Writer’s Workshop: Practicing Feedback through Storytelling

In preparation for a Writer’s Workshop (thoroughly explained in this post), Leslie Harris and I planned a lesson that utilized a “storytelling” technique and incorporated the use of the feedback stems for the Writer’s Workshop.

The learning targets for the lesson were as follows:

  • I can tell an engaging story that follows a narrative arc and uses well chosen details.
  • I can give useful feedback in the Writer’s Workshop format to help my partner improve his or her narrative skills.
  • I can reflect on someone feedback to improve my own narrative skills.

To begin the lesson, we reviewed the instructions handout (at the bottom of this post) with students to familiarize them with the process.  Then, Harris and I took turns modeling how to plan a story in writing (focusing on key moments that build the narrative arc) and then tell the story verbally.

During the teacher’s story, the students took notes, and then afterward, they gave positive and constructive feedback using the stems provided in the Writer’s Workshop process.

After modeling the process, students chose a story prompt, mapped out their own story in writing, and then shared their stories with a partner to receive feedback for improvement which they recorded on their worksheet.

Afterward, they reflected on the process, making connections to writing and feedback using an exit ticket (see bottom of the post).

The lesson was a successful introduction to peer feedback and a good review of narrative structure.  The exit ticket showed that students understood the need to “notice detail” when listening to give feedback and “be specific” about the sensory information they use in their own writing.

Here are the resources we used:

Here are some additional resources on verbal narrative (storytelling):

  • The Moth: a podcast and radio show where people tell “true stories, told live” without notes at “Moth” events.  There are many stories told by writers, actors, and performers.  Some are from people with jobs ranging from firefighter to teacher as well.
  • True Story: a podcast and radio show with the same premise as The Moth, but the storytelling events are usually smaller.  These events are not planned by a central organization, but instead by people who know about the show, plan an event themselves and then send the recording to the people at True Story

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