August 7, 2019

Personal Narrative Writing with Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold Author Study with Personal Narratives

Typically, one of the very first units in our Writer's Workshop are personal narratives. A couple of years ago I wanted to do something a little different than the standard book creation of the students' final copies. This was when the thought hit me to do a focused author study who wrote about her own life in conjunction with our workshop curriculum: Faith Ringgold. If you're unfamiliar with Ringgold, she writes beautiful children's books that started originally as story quilts (see here for more information). So during our unit, we use several of her books as our mentor texts, with Tar Beach being the main one that we re-read a couple of different times. The writing process lessons were very much the same, the only huge difference with this change is that students produce their final story in the form of a "story quilt" as you see below. A couple other mentor texts that I used when teaching personal narrative writing and highly recommend as well additionally are My Great Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston and Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran.

Faith Ringgold Inspired Story Quilt

From left to right we have a story about a Ferris wheel ride at a carnival, a boat ride while vacationing, and the welcoming of a new kitten into a family. The story below was about a blueberry picking trip over the summer. 

Faith Ringgold Inspired Story Quilt

For these story "quilts" students created a frame with scrap fabric (I had a stash they could pick from), drew one scene from their stories in the center  (we used canvas squares as the base), followed by writing the final story on the back. Additionally, students had to turn in a typed copy of their final story with their quilts. 

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