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Activities and assignments appear in chronological sequence as they are used in the unit.

This activity is designed partly as an ice-breaker, but mostly as a brief gateway into a student-centered discussion of "What makes a 'good' story GOOD?" After judging each other's stories, students can begin talking about what elements in the "best" story (or in other stories they've read/seen) made the story 'good.'
Click on this link for the "map" of a traditional story. All main elements are labeled as to where they traditionally appear in a story, however, students should remember that many authors build exposition into their stories in many, different ways. Authors also use flashback and sometimes leave readers on a "cliffhanger" with no resolution.
Sample Narratives: "Cliffhanger" & "Cheating"
These sample personal narratives written by a former student and a colleague can be used to help further students' understanding of plot. Students should map the plot of each story, label the map, and then justify the choices they made in drawing the plot line and in their labeling.
This fictional story by Raymond Carver can reinforce what students have learned about plot, and then as an introduction to other story elements (setting, mood, foreshadowing, symbolism, allusion) and concepts like connotation. It is also a great lesson in close reading to support an interpretation of a text.
"Popular Mechanics" & Discussion Questions
This assignment should be completed BEFORE the relay game to give students an opportunity to build prior knowledge.
This brainstorming activity asks students to work in teams in a competition with each other. During the game, both the number of ideas and the creativity/originality of ideas earn you points, although it's important to note and follow rules 4 & 5 in Round One and rule 2 in Round Two. The ultimate goal of the activity is to build a word/phrase bank of colors that are more specific than just saying "white" or "blue."
This list of "more specific ways of talking about and describing color" was compiled from all the brainstorming done by students during the Relay Game. It might be useful to for students to note some of the associations and then general connotations (positive or negative) for the ideas on the list that they like best or think they would use most.



Tone Exercise #1
The Shell Game



This exercise gives students a chance to reinforce their understanding of "tone." Additionally, students practice making careful choices in using descriptive language to affect an audience and engage in the practices of close reading and revision. Students should practice with some sample paragraphs/sentences in a whole-class and/or small group situation prior to doing this assignment.
This activity is designed for students to further their understanding of and ability to create detailed description. It is also a good activity to have students work with creating a particular mood.
This is a sample paragraph from 4th period. It includes notes about how to revise it to make it a stronger paragraph for conveying mood.
Final "Farmhouse" activity where students create a description of one room in the "farmhouse" individually.
Rules for Punctuating Dialogue
Dialogue Scenarios
Students will use these scenarios in small groups to craft a story form dialogue using the "Rules for Punctuating Dialogue."
To further students' knowledge of tone and how author's create a tone, they will look at four passages from famous pieces of literature, identify the tone in two of them, and explain how that tone was created using textual evidence from each passage.
Students will look at a passage describing a setting from Warriors Don't Cry, identify the mood, and identify words/phrases that help create that mood. Then students will put themselves in the author's seat and create a description of a setting they're familiar with while conveying a particular mood.
This is a vocabulary building activity that will help students become more familiar with specific words that are available to use to talk about mood and tone.
Students will be introduced to the idea of character portrayals in this activity and work together thinking through analysis of various portraits.
Students will further their understanding of character portrayals and building an analysis of portrayals in small groups.
Now that students have built their skills with looking at visual portraits, they will look at two text-based portraits
This is a framework for students to think about and plan their writing, no matter what the assignment.
This is a short assignment for students to begin working with writing their own character portrayals.
Students study this picture by Gillray from the 1700's, taking in the details of the portrait. The teacher will need to build students' knowledge of some of the elements in the picture (like the vomitorium and the symbolic crest above the coat of arms) through class discussion.
This assignment uses "The Voluptuary" as a springboard for students to create a narrative that synthesizes most of the skills they've learned in the unit so far.
Students engage in a lesson about hyperbole by looking at several caricatures, mostly of famous people. After a TLD with one caricature and a discussion of what hyperbole is, students each work with one caricature given to them by the teacher at random. (These materials not available on-line.)
Caricatures and Hyperbole
Students complete this activity to further their abilities in vivid description and manipulating language. The teacher will give each student a photo portrait of a very striking person (famous or not). The students will then complete this challenging assignment. (Pictures not available on-line.)
After this series of activities and lesson, students are now about to write a complete narrative of an experience of their own, keeping in mind that they should include vivid description, a variety of imagery, dialogue, set the mood, consider the tone, and character portrayals. Furthermore, students will need/want to consider the plot potential of their story, and methods of effectively developing their story to get their audience interested in it. To start all this, students will need to brainstorm and think through a list of possible story ideas. This list (at right) is a sample list generated by the teacher to share and discuss with students.
This assignment has the students develop their own list of story ideas.
This is the final narrative assignment that asks students to synthesize all the skills and knowledge they've learned over the past several weeks into an engaging, personal narrative.
This is a "glossary" of all the terms used in the unit. The glossary is added to as students move through the unit. Students can also access on-line flashcards to test their knowledge of some of the terms.
Narrative Vocabulary