A Literary Trade off
Digital Trading Card Lesson
For me, the writing of narratives has always been one of the more enjoyable things to teach. Students enjoy the process of imagining and bringing their ideas to life. They all have a story to tell and seem eager to share it with others. Getting students to bring an idea to the writing table is easy. However, the main angst for most teachers is preparing students to structure their writing to reflect a well developed engaging piece that clearly indicates a firm grasp of the writing techniques taught. The purpose of this lesson is to offer students a creative avenue for building the main characters and details of the setting prior to writing. With this, students will have a solid foundation to begin writing a narrative.
“A Literary Trade Off”, focuses on CCSS.W.3: “Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.”
In this lesson, students will use an application called Trading Cards to complete their prewrite. While using this application, they are expected to develop the main characters and the setting.
Students are provided several prompts. They can choose to write a fictional or nonfictional piece. Before beginning, students should have an understanding of what makes a good narrative. They should understand that a narrative is built upon a plot. It must contain enough details and structure to engage the reader and guide them to the climax.
After selecting a prompt, students decide on main characters and a setting. Once they have a general idea of who, where, and why, they are ready to use the Trading Cards application. The application provides a perfect outline for students to enter details that will speak to critical elements of character development. Once all cards are created and printed, students are partnered or placed in a small group for discussion. They will trade their cards with peers. The point of this activity is to engage students in enriching conversations that require them to think deeply about how their characters impact their story. This takes a prewrite to a new level.
Trading Cards ,created by readwritethink, is a simple application that provides an outline that will help guide students through the development of characters and settings. It is far from being just another outline for writing. It prepares students to think about elements of their writing on a much higher level. While using the application, students will address five broad areas for each character; background, description, development, memorable moments, and personal connection. They will also address five for the setting; description, importance, major even, additional information, and personal connections.
After completing the cards, they are ready to be printed, shared and discussed with peers.