Once students have become more adept at carefully observing, analyzing, discussing, relating to and appreciating these pieces of art within the museums, during our third visit to the Yale Center for British Art, I will allows students to select one painting from the permanent collection from which they feel inspired to write a narrative. In so doing, they can use what they had written previously along with the knowledge they now have about the historical time period of the painting as a spring–board from which to develop a complete narrative which will include thought–shots, snapshots, gestures and dialogue.
Since we will only have a limited amount of time at the museum, I will make use of a narrative frame, inspired by a workshop I attended of Nancy Boyles, which will guide the children to jot down the basic components of their story as it occurs to them while gazing upon the work of art which inspired it. When we arrive back at school, students will be given the chance to further develop their narratives while the image and experience of the authentic piece of art is still fresh in their minds.
It is important to note that my students are already familiar with the writing diamond and those components of an 'entertaining beginning', 'elaborate middle' and 'extended ending', which make a narrative complete. With the guidance of Nancy Boyles' training, I have taught my students how to use 'gesture', 'dialogue', 'thought–shots' and 'snapshots' as a means of making a story come to life. Boyles advises teachers to bring about an awareness of these very elements in the stories, which children read and enjoy.
Through a gradual release of responsibility by means of a scaffolded story frame, I have led children of various writing abilities to where they are able to craft their own complete Narrative by way of following its simple and logical structure. So too have my students been exposed to a number of narrative prompts, wherein they are required to create a story within the confines of the prompt, (be it interesting and meaningful or not). It is for this reason, that I feel gaining inspiration from a much more artfully liberating source given by these authentic paintings, will greatly appeal to the students' creative spirit.
I will next engage my students in self and peer editing as a means of further developing their awareness of the components of Narrative, which make it come to life. I strongly feel that the self–evaluation process becomes a tool for student growth as students become more comfortable and adept at critiquing their own work. I thereby created a checklist for students to refer to upon completion of their narrative as a means of providing suggestions for what aspects of their story could be improved, most notably in the way of reminding them to make use of "dialogue', thought–shot', 'snapshot' and 'gesture' but also to ensure that the story is fluent, elaborate and organized.
Once students have adequately revised and edited their own narrative, peer editing can ensue. I have created a student–friendly feedback form, which my students can use to offer suggestions, give compliments and grade each other's writing, in the areas of organization, fluency and elaboration. In this way, the students take seriously their responsibilities to each other and can feel a sense of pride in their ability to share their observations suggestions and opinions.
When it comes time for me to provide meaningful feedback, I make use of a student–friendly rubric, which indicates the criteria they were to include in their story and the degree to which they were successful in incorporating it into their narratives. Students always have an opportunity to revise and edit their story again after receiving my feedback and meeting with me, one on one, to discuss their strengths and areas for improvement. (See Lesson Plan 2)