The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 4

Notes and Lesson Plans

Personal Narratives
updated July 29, 2020


Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.



Personal Narratives
for Class 4

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This page has helpful links and LOADS of free resources to help you plan your fourth grade year. Enjoy!


Rationale

This is the first block in which students are composing unique pieces of personal writing, as opposed to summarizing content learned in the main lesson. We did this block as the second Language Arts block in grade 4, with Grammar & Sentence Analysis as the first block.

Years ago when I taught this block I tried to combine it with Tall Tales, thinking this would be more efficient. It was my idea that students could write narratives about their life and then gradually stretch them to be Tall Tales. As it turns out, that isn't a very good idea. It is enough of a challenge to write up an event that truly happened. Plus, the Tall Tales block is actually a really good fit with other content blocks, such as Grade 3 Currency, Grade 4 Local History & Geography, or Grade 5 North American Geography. The Tall Tale figures personify the main industry of their region (cowboy, logger, etc.). So there's a lot going on there, and this topic should be given enough time.

In Waldorf education, generally speaking, students do Personal Narratives in grade 4, Friendly Letters in grade 5, Business Letters in grade 6, Creative Writing in grade 7, and Persuasive Writing / Essays / Speeches in grade 8.

Writing Personal Narratives
blog post from when Leah did this block in 2015


Main Text

There is no main text for this block. We used it as an opportunity to review Grammar and basic punctuation and introduce advanced punctuation. Since I taught this block at a unique time -- the outbreak of COVID-19 -- most of our homeschool group did this topic remotely. Thus the number of traditional activities. On the bright side, this is an easy topic to teach from a distance!

We composed seven short (one or two paragraphs, with the exception of the final one) narratives.



Suggested Activities

  • review complete sentence vs. sentence fragment


  • review subject and predicate


  • review Montessori grammar symbols; work in pairs to write & complete Mad Libs


  • review the writing process; compose, polish & publish student-written book reviews on Amazon

  • practice spelling in a fun way by playing Scrabble; read Scrabble dictionary


  • review basic punctuation marks (period, comma, question mark, exclamation point, apostrophe)

      Montessori Research & Development Word Study Set #3
      N1 through N10 - Periods
      O1 through O10, P9, P10 - Apostrophes for Contractions
      P1 and P2 - Apostrophe for Singular Possessive
      P3 through P8 - Apostrophe for Plural Possessive
      Q1 through Q10 - Commas

      useful for singular and plural possessive is Whose Truck? by Toni Buzzeo & Jim Datz:
      the lineworkers'
      the firefighters'
      the highway maintenance workers'
      the EMTs'
      the crane operator's (singular -- there is only one operator)
      the broadcast team's (irregular plural noun ending without s)

      Noun Quiz (TpT - free)

      Different Types of Nouns Mad Libs (TpT - free)


  • practice editing by finding mistakes in the writing of others


  • review alphabetizing and guide words for looking up a word in the dictionary to check its spelling


  • write short personal narrative #1 which includes basic punctuation marks

  • review run-on sentences


  • review colon and semicolon; write short personal narrative #2 which includes one of these

  • read Ty's One-Man Band by Mildred Pitts Walter
    teach hyphen; write short personal narrative #3 which includes a unique hyphenated adjective

    note: also good for this would be Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss (the Elephant-Bird!)


  • read Brave Irene by William Steig
    teach personification


  • read Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Poetry and Color by Mary O'Neill
    teach metaphor and simile


  • read Steve Light books
    teach onomatopoeia; write short personal narrative #4 which includes rich figurative language


  • read Down the Road by Alice Schertle
    teach ellipsis; write short personal narrative #5 which includes one

    note: also good for this would be When Sophie Gets Angry -- Really, Really Angry... by Molly Bang


  • review parentheses; teach dash; write short personal narrative #6 which includes one of these

      Clocca Concepts Punctuation Boxes - Parentheses & Brackets

      Rule: Use parentheses to enclose information that clarifies or is used as an aside.

      Richard Bender (remember him?) stopped by to see me yesterday.

      Jordan (the girl that lives in the yellow house) invited Alayna to her birthday party.

      The liquid was brought to 100 degrees Celsius (the boiling point of water) and then poured into the pan.

      The new Mustang is super-fast (it goes from zero to 60 mph in just six seconds).


      Rule: Use parentheses for special items.

      Amelia Earhart (1897 - 1937) was a famous aviator.

      His phone number is (828) 555-5551.

      I need three items from the store: (1) apples, (2) bread, and (3) milk.

      The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) requires that all adopted animals be spayed or neutered.


  • read Semicolons, Cupcakes, and Cucumbers by Steve Newberry
    teach quotation marks; write a longer personal narrative #7 which includes dialogue


  • teach brackets

      Clocca Concepts Punctuation Boxes - Parentheses & Brackets

      Rule: Use brackets inside of parentheses to separate text.

      (Possible dates are April 15, May 3, June 2 [a Saturday], June 14...)

      (Attendees were Joan, Adrienne, Carol [for the second half of the meeting], and Luis.)

      Johnny went to the store with his list of items (bread, milk [fat-free], peanut butter, and jelly).

      Jan went to the shop with his list of items (Lapsang Souchong, coffee [ground, not instant], and golf balls), but all he came back with was a stapler.


      Rule: Use brackets to modify another person's words.

      The contract states that "she [Natalie Portman] is required to do a total of two movies with Warner Bros. by 2020."

      "He [the florist] arranged the dinner tables' floral arrangements."

      He began his speech by saying, "I appreciate it [the honor], but I must refuse."

      In Thomas Jefferson's time, there was definitely the notion that "A little rebellion now and then [was] a good thing."


      Rule: Use brackets to indicate errors.

      The sign said, "Closed on Wendsday [sic]."

      She wrote, "They made there [sic] beds."

      "This law does not apply in our grate [sic] state."

      Roberts stated, "Dolphins is [sic] beautiful animals."


  • make sure all drafts have been edited and rewritten; share a piece with the class; create portfolio


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