The work of the teachers featured in this site is a result of their participation in a Unit Design seminar series. These classroom teachers, previously trained in the fundamentals of writing workshop, attended this three-day seminar series to support their instructional planning for narrative writing.
During this Unit Design course, teachers planned a four-week genre study of narrative writing. The first two days were devoted to learning more about the attributes of narrative writing, and working with grade-level colleagues to write their four-week unit. Two important aspects of narrative writing were highlighted in the course; teaching strategies which help students 1) to identify the significance of the narrative they wish to tell, and strategies for crafting the narrative to make the significance clear; 2) design the plot or organizational structure of the narrative. Following the initial two day event, the teams completed their planning back at their local schools, and each teacher taught the study to his/her class. Five weeks later - during the third day of the seminar - teachers assessed student work gathered at the end of the study. They looked for ‘tracks of their teaching’ in the student work, reflected on the effectiveness of the study, and planned instructional adjustments they would make in the future.