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Fall 2021 SFL Writing Program: Our Autobiographies

September 13, 2021

By Rachel Virgin

This fall, DK English School Online students are learning about narrative writing. Over the course of this eight week program, students will receive explicit instruction on the purpose of both fictional narratives and autobiographies, as well as the components of writing a strong narrative piece rich with dialogue, character description, and plot.

Beginning with the deconstruction of mentor texts such as Coming to America, the DK English School team asks our students to explore the question “What makes a good story?” Together, we consider the different elements of narrative writing - including sequence of events, tension building, and orienting the reader in time and place - and work on identifying how to strengthen what we write.

Adapted from systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and genre theory pedagogy, this program teaches students about the narrative genre through scaffolded lessons wherein teachers encourage peer collaboration, and build up students’ confidence as they implement what they have learned in their own writing over time.

The program kicks off with an uncoached writing activity, where students are asked to write a short personal recount using the prompt “What’s My Story?” Over the weeks, students learn about the narrative genre, participate in collaborative activities where they learn key terms and techniques, and practice writing with instruction and support from their teachers. As the program concludes, students will revisit their uncoached writing, and use what they have learned to improve upon their own narrative pieces.

DK students and teachers alike love to see the amazing improvement made from the uncoached writing activity to the final pieces produced!

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