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Core Memories

Objective: Through brainstorming, peer sharing, and drafting, students will learn to write
narratives to develop real experiences or events using effective techniques, descriptive details,
and clear event sequences. The students will be able to identify their core memories and write
about it using descriptive language in order to show the event to their reader. This lesson helps
students focus on a specific topic and apply the skills previously learned in order to write a
personal narrative.

This is a part two lesson. The first lesson taught to the students was about descriptive
language such as beefing up sentences using different verbs.
The students have already practiced changing bland verbs into showing verbs (ex- walked
changes to trudged, scurried, or slithered)
The students will have already learned about showing versus telling in previous lessons.
The students already practiced showing versus telling, but without a prompt.

Target Age Group: 3rd grade students


First, the teacher will review with the students about showing vs telling.
Then, the teacher will play the 45 second clip for Disney Pixars movie Inside Out. :;
Ask the students what they understand about core memories, and explain that core
memories are events from the past that help shape who we are.
Have the students silently brainstorm a quick list of memories they think could be
possible core memories.
The students will then stand up and toe to toe with a partner. They will share their
brainstorming lists of core memories with their partner. With the help of their partners,
the students will decide on one core memory/event to focus on.
The students will then write 3-5 detailed sentences about that core memory.
The students will then share the sentences with a partner.
A few students will share with the class
Each student will be given a strip of paper where they can write a descriptive phrase that
describes their core memory, and the strips will be made into a paper chain that will be
displayed around the classroom as the class core memories.
Collect the 3-5 sentences papers, and the next lesson will be adding on to those sentences
to help better describe the core memory.

Colored paper; Markers; paper; pencil

Core memory brainstorm:

That time I fell off my bike at 10 years old
The day I got accepted into BYU
Mission call opening
Soccer injury at 15 y/o
Core Memory Descriptive Sentences:
I sat cross-legged on the couch, shaking with anticipation.
Sweat dripped down my back in the dead of winter.
In just a matter of seconds I would know where I would spend my 18 month service to the Lord.
I slowly ripped open the large pale envelope and scanned the page, and the words jumped out.
An audible gasp filled the room as I uttered Philippines Olongapo mission, speaking Tagalog.



Writing Assignment


Exceeds Expectations
(4-5 pts)

The student answers

and asks questions.
The student shares
his/her ideas with
peer. Takes critique
from peers well and
applies corrections.
The student offers
feedback to his/her
The student
participates in
discussion; takes
critique from peers
but does not execute

The student
effectively describes
their core memory
using descriptive
language and shows
more than tells.

Little to no
grammatical errors.

The student writes 3-5

sentences about a core
memory. The student
uses basic descriptive
words and basic
showing versus

Contains grammatical
errors, but can be
easily corrected/fixed.

Meets Expectations
(3-4 pts)

Needs Improvement
(1-2 pts)

The student does not

The student does not
participate in
write 3-5 sentences
discussion. The
OR does not use basic
student does not apply descriptive
critique to his/her
verbs/adjectives and
writing. Does not give tells us about the
effective feedback to
event rather than
showing it.
Are You Talking to Me?
Internal vs. External Dialogue

Contains many
grammatical errors.
Hard to understand
the meaning of the
sentences written.

Objective: Students will learn the difference between internal and external dialogue through
practicing aloud with partners. Students will learn how to properly use external and internal
dialogue in their narrative stories by reading literature where dialogue is used, physically writing
down a conversation between two people, and practicing the use of internal dialogue by first
drawing thought bubbles.
Background: Earlier in the week, the students will have already learned about narratives,
narrators/point of view/characters, and sequencing/transitions. Now that the students have their
characters, and they know the different points of view that will be speaking, we will introduce
the concept of dialogue and how to use dialogue to convey meaning between characters.

Watch the video clip from a movie where external dialogue is used. Use probing
questions to find out what your students understand about external dialogue. What is it?
Watch a video clip from a movie where internal dialogue is used (character is thinking,
but not saying anything). Ask the students what is different about this kind of dialogue.
Do you sometimes speak internally?
Give more examples of literature that uses both internal and external dialogue. Write on
the board the way that each type of dialogue is annotated. (Example: Quotation marks for
external; italicized words for internal)
Teach that there are many ways to say he said/she said
--Activity: draw a column on the board with the word said at the top. Have the students
give synonyms of the words and write them on the board. Ex) shouted, whispered,
exclaimed, hissed
The students will then have a 1 minute conversation with a partner about anything from
last weeks soccer game to last nights episode of The Voice and will write down the
conversation as best as they can remember, practicing quotation marks, and the different
ways to transition into external dialogue (the different verbage).
We would practice this more on the Tuesday or Thursday of that week, and review it at
the end of the unit before the final drafts of their core memories are due

Writing Assignement: Think of the core memory you have been working on. Add dialogue to
your story, keeping in mind the point of view you are writing in (first person). Have the students
look at their writing about the core memory, and choose one place where they can insert a

specific conversation that happened that made this core memory memorablemaybe it will be
between the student and their parent or friend, etc.
Explanation: This usage of conversation in this writing assignment will be used in the final
product/paper they will hand in showing us their core memory. In order to make this dialogue
most effective, we will have a class journal share, where the students will divide into groups and
will read their dialogue with expression to the group. The group will then tell the student what
they liked about the passage and also what they think they could improve on, what other words
could beef up their conversation more and make it more meaningful. The students will pay
special attention to the synonym words for said and will make sure they are using different
synonyms to better engage the reader. The group share will help the students better recognize
more synonyms for the word said, and will really benefit the revision/editing of the final paper.