Then there are unique books like Curtis Sittenfeld’s brilliant novel American Wife, based heavily on the early life of Laura Bush but written in first person, with fictional names and settings, and labeled as a work of fiction.The line between fact and fiction has always been really, really blurry, but the common thread running through all of it is good storytelling.
As always, I recommend using a single point rubric for this.
Once the parameters of the assignment have been explained, have students read at least one model story, a mentor text that exemplifies the qualities you’re looking for.
One of the most powerful techniques I used as a writing teacher was to do my students’ writing assignments with them.
I would start my own draft at the same time as they did, composing “live” on the classroom projector, and doing a lot of thinking out loud so they could see all the decisions a writer has to make.
Once students have seen this story mapped out, have them try it with another one, like a story you’ve read in class, a whole novel, or another short video.
Up to this point, students have been immersed in storytelling.And by listening to the stories of their classmates, they will be adding onto that list and remembering more of their own stories. Besides being a good way to bond with students, sharing stories will help them see more possibilities for the ones they can tell.Now that students have a good library of their own personal stories pulled into short-term memory, shift your focus to a more formal study of what a story looks like.Now give them specific instructions for what they are going to do.Share your assignment rubric so they understand the criteria that will be used to evaluate them; it should be ready and transparent right from the beginning of the unit.The most helpful parts for them to observe were the early drafting stage, where I just scratched out whatever came to me in messy, run-on sentences, and the revision stage, where I crossed things out, rearranged, and made tons of notes on my writing.I have seen over and over again how witnessing that process can really help to unlock a student’s understanding of how writing actually gets made. So the first step in getting good narrative writing from students is to help them see that .By telling their own short anecdotes, they will grow more comfortable and confident in their storytelling abilities.They will also be generating a list of topic ideas.“Those who tell the stories rule the world.” This proverb, attributed to the Hopi Indians, is one I wish I’d known a long time ago, because I would have used it when teaching my students the craft of storytelling.With a well-told story we can help a person see things in an entirely new way.