our year begins, like many others’, with a focus on narrative writing. our students are asked to write small moment personal narratives – that is, a true story from their life that happened in 20 minutes or less.
many of our writers struggle with writing small. their tendency is to tell about an entire day or an entire trip. our guess is that this happens because they feel like they’ll be able to write more (and, they think that more, longer writing means better writing) when it’s about a longer period of time and also because they’re unsure of how to zoom into what’s most important (or maybe even not sure of how to determine what’s most important).
we call our students’ writing that focuses on an entire day or an entire trip or an entire game “bed to bed” stories because these pieces include everything from the start to finish of the day or trip (or game – you get the idea). these pieces are usually summaries; they don’t feel like they’re written in the moment, like the story is happening now, but, instead, summarize what happened (because, when you’re telling about all of it, it’s hard to write all of the little details!).
after reading our on-demands, our two biggest goals for our first unit of study are almost always to make sure that everyone is able to zoom in and write smaller than they were able to at the beginning of the year, and also that they write in the moment, like the story is happening now.