Narrative Essay Group Feedback
In this lesson, students will work with their writing groups to revise the first draft of their narrative, looking closely at descriptive language, as well as introductions and conclusions.
- Read the lesson and student content.
- Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
Section 1: Expectations
- This Quick Write is meant to help students think about the most useful ways to respond to classmates’ work. Take a few minutes to talk about what makes advice useful: honesty, respect, specificity, etc.
- ELL: Give an example of each of the traits that make advice useful. For example, if they choose “respect” give an example of a respectful piece of advice and maybe of a disrespectful one, to make sure they see the difference. Do the same with “honest” and with “specificity” or other traits that might be brought up.
- For simplicity, you may want to keep the reading groups the same as the writing groups; you may also want to group students according to where they are in their projects or according to their skill level.
- Depending on the length of your period, you may want to have fewer students in each group, so that everyone will have a chance to share.
In today’s lesson, you will be working with a writing group to critique the rough drafts of your narratives. It will be important to be constructive and fair in your responses.
- Jot down a few notes or thoughts about what that looks like in a writing group, so your class can discuss and set expectations together.
Discuss your thoughts with your classmates.
Section 2: Introductions and Conclusions
- Go over the Introductions and Conclusions handout, allowing students time to work through the examples before discussing them.
In a personal narrative, the beginning and ending set the tone for the essay and help your reader know what to focus on. Today, you’ll take some time to think about what makes a strong introduction and conclusion.
- Review Introductions and Conclusions with your teacher.
Section 3: Narrative Writing Rubric
- Review the Grade 12 Narrative Writing Rubric with your students, talking briefly about each category.
- ELL: Sometimes the language in the rubrics can be hard to understand for ELLs. Be sure all students understand the words in it. Encourage them to use a dictionary if needed.
It’s important to know how your work will be evaluated.
- Take some time to review the Grade 12 Narrative Writing Rubric with your teacher.
You’ll use this as a framework when looking at your classmates’ essays and when revising your own.
Section 4: Peer Response Groups, Step 1
- Peer Response groups could be the same as Independent Reading groups, or you may want to assign groups based on skill level or where students are in their writing process.
- Explain to students that as the group discusses each writer’s work, the writer should stay as quiet as possible. The goal is for the writer to see how his or her work comes across to readers without any additional explanation.
- You may want to have a timer visible and alert groups when they should be switching to the next writer’s work.
- SWD: Monitor to determine if any SWDs need extra time. If they do, allow for them to continue a little longer (if that won’t disrupt the flow of the class).
- You may want to modify this protocol based on your students’ preferences and skill levels. Often, struggling writers are greatly helped by reading their work aloud; however, if your students are both skilled and prolific, it may be simpler (and less time-consuming) if group members read each others’ work silently before discussing.
Meet with your group. Share your narrative electronically with all members of your group. Then, take turns reading your work aloud, with group members following. There are two steps in the peer revision process. Repeat both steps for everyone in your group.
In step 1 of your peer revision process, for each work shared, the readers should split up the following tasks. You may be responsible for more than one.
- Identify anything that shows a developing conflict or resolution to the conflict.
- Identify details that use strong, descriptive language.
- Identify examples of strong, active verbs.
- Identify places where you see the speaker’s struggles.
- Identify places where you see the speaker’s growth.
Section 5: Peer Response Groups, Step 2
- If you feel that students won’t have time to discuss all these questions, you may want to have the writer choose several they would like to focus on. Alternatively, the peer responders could choose questions that they feel allow them to offer constructive feedback.
- ELL: Be sure that students who come from cultures where critiquing is not regarded as something positive, understand that in this country we appreciate clear and specific feedback, and we consider it an important element in improving ourselves and our work.
In step 2 of the peer revision process, answer the following questions as a group for each narrative.
- What is the central conflict in the narrative? Is it internal, external, or both? How is the conflict resolved?
- What weaknesses does the narrator show about him- or herself?
- Does the narrator have moments of growth, change, or realization that portray him or her in a positive light? If so, what are they? And if not, what is the reader’s ultimate impression of the narrator?
- What is the overall lesson or message that you see coming through in this work?
- What would you like to learn more about? Are there characters, events, or descriptions that you feel could be enhanced?
- Was there anything confusing? What needs to be cleared up?
- Is the reader’s impression of the narrator the same as the narrator’s impression of him- or herself? Should it be? If not, what causes the difference? What does the reader understand about the narrator that the narrator doesn’t see?
- Does the introduction set the scene and help portray a problem or conflict that needs to be addressed?
- Does the conclusion contain a reflection that adds to the reader’s understanding and generates further thought?
Section 6: Three Things
- This Closing will give you a sense of which students are on track, which students need additional support, and how you can most efficiently use your time in helping.
Complete a Quick Write.
- Taking your group’s feedback into account, list three things you plan to change between this draft and your final draft.
Share this with your teacher.
Section 7: Your Character Narrative
- You may not have time to comment on everyone’s draft, but this is a good time to give some targeted feedback to students you know are struggling.
Time to revise Your Character Narrative.
- Begin your revision.
You will have one lesson to work on this draft in class before the final round of peer edits, so be sure to plan your time accordingly.