Narrative Unit of Study: 6 th Grade Mystery

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1 : Day 1 Immersion & Noticings STAGES: Immersion Day 2 Immersion & Noticings Benchmark Unit 4 Week 2 Day 1 Poster Chart Paper/marker ELMO Benchmark Unit 4 Week 2 Day 2 Poster Chart Paper/marker/ELMO Use either the ELMO or the poster to have a class discussion on the features of a mystery. You may need to use think aloud strategies to promote thinking. Create a chart of noticings that you can add to each day. Do not expect to cover all of them in one day. You will spend 4-5 days reading and discussing mysteries. You can add to your chart each day. Use either the ELMO or the poster to have a class discussion on the features of a mystery. You may need to use think aloud strategies to promote thinking. Add to your mystery Noticings chart. *One interesting way to introduce mystery could be to use clips from Scooby-Doo. Possible Noticings : Narrative (tells a story from 1 st or 3 rd person) Plot revolves around a crime Detective (amateur or professional) Feeling of suspense red herring Minor characters This lesson corresponds with the whole group reading lesson. Reader s Workshop continues with guided reading. Possible Noticings : Dialogue Clues Detective reveals culprit at the end Notice with your class if any features you charted yesterday were in today s mystery. This lesson corresponds with the whole group reading lesson. Reader s Workshop continues with guided reading.

2 Day 3 Immersion & Noticings Benchmark Unit 5 Week 4 Day 3 Close Reading Text Chart Paper/marker ELMO Use either the ELMO or the poster to have a class discussion on the features of a mystery. You may need to use think aloud strategies to promote thinking. Add to your mystery Noticings chart. Possible Noticings : Descriptive language Cliff hanger at the end of a chapter or scene Day 4 Immersion & Noticings Benchmark Unit 4 Week 2 Day 3 Close Reading Text Chart Paper/marker/ELMO Use either the ELMO or the poster to have a class discussion on the features of a mystery. You may need to use think aloud strategies to promote thinking. Add to your mystery Noticings chart. Possible Noticings: (unrelated to genre) hyperboles, portmanteau words, use of parenthesis Continue to notice if any of the previous noticings apply to this text. STAGES: Immersion Day 5 Immersion & Noticings Review the parts of a mystery with your class. Prepare them for next week when they will begin planning and writing their own mysteries. Continue to notice if any of the previous noticings apply to this text. This lesson corresponds with the whole group reading lesson. Reader s Workshop continues with guided reading. This lesson corresponds with the whole group reading lesson. Reader s Workshop continues with guided reading. This lesson corresponds with the whole group reading lesson. Reader s Workshop continues with guided reading.

3 Topics: Day 6 Definition Day Plan and organize your mystery Chart Paper/marker ELMO Graphic Organizer Today, create a class definition about what the genre of a mystery includes. The following is a POSSIBLE definition that might be created. Once the definition has been created, students should have access to the definition. It should be written on chart paper and posted in the classroom and/or typed out and placed in the Writer s Resource Folder. Mysteries are a form of narrative writing. A mystery is a story about a person solving a crime or uncovering the cause of a puzzling event. Mysteries have detectives and clues. Sometimes they have red herrings, or false clues, to trick the reader. Next, students should begin planning the mystery they will write. Give students the graphic organizer found in the resource section of the unit. Have them consider the characters depicted in the mystery and the problem/solution. Students will have a few days to develop their storyline with each of the following days focusing in on a specific story element. Students will fill out the organizer tomorrow. Today s purpose is mostly genre definition and thinking about their writing. (Padlet could be used this day to incorporate technology.) If time permits, allow students time to work on their graphic organizers and plan their mysteries. Day 7 Major & Minor Characters Graphic Organizer from Day 6 Today, review the definition of a mystery that was created on Day 6. Discuss with students the key elements that you will expect from the mystery they will write. Refer to the rubric/checklist provided to make sure to explain all the requirements to the students. Next, continue to have students complete their graphic organizer from Day 6. Students should focus in on the characters included in the mystery. Mysteries are usually completely mapped out before being written. The author needs to know how the mystery will be solved and what clues to put in the story before they even begin writing. We call this beginning at the end. Consider the following to spark the thought process: Who is the detective? What is the mystery? How will it ultimately be solved? What clues will you provide? What red herrings will be in the story? Will anyone help the detective? Will anyone hinder the detective? Allow students time to work on their graphic organizers and plan their mysteries. Topics: STAGES: Mini-lessons Day 8 Main Character: detail and background o Using adjectives o Figurative language Graphic Organizer from Day 6 Island Authors use a lot of detail to introduce characters so that the reader really gets a sense of who the characters are. Read the last paragraph on page 63 of Island. Discuss with the students the variety of ways the author described Mr. Studak. (simile, adjectives, visual description, relationship, skills.) Knowing all this about Mr. Studak really helps us to see him and understand him as a character in the story. A second example of good description is on page 63 when the author describes Bob Ellingson and Harris. Have the students add some ideas to their graphic organizers about how they can better develop their characters in their stories. Over the next few days, students should be working on writing their mysteries. If they finish early, they can go back and revise sections or write a second mystery.

4 Day 9 Sequence of Events o Unfold the Clues o Red Herrings o Sequence Words Graphic organizer Island When the author writes a mystery, they carefully plan the events to intentionally reveal clues. Often times, the reader does not realize a clue was revealed until the mystery is solved. The author also adds in red herrings to mislead the reader. For example, in Island the author begins the story with the fight between Bob and Harris. This leads the reader to believe they are involved in the murder later on in the story. The author has to seamlessly move from one event to the next. Transition words help this, but so does using phrases and clauses. Look at paragraph 3 on page 64 and see how the author puts the word finally inside the sentence rather than at the beginning. Look at the first paragraph of Chapter 2 on page 65 to see how the author uses phrases to move the story from one scene to the next. Have the students turn & talk to try out some phrases they could use in their stories to move the action along. Students should be working on drafting their mysteries. Creating a Mood Island Day 10 In a mystery, the author has to set a mood. Often times this mood is serious or suspenseful. Sometimes it can be comical. Let s look at how the author of Island sets the mood for the story. Look at page 64, second column. Read this part aloud and discuss what type of mood the author has set (serious). What words add to that mood (expression froze, voice trailed off, blood-splattered hiking boots)? Look at page 64, first column. Read this part aloud and discuss what type of mood the author has set (intense, fastpaced) What words add to that mood (ordered us, ran, frozen in disbelief)? You could use other examples from other stories you have read. When you are writing today, think about how you can create a mood in your story. What words can you add that will add to the mood? Students should be working on drafting their mysteries. Dialogue tags Island STAGES: Mini-lessons Day 11 Today we are going to look at different ways to add dialogue to the story. A dialogue tag is where the author tells the reader who is speaking (i.e. he said). The dialogue tag can be at the beginning, end, or even in the middle of the dialogue. Regular descriptive sentences can also surround dialogue. The author also indicates a new speaker by creating a new paragraph every time the speaker changes. Page 65, second column of Island offers many examples of how to move the dialogue tag. Read this column and display it for students to see. Indicate how the punctuation changes as the dialogue tag moves. You may want to make an anchor chart to show examples of dialogue tags so students can refer to it while writing. State your expectations for including dialogue within the mysteries students are writing. Students should be working on mysteries. drafting their

5 Idioms & hyperboles Island Day 12 Authors can use figures of speech to help get their point across. One way to do this is by using idioms. An idiom is an expression that has a meaning different than the literal meaning of the words that create the expression. For example, to face the music means to accept the unpleasant consequences of your actions. A score to settle means to get even with someone. In Island the author uses frozen in disbelief to describe how unbelievable the situation is. Of course, the characters are not really frozen. He also uses the phrase take care of business which means to get something done. It s not specifically related to business. Here you may choose to give your class a list of common idioms. A website for idioms is provided on the cover page. The author also used hyperbole. A hyperbole is an exaggeration. In Island the author used jumped a mile out of my skin (pg.66), eternity (pg. 68), and heard a gerbil recite the Gettysburg Address (pg.68) Have partners turn & talk to think of other idioms that can be included in their mysteries. Students should be working on drafting their mysteries. Day 13 Subtle Details - clues Island of the Stolen Trophy One way the author gives the clues is through very subtle details. For example, in Island the author casually mentioned that Mr. Studak s whistle didn t work. Later it is revealed that the whistle was a dog whistle. In of the Stolen Trophy, the scrap of fabric and screw were a clue. It is not revealed until later that the screw was for glasses. Today have students look over their clues. Are they subtle or do they obviously point to the culprit? Have students think about how they can introduce at least one of their clues subtly. Have the students turn & talk with a partner to try to make their clues more subtle. Students should be working on drafting their mysteries. Day 14 Revision o strong lead o strong ending, o twists and turns Revision Checklist highlighters or colored pencils STAGES: Mini-lessons & Revision Students should have a completed first draft of their mysteries. Today they will be revising their paper. Today students will be revising their mystery. As you have conducted writing conferences, you may have noticed trends or weaknesses in their mysteries that could be addressed with the entire class. Feel free to address the trends in your revision mini-lessons. As students revise, you may want them to use highlighters or colored pencils so you can more easily see their revisions. Ways to revise: Go back to your writing and find 3 places to use stronger verbs, adjectives, or adverbs. (Choose 1 or do more in separate steps.) As students write mysteries, sometimes in their attempt to add red herrings or extra twists and turns, the reading becomes too complex and difficult for the reader to follow. To be able to revise this, you may have students partner up and read their mysteries to each other. The partner can tell the author if anything is confusing. If the author has to explain anything that is not written down, he/she will need to add to that part of the story. Students should have a completed draft. Today spend time revising.

6 Edit Capitals Dialogue Commas End marks Editing Checklist Rough Drafts Day 15 Today you can use the editing checklist from the launching unit (or your own) and have students go back and edit their work. You may want to see evidence of this process by teaching them how to use editing marks or by editing in a different color than the draft is written (or typed.) Students may need to edit for capitalization, spelling, end marks, punctuation in dialogue, or commas. It is easiest to introduce this process by having them go back to edit one specific skill at a time. For example, if you ask them to check for complete sentences, they may need to whisper read the paper aloud stopping deliberately at each end mark to think about if it was a complete thought or not. Time spent editing papers. Publish Laptops Rough Drafts Rubrics Days This week begins a new unit of Benchmark Literacy. As you switch your whole group back to reading instruction, the students will need to publish their wiring. They can type their stories during reader s workshop. If they are handwriting their stories, they can do that during reader s workshop as well. One idea for grading, is once students have final copies, you can print 2 copies. (Photocopy if it is hand written.) Have them go in and self-assess their essays by marking the things you are looking for. Have them highlight where they use 3 strong verbs. Have them indicate where they use dialogue and moved the speaker to various parts of the sentence. They can make each part with a colored pencil or highlighter. Then you will be able to see those parts easier when you grade. By making a copy, you have a clean published piece as well as one you can write on for grading. Publishing during reader s workshop. Writing Celebration! Published Mysteries STAGES: Edit & Publish Days Find time to celebrate the published mysteries completed by your students. It is important to acknowledge the hard work and perseverance put forth by your writers. Have students share their finished pieces or invite fellow colleagues or administrators to look over the published mysteries.

7 Grade 6 Narrative Writing Unit: What is mystery? Mysteries are a form of narrative writing. A mystery is a story about a person solving a crime or uncovering the cause of a puzzling event. Mysteries have detectives and clues. Sometimes they have red herrings or false clues, to trick the reader. What Read Alouds will I need? This unit is written to correlate with Benchmark Literacy Unit 4 Week 2. You will refer to the posters and longer close reading text. Most of the references are to the longer text, Island. You may want the Close Reading books available for students to look at during these lessons. Website for Idioms: Where can I take grades throughout this unit? The students will be producing a final copy of a mystery that can be graded by the provided rubric/checklist. Additionally this unit will talk about adjectives, hyperbole, idioms, and dialogue. You can take mini grades on these topics once they are taught. These topics are also assessed on the final rubric.

8 Grade 6 Narrative - Score Comments 0,1,2 Beginning states the mystery or puzzling situation Plot contains 3-5 main events 1 or 2 Red Herrings First/Third person Has detective Has a solution to a problem Describe character: Figurative language, visuals, etc. Dialogue Smooth Transitions (sequence of events) Idioms/hyperbole Revision Student has indicated revisions. Edit Story is free of major grammatical errors and sentences are complete. TOTAL

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