I’ve spent this entire week traveling all over Alberta, Canada. I’ve worked with primary and intermediate level teachers, and I’ve worked with middle and high school teachers. I’ve worked with English and Science and Social Studies teachers. I’ve worked with French teachers. I’ve worked with Math teachers. And I’ve also worked with ELL teachers.¬†They support the Hutterites who live in their communities. Those children were born and raised in Canada. German is their first language.

Regardless of who I was working with or where, everyone agreed: narrative matters.

Narrative matters because stories humanize learning.

Stories ignite empathy.

Stories provide critical context for those of us who need to understand the facts.

They also drive our arguments home, and they help us remember who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we long to go.

This week, I devoted five minutes of each morning to the teaching of narrative writing. I considered the curiosities, questions, and issues that writing teachers often share with me, and I offered a few initial thoughts and a few practical ideas, too.

If you’re interested in having a peek, here’s a round up for you:

  • On Monday, I spoke about why narrative matters, and I said different things than I did up there, so give it a listen, if you’re interested.
  • On Tuesday, I advocated for prototyping a draft. Prototyping isn’t outlining. Not at all. I’d love to know your thoughts here.
  • And on Wednesday, I shared some thoughts about tinkering.
  • Thursday was all about dialogue.
  • And on Friday, I said it one more time for everyone in the back: I find that better narratives are often BUILT bit by bit.¬†

Remember friends: these are quick suggestions, and your experiences and ideas matter. The best way to teach narrative is learning target by learning target, following your students every step of the way. They’ll teach you how to teach them, if you watch and listen well.

Want to talk more? Connect with me and other writing teachers in the Building Better Writers Group on Facebook or nudge me on Twitter.

My digital courses on Pace Yourself consistently receive good feedback too, if that kind of learning is for you.


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