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Narrative Paragraph Frame

An Example Summarizing "Coyote Finishes His Work"

 
State the author, title of the work, and general topic of the story. Indent the paragraph and keep it in present tense. (The action is happening now as you read the story.)      The Nez Perce Indian tribe has a story called "Coyote Finishes His Work" that has been passed down for generations about a coyote who interacts with both people and Old Man Above.
Discuss the time and place (setting of the story) and the circumstances (background information) under which the story takes place. The story takes place at the beginning of human life on earth when Old Man Above assigns coyote the job of making people, giving them languages, and spreading them out across many places.
Describe the main characters and what makes them different from each other. Coyote is the main character and he is supernatural. Although he is a hero because he creates people and helps them, he also likes to play tricks on humans and animals. This gets him into trouble and he even dies and needs Fox and others to bring him back to life. Old Man Above is another character who is even more powerful than Coyote. He is God and his power has no limit. Earthwoman is the character of earth and she nurtures the humans and animals.
State the event that starts the main action of the story. The event that creates the story is Coyote filling the world with humans as Old Man Above tells him to do.
Explain what the main characters decide to do and their goal if they had one. Coyote's goal is to do what Old Man Above tells him and to have fun doing it.
Explain the reactions of the characters to the events which occur and state whether or not they achieve their goals. People and animals accept Coyote even though they don't like his tricks; they know that playing tricks is just something he does. Women have the most trouble with Coyote because even though he is ugly, he tricks girls into being with him. Coyote does his job though.
Discuss the consequences of the characters actions. Old Man Above comes to earth as the Great Spirit to tell Coyote that his work is done because people have spread across the land and have learned to take care of themselves. He prepares a home for Coyote and people never see him again.
State what the characters learn (and therefore what readers learn). Coyote, the animals, and people learn that there will come a time when all people and animals will live together with Old Man Above and Earthwoman who will return to her natural form. Those who have died will be reunited with the living. Everything will be wonderful.
Conclude and state the value of the literary work. Clearly, "Coyote Finishes His Work" is an important story because it teaches readers about the Nez Perce culture and how they believed the world was created and that it will end when Coyote returns and the universe will be whole and perfect.
   
Proofread and edit your final paragraph.      The Nez Perce Indian tribe has a story called "Coyote Finishes His Work" that has been passed down for generations about a coyote who interacts with both people and Old Man Above. The story takes place at the beginning of human life on earth when Old Man Above assigns coyote the job of making people, giving them languages, and spreading them out across many places. Coyote is the main character and he is supernatural. Although he is a hero because he creates people and helps them, he also likes to play tricks on humans and animals. This gets him into trouble and he even dies and needs Fox and others to bring him back to life. Old Man Above is another character who is even more powerful than Coyote. He is God and his power has no limit. Earthwoman is the character of earth and she nurtures the humans and animals. The event that creates a story is Coyote filling the world with humans as Old Man Above tells him to do. Coyote's goal is to do what Old Man Above tells him and to have fun doing it. People and animals accept Coyote even though they don't like his tricks; they know that playing tricks is just something he does. Women have the most trouble with Coyote because even though he is ugly, he tricks girls into being with him. Coyote does his job though. Old Man Above comes to earth as the Great Spirit to tell Coyote that his work is done because people have spread across the land and have learned to take care of themselves. He prepares a home for Coyote and people never see him again. Coyote, the animals, and people learn that there will come a time when all people and animals will live together with Old Man Above and Earthwoman who will return to her natural form. Those who have died will be reunited with the living. Everything will be wonderful. Clearly, "Coyote Finishes His Work" is an important story because it teaches readers about the Nez Perce culture and how they believed the world was created and that it will end when Coyote returns and the universe will be whole and perfect.
   
Note to Teachers: Research by Marzano and Sizer shows that students who write summaries and answer essential questions use higher level thinking skills and remember content better than they would if they just answer worksheet questions. They also develop their writing skills. To reduce your grading load, you can award points to students when they show their paragraph to you briefly for use as a ticket to join a student group. That group can then determine the best paragraph to submit for summative grading. Alternatively, the teacher can circulate among groups and award points for the discussion of the paragraphs. Another method is to use each paragraph as a ticket to join a group where students can help one another improve their paragraphs for use on a later summative multiple choice unit exam. That way students think, write, and learn, but teachers formally grade only the multiple choice unit exam.

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