did not mention during the review a moment ago: the rising action, which includes several complications; the climax, which is the moment of highest action and excitement in the narrative; and the reflection, which helps lead to the conclusion. Remind students that their narratives will all end with the same sentence: "I was/am visible again".
  • Tell students that the model narrative follows this plot structure. Ask:
  • "What events in the model narrative make up the exposition?"
  • Listen for students to say that the first three paragraphs of the model narrative make up the exposition, since they give the historical context of the narrative ("I have lived behind the barbed-wire fence of an internment camp for the last two years. My brother, Toku, and I were forced to relocate after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941"), introduce the narrator ("We were both born and raised in California. I don't even speak Japanese, but the government was convinced that I was a threat because of my jet-black hair, my Japanese ancestors, my hard-to-pronounce name"), and tell readers the narrator's perspective on internment ("My identity is a number. My name has been erased. I am invisible"). Write these details in the Exposition box of the displayed story map and have students do the same on their own maps. Point out that this part of the narrative has to do with the thematic concept of invisibility.
  • Tell students to continue working to fill in the story map on their own. Circulate as they work to ensure that they understand which parts of the narrative fill each role in the plot. (Use the Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment story map model as a reference.) Make note of students who seem to be struggling with this activity and plan to check in with them during the next block of independent work time.
  • After several minutes, ask students to turn and talk with each other about their story maps. Circulate as they share, perhaps tuning into discussions where students disagreed with each other so that you can lift up those disagreements for the whole class to grapple with. Make note of common disagreements or misconceptions.
  • Draw students' attention back together and address any common disagreements or misconceptions as a class.
  • Briefly display the Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment rubric once again. Draw students' attention back to the Cohesion, Organization, and Style rows and ask a student to read the first 4 box aloud:

* "The narrative pace flows smoothly, naturally, and logically from an exposition through several related events."

  • Have students turn and talk about the score they would give the model narrative in this category.
  • After a moment, cold call a pair to share their thinking with the whole group. Listen for them to say that the model narrative should receive a score of 4 in this category, since it contains a clear exposition (beginning) and several related events.
  • Repeat this process with the third row within Cohesion, Organization, and Style: "The narrative's compelling conclusion follows logically from and insightfully reflects on earlier events in the narrative."
  • As you did earlier in the lesson, use the document camera to display a copy of the model narrative. Annotate the model with students' ideas using language from the rubric as they do the same on their own copies. (For example, you might underline or circle the first three paragraphs of the model narrative and write, "Clear exposition.") 
  • Filling in the story map for the model narrative may be time-consuming for some students; consider providing these students with an annotated copy of the model that has key sections highlighted and numbered. Students would write a number into each box of the story map, rather than rereading the entire model and copying down details into the boxes. (For example, you might highlight "I turn a corner and there it is--my art, splashed carelessly across the wall. I was a different person when I made this. I existed. People could see me. Now I am a shadow" and number it "2." If a student thought this was the first complication of the rising action, he or she would write "2" in the first "Complication" box.)

B. Becoming Visible Again: Mapping My Narrative (10 minutes)

  • Tell students that now that they have researched Mine Okubo's life, chosen a moment to write about, and practiced using the story map with a model narrative, it is time for them to plan the major events in the plot of their own narrative. Explain that this part of the narrative will relate to the thematic concept of becoming visible again.
  • Tell students to take out their Gathering Textual Evidence: Becoming Visible Again after Internment note-catcher (from Lesson 3) as you distribute a second copy of the Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again story map to each of them. Tell students that they have the rest of today's class, as well as tonight for homework, to plan their narrative by using what they have learned about Mine's life to craft the plot on the story map. Remind them that the story map should contain only the basic events in the story; it is like an outline for their story and does not need to include creative details or narrative techniques. Students will build in those parts of their stories during Lesson 5.
  • Put a "Help List" on the board so students can sign up when they have questions. Circulate while they work, addressing questions and ensuring that their work meets the criteria of the task. Remind students that, just as in the model, a lot of the details in their narratives will come from their own imaginations. This is good, as long as the basic facts of the story are based on textual evidence and true events.

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A. Previewing Homework (1 minute)

  • Tell students that for homework, they should finish their story maps. Emphasize that they will need a strong draft of their map (not their actual story) for Lesson 5, since they will participate in a peer critique to strengthen their narratives before they start to write.

Homework

Homework
  • Finish mapping out your narrative on the Narrative Writing: Becoming Visible Again after Internment story map. Be prepared to share your story map and explain why you included these details during a peer critique in the next lesson.

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