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Ch 3: Writing Narratives: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3

About This Chapter

Use this chapter to enhance your understanding of the Common Core Requirements for English Language Arts and writing narratives. Find helpful suggestions on how to use the lessons in your 8th-grade classroom, and determine how well your students have mastered the standards-based competency associated with writing narratives.

Standard: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details and well-structured event sequences.

About This Chapter

Eighth-grade students who have mastered this standard know how to establish a narrative context and point of view to engage and maintain the reader's interest. Mastery also includes the ability to introduce the narrator and characters and develop a natural, well-reasoned sequence of events that culminate in a logical conclusion.

The concepts covered in this lesson include:

  • An overview of the narrative essay, including its definition, organization and examples
  • The use of narrative techniques, including description, dialogue, pacing and reflection
  • The use of transitions to indicate sequence, signal shifts and relate experiences
  • How descriptive details and sensory language can be used to convey action
  • How to write conclusions that reinforce the narrated experiences and events.

Students demonstrate their understanding of narrative techniques by using descriptive and reflective writing, dialogue and pacing to develop characters and events. During the writing process, they are able to use transitional clauses, phrases and words to convey sequence and signal shifts between time frames or settings. Actions and events are portrayed through descriptive details, precise wording and sensory language. Essays conclude in a manner that flows from and reflects back on the narrative experience.

How to Use These Essays in Your Classroom

Narrative Essay Lesson

Watch the narrative essay lesson at the beginning of class. Provide students with a short, first-person narrative to read in class, and then identify and discuss the different elements of the essay, including character(s), setting, plot and climax. For homework, ask students to write two narrative essays about the same event, but from two different points of view, e.g., child and parent, student and teacher, two friends or a pet and its owner.

Descriptive Details and Sensory Language Lesson

As a homework assignment, students will watch the descriptive details lesson and write a paragraph about what they had for dinner using descriptive details and sensory language. Written work will be read and aloud and discussed in class.

Narrative Conclusion Lesson

View and discuss the narrative conclusion lesson in class. For homework, students will write a conclusion to a short narrative essay and share their work in class.

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