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A Chapter Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix & HistoryFix
Focus Trait: VOICE Support Trait: IDEA DEVELOPMENT

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Students: Publish your writing to this prompt on-line

Teachers: Discuss how you used this lesson on-line

This Lesson's Title:

Native American Oral Storytelling

borrowing the voice of
's storyteller to re-tell
a different story

This lesson was built for WritingFix after being proposed by NNWP Teacher Consultant
Bernice Servilican
at an
AT&T-sponsored in-service class for teachers.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the chapter book Waterlily by Ella Cara Deloria. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author, especially from chapter 6 of this novel.

Check out Waterlily at

If you are a Washoe County teacher, click here to search for this book at the county library.

Three-Sentence Overview of this Lesson:

Oral storytelling requires a listener to use the sense of hearing very carefully. A "writer" of oral stories must learn to be a listener as well as an observer. Inspired by the story-teller's voice from Ella Cara Deloria's novel, Waterlily, student writers will develop their own interpretation of a Native American story to share orally in the tradition of the Dakota people. Ulitmately, they will write down their oral stories, taking the written version through the writing process. Teachers: click here to read the entire lesson plan.

6-Trait Overview for this Lesson:

The focus of this writing assignment is voice; students will "borrow" the voice of Waterlily's story-teller when preparing their own oral story to first tell, then write down. The support trait for this assignment is idea development; writers will select an idea for an oral story and create a unique interpretation of the story.


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