Studying the writing standards of the Common Core State Standards, I have come to believe that students must be active and engaged in their learning and transfer previously learned skills in order to meet their expectations. Therefore, as we transition from one writing genre to another, students should understand the shift and be able to explain the similarities between one type of writing and another. When I met with one of the district's newer teachers to unpack the personal essay unit that follows the personal narrative one, we envisioned and designed the following chart to be created with students. I think that if I were teaching this lesson, I would complete the left side of the chart as an inquiry lesson, expecting that students could tell me the components of narrative writing, since they have just completed that unit. Then, I would explicitly teach the right side of the chart and have the chart to refer to throughout the personal essay/opinion unit.
I think that it is also important for students to learn and realize that writers don't have to re-invent topics. A good deal of the generating that writers did in a narrative unit is transferable to an opinion unit. To that end, I envision a chart that looks something like this:
As with the other chart, I would develop this chart in front of students and I would use the examples that they'd provide from their own personal narratives. I'm always interested in hearing about how other people are teaching or seeing students transferring their learning, so as always, I invite you to share!