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2. Small Moments: Personal Narrative Writing by Lucy Calkins and Abby Oxenhorn

In this unit, children learn to take the everyday events of their lives and make them into focused, well-structured stories-doing their very best to communicate those stories through pictures and through more and more writing.

  • Beginning Small Moment Stories
  • Getting More Writing on the Page
  • Teaching Revision Strategies
  • Preparing for Publication
    PART ONE: Beginning Small Moment Stories
    Session I: Understanding a Small Moment Story
    This session will show children that authors write Small Moments stories and stretch the action across several pages because the moment is so important.
    View Session I
    Session II: Discovering One Small Moment
    In this lesson, you will write a story in the air of one moment, demonstrating concentrating on and picturing the moment while you put it on the page.
    Session III: Establishing Long-Term Partnerships
    This minilesson will establish partnerships and ask children to revisit their partner's work from the preceding session to plan for upcoming work.
    Session IV: Stretching One Small Moment
    This session will invite children to listen to how a published author stretches a moment across several pages. Children will then learn to plan their own writing in the presence of partners by touching each page and saying what they'll write.
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    PART TWO: Getting More Writing on the Page
    Session V: Stretching and Writing Words
    In this session, then, we help writers separate out the many sounds they hear in words and write down the letters that correspond to those sounds.
    Session VI: Sketching Rather than Drawing
    This session will teach the difference between sketching and drawing, emphasizing that sketching is appropriate in the writing workshop so we can reserve time for writing.
    Session VII: Planning Details
    This lesson will encourage children to plan detailed stories by saying those stories aloud before writing them.
    Session VIII: Internalizing Story Shapes
    The plan for this session will be to teach children the strategy of telling a story across one's fingers to help children produce stories that have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
    Session IX: Storytelling with Partners
    In this session, children will learn to practice telling stories across their fingers to their partners to coax more structure into their writing.
    Session X: Writing Some Words in a Snap
    In this session, you'll show children that writers write certain words quickly, either by just knowing them or by taking a quick look at the word wall.
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    PART THREE: Teaching Revision Strategies
    Session XI: Focusing on the Most Important Part
    In this session, you will demonstrate that writers think "What is the most important part of my story?" and that they make that aspect of their story important by adding details to that part and cutting away the other parts.
    Session XII: Revealing Internal Stories
    In this session, you will help children learn to unfold the pleats and reveal the internal stories (the reactions, thoughts, observations, feelings) in their pieces.
    Session XIII: Writing Close-In Story Endings
    In this session, you'll teach children some guidelines for writing effective story endings, suggesting that it often helps to stay closer to the heart of the story rather than writing away from it.
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    PART FOUR: Preparing for Publication
    Session XIV: Revising and Editing with Partners
    This session will teach children some strategies for making revisions to their pieces, and you'll help writers support their partner's revisions.
    Session XV: Reading Aloud for Visitors: An Author's Celebration
    In this publishing party, children will read their stories aloud to their reading buddies—or any other visitors. The visitors will write comments in response, and all the writers as a class will receive a big round of applause.
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