Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Personal Narrative
Lesson 4
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Lesson
Handouts
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework

Purpose:

Learners write personal narratives to document activities, insights, research, impact, and discoveries of their firsthand experience with civic engagement, service, and volunteerism. By explaining involvement in action for the common good, learners raise awareness of a social issue, the need for change, and the impact individuals can have by giving time, talent, or treasure for the common good.

 

Duration:

Two to three 50 minute class periods plus additional time for research

Objectives:

The learner will:

  • use the techniques of writing narratives.
  • use their personal experience, research, and/or their journal entries as a basis for their narratives.
  • participate in peer review.

Materials:

  • Resources for writing the narratives may include persuasive essays from Lesson One, news stories from Lesson Two, and journal entries from Lesson Three.
  • Learner copies of a personal narrative about service and volunteerism. Examples may be found at:
    http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=learn.whatlike.ownwords  
    http://www.americorps.gov/for_individuals/current/stories.asp
  • Learner copies of Attachment One: Feedback Forum Sheet- Personal Narrative
  • Learner copies of Attachment Two: Personal Narrative – Rubric
  • Learner copies of Attachment Three: Unit Post-Test
  • Teacher copy of Attachment Four: Unit Post-Test Answer Key
Handout 1
Feedback Forum Sheet-Personal Narrative
Handout 2
Personal Narrative-Rubric
Handout 3
Unit Post-Test
Handout 4
Unit Post-Test Answer Key

Instructional Procedure(s):

Day One:
Anticipatory Set:
Provide the learners with an example of a personal narrative piece of writing about service and/or volunteerism from the web sites listed in the Materials section. Allow the learners time to read the example. Then discuss what techniques the author uses to make the narrative accessible to the reader (details, descriptions, conversations).

  • Tell the students their assignment is to write a personal narrative about their own experience with a service-learning, volunteering, or civic engagement event. Before the learners begin their personal narrative, they write a statement of purpose. The purpose should include sharing their personal experience, expressing opinions and insights about a social issue, and advocating for action.
  • The most important goal of their narrative is to communicate the impact the service learning had on their own attitudes and actions.
  • Using the example narratives from the links provided in the Materials section as models, teach the students about the structure and format of their narratives. Discuss tense (past or present), point of view (first person), effective introductions (attention-grabbing and summary of main points), transitions, and conclusions (powerful, building to crescendo). 
    Remind learners to:
    • show (using sensory detail and conversation) not just tell about their experiences.
    • use comparisons in metaphors and similes to help the reader identify with the social concern.
    • use genuine voice so that the narratives are personal, real, and appropriate for their purpose and audience.
    • include accurate facts.
    • think about their audience.
    • write with fluency and clarity.
  • Give students time to start a rough draft about their experience during class. Pair up students to share these initial drafts with one other person for informal feedback. Suggest that they can use their persuasive essay, news story, and journal entries as resources for this writing project.

Days Two and Three:

  • During the next two class periods, have the learners develop their personal narratives.
  • As the learners complete their narratives, have them partner with other learners and use Attachment One: Feedback Forums – Personal Narrative to respond to each other’s rough drafts.
  • Meet with each learner individually to discuss his/her rough draft, making suggestions as how to refine their narratives.
  • Use editing groups so that other learners can check for organization, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and word choice before they write their final draft.
  • Ask the class to consider how their personal narratives might be used to inspire others to service. They may compile their narratives in a class book. They may host an after-school or evening “coffee house” reading for their families and/or peers. They may submit the narratives to the school newspaper or a local newspaper.
     

Assessment:

  • Learners will be assessed on the content of their personal narratives, including the description of community involvement, the conflicts/tensions involved in the social concern, the impact on the social issue, and the effect the involvement had on them personally. They will also be assessed on their narrative's organization and mechanics (Attachment Two: Personal Narrative - Rubric).
  • Assess student understanding of the entire writing unit through Attachment Three: Unit Post-Test

School/Home Connection:

Encourage learners to share their narratives with their family members.

Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

As an extension, students may record their personal essays on video.

Bibliographical References:

  • Abbott, H. Porter. The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Hacker, Diana. A Writer’s Reference. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s 2003. (ISBN: 0-312-39767-4)
  • Lunsford, Andrea and Robert Connors. The New St. Martin’s Handbook. Boston:  Bedford/St. Martins, 1999. (ISBN: 0-312-16744-X)
  •  “Personal Narrative Samples.” Library Information Services. 17 Mar.2008.
    http://library.springbranchisd.com/sbisd_library/personal_narratives.htm.
  • Yetman, Norman R., ed. When I Was a Slave: Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collection. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 2002. (ISBN:0-486-42070-1)

Lesson Developed By:

Sharon Rocker
Curriculum Consultant
Learning to Give

Barbara Dillbeck
Director
Learning to Give

Handouts:

Handout 1Print Handout 1

Feedback Forum Sheet-Personal Narrative

I.    As each group member reads aloud his/her paper, think about the following questions and be ready to give the reader constructive feedback.

II.  Each listener responds to the reader by restating what the paper says and naming what is especially engaging about the narrative. This feedback helps the writer know whether s/he has commmunicated effectively.

III.  Use the following questions to guide the feedback discussion.

A. What are three details that help you participate in the experience?

 

B.  What is the basic conflict/tension regarding the social issue?

 

C.  How did the experience contribute to solving the issue or raising awareness about the social injustice or need?

 

D.  How did this experience change or confirm the writer’s attitude toward the social issue?

 

E.  What did the writer discover about him/herself after working for social change?



F.  How does the writer’s experience affect your ideas, attitudes, or awareness of the social issue?

Handout 2Print Handout 2

Personal Narrative-Rubric

I.  Rough draft and feedback sheet from peer review
                                                                                                                         _____/10

II. Content:                           

A. Description of the experience
  1.  Sensory detail
  2.  Conversation/dialogue                                                           _____/10

 B. Clarification of the conflict/tension
  1.  Need
  2.  Opposing forces                                                                      _____/10

 C. Effect/impact on social issue
  1.  Measurable change
  2.  Awareness building                                                               _____/15

 D. Effect on self
  1.  Attitude
  2.  Commitment/action                                                               _____/15

III.   Organization

 A.   Introduction
  1.  Interesting opening
  2.  Thesis                                                                                     _____ /10

 B.  Body
  1.  Consistency of organization
  2.  Transitions between points
  3.  Properly cited evidence                                                       _____ /10

 C.  Conclusion
  1.  Strong statement of position
  2.  Necessity for action                                                             _____ /10

IV. Mechanics

A.  Word choice/clarity/fluency
B.  Syntax
C.  Spelling
D.  Punctuation                                                                           _____/10     

                                                                          Total _______/100


                                                                         Grade _______

Comments:
 

Handout 3Print Handout 3

Unit Post-Test

Circle the best answer.


1. Which of the following would be the best example of persuasive writing?

a. a presidential Inauguration speech

b. a stock owners’ annual report

c. a toast honoring a retiree

d. a research report

e. a campaign speech
 

2. Submitting writing to be scrutinized by fellow writers for the purpose of improving it is called
 
a. a brainstorming session.
 
b. a fact finding mission.

c. a peer review.

d. a group therapy session.

e. a writers’ workshop.
 

3. To lobby others to vote in favor of a particular amendment, bill, or law, the best writing style would probably be

a. creative writing.

b. persuasive writing.

c. expository writing.

d. journal writing.

e. narrative writing.
 

4. Considering one’s audience, mentioning the opposing point of view, building up to an exciting conclusion, appealing to the emotions, and supporting ones position in a logical and clear manner are all examples found in effective

a. creative writing.

b. persuasive writing.

c. expository writing.

d. journal writing.

e. narrative writing.
 

5. The best place to write one’s personal reflections on the meaning and significance of an event is

a. a notebook or loose leaf notepad.

b. a diary.

c. a calendar.

d. a journal.

e.  a photo album.
 

6. Which of the following should be of least concern to a writer who is attempting to influence his/her audience?

a. the organization and development of his/her thoughts and ideas

b. spelling and grammar

c. a logical and sequential explanation of his/her position on the issues

d. whether or not everyone will react favorably to his/her point of view

e.  a captivating conclusion
 

7. Persuasive writing at its best concludes with

a. a detailed plan of action.

b. a derogatory remark about other alternatives.

c. a brief summary of all that has been written.

d. a listing of multiple options.

e. a motivating challenge.
 

8. A newspaper article should not include

a. the writer’s personal opinion.

b. direct quotes from those being interviewed.

c.  just the facts of the story.
 
d. a headline that summarizes the story.

e. a lead sentence or paragraph that “grabs” the reader’s attention.
 

9. If a writer was not interested in whether someone reads his/her writing, he or she would most likely be attracted to

a. creative writing.

b. persuasive writing.

c. expository writing.

d. journal writing.
 
e. narrative writing.
 

Handout 4Print Handout 4

Unit Post-Test Answer Key

 

Circle the best answer.


1. Which of the following would be the best example of persuasive writing?
e. a campaign speech
 

2. Submitting writing to be scrutinized by fellow writers for the purpose of improving it is called
c. a peer review.

3. To lobby others to vote in favor of a particular amendment, bill, or law, the best writing style would probably be
b. persuasive writing.

4. Considering one’s audience, mentioning the opposing point of view, building up to an exciting conclusion, appealing to the emotions, and supporting ones position in a logical and clear manner are all examples found in effective
b. persuasive writing.
 

5. The best place to write one’s personal reflections on the meaning and significance of an event is
d. a journal.

6. Which of the following should be of least concern to a writer who is attempting to influence his/her audience?
d. whether or not everyone will react favorably to his/her point of view

7. Persuasive writing at its best concludes with
e. a motivating challenge.
 

8. A newspaper article should not include
a. the writer’s personal opinion.

9. If a writer was not interested in whether someone reads his/her writing, he or she would most likely be attracted to
d. journal writing.

Philanthropy Framework:

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