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Revising the Narrative Essay

Lesson Plan

Revising the Narrative Essay


Students will learn to effectively revise a personal narrative essay. Students will:

  • give and receive constructive feedback in preparation for writing a final draft of the narrative essay.
  • revise drafts for
    • development of characters, setting, problem, resolution, and theme.
    • precise language.
    • showing instead of telling.
    • effective opening and conclusion.
    • organization.
    • conventions.

Essential Questions

What is the purpose?
What makes clear and effective writing?
What will work best for the audience?
Who is the audience?
Why do writers write?
  • Why do writers write? What is the purpose?
  • What makes clear and effective writing?
  • Who is the audience? What will work best for the audience?
  • How do grammar and the conventions of language influence spoken and written communication?


  • Conventions of Language: Mechanics, usage, and sentence completeness.
  • Focus: The center of interest or attention.
  • Imagery: Descriptive or figurative language in a literary work.
  • Literary Devices: Tools used by the author to enliven and provide voice to the writing (e.g., dialogue, alliteration).
  • Literary Elements: The essential techniques used in literature (e.g., characterization, setting, plot, theme).
  • Narrative: A story, actual or fictional, expressed orally or in writing.
  • Point of View: The way in which an author reveals characters, events, and ideas in telling a story; the vantage point from which the story is told.
  • Style: How an author writes; an author’s use of language; its effects and appropriateness to the author’s intent and theme.
  • Theme: A topic of discussion or writing; a major idea broad enough to cover the entire scope of a literary work.
  • Tone: The attitude of the author toward the audience and characters.
  • Voice: The fluency, rhythm, and liveliness in writing that make it unique to the writer.


90–120 minutes/2 class periods

Prerequisite Skills

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Formative Assessment

  • View
    • Observe and evaluate students on their in-class discussions, and review and provide feedback on students’ first draft of their narrative prior to assigning the end-of-unit assessment.

Suggested Instructional Supports

  • View
    Scaffolding, Active Engagement, Modeling, Explicit Instruction
    W: Each student revises a rough draft and writes a final draft of a personal narrative. 
    H: Students participate in small-group editing sessions. 
    E: Students use a task-specific rubric to evaluate their own essays and those of their peers. 
    R: Students revise their essays after receiving feedback; students offer feedback on the essays of others in their group. 
    E: Each student uses the feedback of others and self-evaluation to revise a rough draft in preparation for writing a final essay. 
    T: As students experience the writing process, you may spend more time with students who need additional practice at different stages. Students who might need extra practice with revising and editing may make appointments to conference one-on-one with you. 
    O: Students may be encouraged to publish their narratives online.  

Instructional Procedures

  • View

    Focus Question: How can we use the revision and editing steps of the writing process to improve a narrative essay?

    Part 1

    “You have all done a lot of work to study the elements and devices in your drafts, and you’ve worked in groups to develop your theme. Now you will use the Narrative Essay Revising and Editing Guidelines to review what you have written. In your small groups, give and listen to feedback on the use of the guidelines.” Give each student a copy of the Narrative Essay Revising and Editing Guidelines (LW-7-3-3_Revising and Editing Guidelines.docx). Place students in small groups and explain that they will be giving and receiving feedback on their narrative essays using these guidelines to evaluate the essays. Students should also have their completed graphic organizers for reference. Tell them they will use the feedback they receive from you and from their peers to write a final draft of the essay.

    Explain the purpose of the peer editing process: to uncover weaknesses in the essay so that the writer can strengthen the essay before writing a final draft. Students should also point out the strengths of the essay or what they liked most. Explain that feedback is most helpful when it is specific. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t like the ending,” say, “I really don’t understand how the problem was solved,” or “I’m not sure the main character learned the lesson that you hinted at.”

    After students have given an overall response to the essay, they should use the highlighters to point out specific parts of the essay that need work. A different colored highlighter can be assigned to each section of the revision guidelines (for example, yellow for organization, pink for focus and content, etc.). Make sure that students take plenty of time with this step. Monitor the groups to ensure that they make good progress.

    Part 2

    When the groups have completed their editing, students are now ready to write the final draft. If you feel that students have too many edits to make based on so much feedback, divide the process into two rounds of revisions, one that focuses solely on your suggestions from the end of the last lesson, and one that incorporates their peer edits from this lesson. Explain that they should make major revisions first—e.g., content and organization—before fixing errors in grammar and conventions.

    “You’re now ready to write your final draft. There are many comments and editing opportunities to consider. Before you begin to make grammar and conventions edits, make the necessary revisions on content organization. Your content’s organization is what will tie the essay together and make it feel complete. If your content organization is strong, making edits to grammar and conventions will make the essay feel polished.”

    If appropriate, help students review correct usage of quotations with dialogue.

    Give students copies of the PSSA Grades 6–8 Narrative Scoring Guidelines (LW-7-3-3_PSSA Grades 6–8 Narrative Scoring Guidelines.docx). Explain that these rubrics are what you will use to evaluate the essay. They should refer to the guidelines as they write their final drafts to make sure that they have included all aspects of the rubric.


    • Have students publish their narratives online. (ClassChatter is a free Web site that will allow students to read and comment on each other’s stories. Only those with the teacher-created password will be allowed to read and comment on the posts.)
    • Students who need additional opportunities with revising will benefit from seeing an example of a revised/marked-up essay.
    • Students who are stalled during the revising and editing stages may make appointments to conference one-on-one with you.

Related Instructional Videos

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Final 07/12/2013
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