We want to give you a chance to reflect on and make sense of you lived experience of turning points.
What is a Turning Point Narrative?
We invite you to write a narrative essay describing a turning point in your life when you learned something important about who you want to be, what you value, or how you hope to participate or act in the world. Tap into and share your own experiences to consider who you are, what you care about, and who you want to be in your current and future life.
Typically, the turning point essay is relatively brief (two to three pages), and you may want to include visual images or use digital and AI tools to accompany your essay. Or you can write the essay and then create a short film with a voice-over to visually tell the story using digital tools such as iMovie.
The Turning Point Narrative centers on a time when you experienced a new understanding, a shift in perspective, or a deep investment in a particular topic. The main genre elements in the essay include:
- a strong leading sentence that hooks the reader
- detailed description and narration
- reflection about the event
- lessons learned.
We want you select a topic where you grew from the experience in some way: learned a lesson, realized something, or saw the issue in a new way. The experience does not have to be traumatic, but it can be. It should be an experience that you feel safe to share with others.
We’ll show you how to make lists and images to give you ways into your writing, and then we’ll support you to develop your narrative. We hope you will be proud of your work, edit it, and publish your Turning Point Narrative on Youth Voices.
Source for this playlist:
Early, Jessica Singer. Next Generation Genres: Teaching Writing for Civic and Academic Engagement. Norton Professional Books, an Imprint of W. W. Norton & Company, 2023.
Your goal for this playlist is to complete the four activities in the boxes below. As you finish each of these endeavors, your work will be collected in the timeline of your profile. At a later time, we’ll ask you to bookmark the items in your timeline that are most meaningful to you, and we’ll ask you to reflect on and assess your learning using the Habits of Mind.
[1 of 4] Study the genre of The Turning Point Narrative by commenting on model texts.
We invite you to read and annotate three of the Turning Point Narratives in this Collection: The Turning Point Narrative on NowComment.
Guiding questions to support a close reading of the model texts in this collection:
These questions could help you to think about the author’s choices. Possible guiding questions include:
- Does the writer use foreshadowing to hint at what may be the turning point?
- Where does the turning point happen in the text? Why does it occur there?
- What writing choices does the author make at the turning point?
- Are the choices the same or different from the text surrounding them?
- How does the turning point change the writer?
- Is there a change in belief, value, perspective, or understanding?
- How do you think the writer wants the reader to react to this turning point and change?
- How do you react to this turning point and change?
- What may be the universal lesson or understanding that emerges from the text?
Thinking Partners on NowComment
Select and collaborate with these three public AI Thinking Partners as you make your comments:
- A Predictor who Identifies author’s writing choices and what these foretell
- A Change Empath who attends to and describes how any changes affect the writer
- A Sage who sees and points to universal lessons or understandings that emerge from the text
What we are inviting you to make:
We want you to spend some time writing responses to specific sentences and paragraphs in three of the Turning Point Narratives in this Collection: The Turning Point Narrative on NowComment. We invite you to engage these narratives by referring to the 9 guide questions listed above. Identify the turning point in each narrative, explain how the narrator has changed, and describe the universal lessons that are being given by the author.
Using an RSS feed, we will pull each of your NowComment annotations into the activity stream on your Youth Voices wall. (If that’s not happening yet, contact Paul Allison email@example.com and ask him to set you up.)
At a later time, we will ask you to bookmark the NowComment annotations and replies that are most meaningful to you and to say why.
Examples of Comments on The Turning Point Narratives
- Noami’s comments on “How to Transform an Everyday, Ordinary Hoop Court into a Place of Higher Learning and You at the Podium”
- Wesam’s comments on “Eleven minutes: A call from Kobe Bryant”
- Aisatou’s comments on “Superman and Me”
- More to be added (including AI collaborated ones when available)
How to do this, step-by-step:
Annotation means adding notes to the text (or image or video) about things you think and care about as you read (or watch). You can make notes as you read. You can show your thinking. You can “talk back” to the text or video. You can highlight important words or ideas. (Special bonus: You do not need to use full sentences or worry about grammar.)
Join and start a lot of conversations on three of the Turning Point Narratives in this Collection: The Turning Point Narrative on NowComment.
NowComment is free. Take 60 seconds to get an account now. Click here: Sign up. OR Log in (or Sign in with Google) if you already have an account.
If you are new to NowComment, check out these NowComment Basics.
Watch this video for help with making text comments.
Click here to see how to start a new conversation on NowComment.
Habits of Mind you will practice when you do this activity:
When you finish commenting on three of The Turning Points Narratives, write a status update on your Youth Voices wall where you reflect on how you used these Habits of Mind to complete this work. How is your work evidence of your ability to use these Habits of Mind?
[2 of 4] Create a list of memories of turning points in your life. Use AI to see how to get started. Write about one of your memories.
We invite you to spend some time exploring one of 10 memories of turning points in your life.
What we are inviting you to make:
- A List of 10+ memories written on edit page for a Discussion Post & AI Mojo on Youth Voices
- Use the AI Mojo template [Genre 01] to see a few think-alouds of how a writer might begin, and copy one to guide you.
- Write a story the same way about one or your memories following the think-aloud you have chosen.
- Organize and correct your first draft using template [Revising 17] Grammar, Punctuation, and Paragraphing.
We are asking you to write the first and second drafts of a Turning Point Narrative. After expanding and revising these drafts, you will be publishing it as a Discussion Post on Youth Voices. Please choose a topic that you are comfortable sharing with others.
At the end of this activity, we will ask you describe your brainstorming, creative, and editing process using AI by referring to the Habits of Mind.
Three Examples of Turning Point Narratives (To be added soon)
More Examples of – [REPLACE THE FIRST TAB WITH INFORMATION ABOUT THESE EXAMPLES]
How to do this, step-by-step:
- Log in to Youth Voices — in many cases using the Google button.
- Once you see your wall, hover over the Create tab in the top orange menu.
- Then, in the drop-down menu click on Discussion Post & AI Mojo.
- This will open a post edit page.
- Add the title My Turning Point Narrative. You can change this later
- Make a list of 10 or more memories. Push for more than 10. Sometimes the last few are the most important ones. Be sure to click the Save Draft button in the middle, top-right.
- Open AI Mojo by clicking the game icon in the top-right corner.
- With AI Mojo open, click the second tab for Templates.
- In the Select a template box, search for the word genre, and click on [Genre 01] Turning Point Narrative: How a writer might get started
- Now you will move the text from the left side into the Make a list of turning points box. Click the last memory on your list, then come to the AI Mojo box, and click the small plus icon in the top, right corner. Then choose the third option: Insert everything from the top until the selected block.
- Hit generate and read through the results. The AI has chosen three from your list to give you examples of how to get started in writing about one of your memories.
- Go back to the templates tab and with the same list in the turning points box, and the same template hit generate again and see what you come up with this time.
- You could resubmit again, but at some point, try it yourself: Go to the left side start writing about one of the memories on the list.
- When you are pretty sure which one you are going to focus on, you can delete the other memories.
- If AI gave you a result for the memory you are choosing, copy and paste that result under that memory on your list. Use these as suggestions for how to get started on your writing.
- Your writing may carry you to the end. This might be all you need. On the other hand, if you need more inspiration, check out the Text-to-Image workstation just below. Be sure to click the Save Draft button in the middle, top-right.
- Before you to to the Text-to-Image activity, use another AI Mojo template to correct your grammar, punctuation, and paragraphing. Use the template [Revising 17] Grammar, Punctuation, and Paragraphing. If you like the results, copy the text and replace your text with the AI version. Edit to be sure that it is still in your voice.
Watch this video for help with how to create…
Click to see this video on a different tab.