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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.Here are some examples of what that kind of flexibility could allow: If we aren’t too restrictive about what we call these pieces, and we talk about different possibilities with our students, we can end up with lots of interesting outcomes.
Without even thinking about it, they begin sentences with “This one time…” and launch into stories about their earlier childhood experiences.
Students are natural storytellers; learning how to do it well on paper is simply a matter of studying good models, then imitating what those writers do.
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.
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.
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 .
In my own classroom, I tended to avoid having my students write short stories because personal narratives were more accessible.
I could usually get students to write about something that really happened, while it was more challenging to get them to make something up from scratch.