K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • identify the characteristics of good endings in personal narrative picture books.
  • rewrite weak story endings by using the characteristics of good endings.
  • revise the ending of a draft of their own personal narrative.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

1 hour

Materials/resources

  • Make Your Choice Transparency (pdf | rtf)
  • Six pieces of chart paper with one of the following poor endings written on the top of each:
    • “We had a lot of fun.”
    • “Then we went home.”
    • “It was a fun time.”
    • “We drove home.”
    • “Finally we left.”
    • “I fell asleep on the way home.”
  • Copy of The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
  • Other books with good endings (see supplementary resources)
  • Great Endings sheet (pdf | rtf)
  • Vis-à-Vis markers

Technology resources

Overhead projector (or some other projection device)

Activities

Modeling/Mini-lesson

  1. Pass out paper or have students get out their journals. Tell students that you want them to take notes during the lesson. Discuss with students the importance of a good ending to a story.
  2. Point out that good endings may let the reader know how the writer feels and should wrap up the main idea of the story.
  3. Discuss the ending of the book The Relatives Came. Sometimes authors end their stories with a memory, a feeling, a wish, or a hope. Other times they end the story by referring back to the language of the beginning.
  4. Show the Making Choices transparency on the overhead. Discuss the story endings. Have students select the endings they like best and explain their reasons. Remind students to write down the good endings on their note sheet so they can file them in their writing notebooks.

Guided Practice

  1. Place students in six small groups.
  2. Pass out the chart paper with poor endings, one to each group. Have students work in small groups and think of better endings, keeping in mind that they need to refer back to the main idea of the story. Monitor and give assistance with group work.
  3. Have students share their endings with the class and discuss the characteristics of good endings (e.g., closure to the story, reflection of main idea).

Independent Practice

  1. Have students select a draft from their writing folders. Have them write at least 2 endings that use the characteristics of good endings and share their endings with a partner. Ask them to add one of the new endings to their draft.

Transfer

  1. Have students examine the characteristics of good endings for different genres, such as imaginative narrative, informational, persuasive, instructions, etc.

Assessment

  1. Can students choose the best ending for a story?
  2. Can students write a good ending for a narrative about a common event?
  3. Can students write a good ending for their own personal narrative?

Supplemental information

Books with Good Beginnings/Good Endings:

  • The Gentle Giant Octopus by Karen Wallace
  • Bat at Night by Nicola Davies
  • Look Out Jack! The Giant is Back! by Tom Birdeye
  • A Storm on the Desert by Carolyn Lesser
  • Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
  • Because of Winn Dixie by Kate Dicamillo
  • My Great Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston
  • Bubba, The Cowboy Prince by Helen Ketteman
  • Stop That Dog! The Great Gracie Chase by Cynthia Rylant
  • The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
  • Click Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin, Betsy Lewin (Illustrator)

Other Information:

  • Writing Feature(s): Organization
  • Writing Process Stage: Planning, Revising
  • Writing Environment: Expressive
  • Writing Genres: Personal Narrative

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Writing

        • Grade 2
          • 2.W.3 Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.
          • 2.W.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
        • Grade 3
          • 3.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. 3.W.3.1 Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds...
          • 3.W.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
        • Grade 4
          • 4.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. 4.W.3.1 Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize...
          • 4.W.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 2

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.08: Write structured, informative presentations and narratives when given help with organization.

Grade 3

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.02: Use oral and written language to:
      • present information in a sequenced, logical manner.
      • discuss.
      • sustain conversation on a topic.
      • share information and ideas.
      • recount or narrate.
      • answer open-ended questions.
      • report information on a topic.
      • explain own learning.

Grade 4

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.08: Focus revision on a specific element such as:
      • word choice.
      • sequence of events and ideas.
      • transitional words.
      • sentence patterns.
  • Goal 5: The learner will apply grammar and language conventions to communicate effectively.
    • Objective 5.09: Create readable documents through legible handwriting and/or word processing.