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In this mini-unit, a small-moment idea is developed into a full paragraph narrative

Subject:

Language Arts  

Grade:

1  

Title – Writing a Small Moment Narrative
By – Christine Sanese
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 1

Mini-Unit/Lesson Plan: Paragraph – First Grade

Topic: Writing for Readers: A Small Moment Story

Objectives:

  • Students will visualize a small moment from their lives
  • Students will write a small moment story
  • Students will add details to small moment story
  • Students will edit stories for content and mechanics

Rationale: We have recently adopted a new writing program on our grade level. This was adopted in response to a growing need for our students to develop good writing skills in terms of content and mechanics. This particular mini-lesson focuses on taking a “small moment”, one part of your day, and stretching it over an entire paragraph. This unit also focuses on adding details to develop content and to help the reader visualize the writer’s words.

Background: This particular unit is usually conducted in January of first grade. Prior to this unit students have been working on getting their ideas down on paper and adding correct capitalization and punctuation. Typical paragraphs at this point tell about an entire day in a first grader’s life, starting from when they wake up and ending with going to bed. The goal of this unit is to take a small part of the students’ day and add details to help the reader make a good picture of the story in his/her mind.

Time Span: 4 Days/Periods

Procedures:

Day 1:

      1. Teacher will read the picture book,

Shortcut

      by Donald Crews, which gives an excellent example of a small moment story.

      2. Following the story time, students will pick out the small moment from the anchor text.

      3. Together the students and teacher will create a chart titled, “

Noticing small moments throughout the day

      .” Students will be instructed to act like detectives to find small moments throughout their day.

      4. Students will close their eyes and visualize (make a movie in their mind) a small moment from their lives that they would like to write about.

      5. Students will return to their seats and write about their small moment in their journals. The following chart will be displayed for assistance:

        a. Think of an idea to write about

        b. Picture it in your head

        c. Draw it

      d. Write it

    6. Teacher will check all journals to insure that all students focused on one small moment.

Day 2:

      1. Teacher will read the picture book,

Rollercoaster

      . This story adds many details in writing to a small moment story.

      2. Class will discuss the importance of adding details to a story. Details make the reader want to read the story and help the reader make a good picture in his/her mind.

      3. The following chart will be displayed regarding how to add details:

        a. Use your five senses (what does it look like, feel like, sound like, etc.)

        b. Use color words

        c. Use size words and shape words

      4. After thorough discussion and modeling of the above strategies, students will be instructed to read their small moment stories from the day before and to add details using the chart.

    5. Teacher will check all journals to insure that all students added their senses, color words, and size and shape words.

Day 3:

      1. Teacher will read the picture book,

Salt Hands

      . The story also adds many details in writing to a small moment story.

      2. Class will review the importance of adding details to a story.

      3. The following things will be added to yesterday’s chart regarding how to add details:

        a. Add when and where

        b. Compare to something else (the oven felt as hot as a campfire)

      4. After thorough discussion and modeling of the above strategies, students will be instructed to read their small moment stories and to add details using the chart.

    5. Teacher will check all journals to insure that all students added when and where and used a comparison.

Day 4:

      1. Teacher will discuss editing for mechanics at length with the students.

      2. Teacher will model editing a piece using her own small moment story written on chart paper.

      3. Teacher will display an editing checklist with the following instructions:

        a. Reread your story. Does it make sense?

        b. Reread your story. Add periods or exclamation points to the ends of each sentence.

        c. Reread your story. Add capitals at the beginning of each sentence and for all names.

      4. Following editing, the students will illustrate their story and it will be published.

    5. The unit will end with each child reading their small moment story to the class. A celebration toast with juice to all of our authors will bring the unit to a close.

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