Narrative Essay Story Map

The Story Map interactive includes a set of graphic organizers designed to assist teachers and students in prewriting and postreading activities. The organizers are intended to focus on the key elements of character, setting, conflict, and resolution development. Students can develop multiple characters, for example, in preparation for writing their own fiction, or they may reflect on and further develop characters from stories they have read. After completing individual sections or the entire organizer, students have the ability to print out their final versions for feedback and assessment. The versatility of this tool allows it to be used in multiple contexts.

Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Collaborative Stories 1: Prewriting and Drafting

Students hone their teamwork skills and play off each other's writing strengths as they participate in prewriting activities for a story to be written collaboratively by the whole class.

 

Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Comparing Fiction and Nonfiction with "Little Red Riding Hood Text" Sets

Students discuss and compare differing versions of "Little Red Riding Hood" and other tales about wolves in cumulative read-aloud sessions and text set explorations.

 

Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Creative Problem-Solving with Ezra Jack Keats

Using books by Ezra Jack Keats as inspiration, students explore problems and solutions through read-alouds, discussion, and an interactive bulletin board.

 

Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Recurring Lesson

Literacy Centers: Getting Started

This lesson gives teachers resources and guidance to create reading, listening, computer, and poetry Literacy Centers in their own classrooms.

 

Grades   6 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Book Report Alternative: Getting Acquainted with Farcebook

In this alternative to the traditional book report, students report on their novel choices using Facebook-like pages.

 

Grades   1 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Plot Diagram

The Plot Diagram is an organizational tool focusing on a pyramid or triangular shape, which is used to map the events in a story. This mapping of plot structure allows readers and writers to visualize the key features of stories.

 

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Graphic Map

The Graphic Map assists teachers and students in reading and writing activities by charting the high and low points related to a particular item or group of items, such as events during a day or chapters in a book.

 

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Cube Creator

The interactive Cube Creator helps students identify and summarize key elements. It can be used as a prewriting or postreading activity.

 

Grades   1 – 6  |  Calendar Activity  |  October 13

The Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden was dedicated on October 13, 1995.

Students select characters that they believe are the most memorable from Cleary's books and write short persuasive essays to explain their choices.

 

Grades   3 – 8  |  Printout  |  Graphic Organizer

Concept Map

This concept map can be used in a variety of ways to show relationships between words and phrases. Students can add arrows as needed and group certain ideas together.

 

Just write about a small moment from your life. Include enough details, but not too many. Don’t forget transition words! And you better make it interesting. You have 30 minutes. Go.

After hours of mini-lessons, anchor charts, and extensive modeling, I imagine that these words are all that echo through my third graders' minds when the time comes to write a personal narrative. I'm sure I'm not the only teacher who has seen children on the verge of tears because they don’t know how to get started on their writing or what to include once they do. These may be reluctant writers or even perfectionists afraid that their story won’t be good enough. There are also those students whose stories include every minute detail they can remember as they create a narrative that seems to go on forever without any real focus. To help out these students, along with all the others, I use a few different graphic organizers that have made a world of difference to my young writers. This week I'm happy to share with you some of the tools I use to help make planning and writing narratives that are focused, sequential, and interesting a bit easier for my students. 

 

Generating Ideas

Each year my students create an authority list in their writer’s notebooks, an idea that came from a writing program we use. This list is supposed to include areas of expertise for the students that they could readily write about. As you can imagine, when you are eight years old, there are not a whole lot of things you consider yourself an authority on, and many of my students never really seem to make a connection with their list. Therefore, I decided to have my students create an additional organizer in their notebooks called The Heart of My Writing. Each student draws a heart, then divides it into sections based on what matters most to them — family, hobbies, friends, special events, and more. I find this is the graphic organizer my students turn to first when they are looking for an idea. Many students leave blank spots on their hearts so they can fill them in as the year goes on. 

 

Prewriting Using Graphic Organizers

I’ve discovered the key to helping my students write a narrative that tells an interesting, sequential story is using graphic organizers for planning. While I use several different organizers, there are three I created that are especially popular with my students. The organizers allow students to establish their purpose and effectively plan how their story will unfold. 

The following graphic organizer is made for legal-sized paper. My more proficient writers tend to prefer this organizer because it gives them more room to expand upon their ideas. 

 

 

Mini Anchor Charts

Whenever I create anchor charts with my class during our mini-lessons, I have my students create versions of the chart in their writer's notebooks. I have noticed that when the mini-charts are right there at their fingertips, they tend to be used more frequently.  

 

Graphic Organizers I Use for Character Development

When we focus on character development, my students use these graphic organizers in both their writing and reading. Read more about how I use them in my post, "Bringing Characters to Life in Writer's Workshop." Click on each image to download the free printable. 

      

 

Scholastic Printables for Personal Narratives

Click on the images below to download a free printable. 

Other Great Resources for Narrative Writing

Alycia Zimmerman's post, "Using Mentor Text to Empower Student Authors," is a must-read for your narrative unit. Her guidance on using mentor text has improved my teaching, as well as my students' understanding of the personal narrative immensely. 

 

Beth Newingham's tips for writing leads (and a lot more!) in "My January Top Ten List: Writing Lessons and Resources," are an invaluable resource to any writing program.

 

Julie Ballew's "Planning Small Moment Stories" shows a developmentally appropriate approach to narrative writing for young authors. 

 

Hopefully you have found a few ideas to make narrative writing easier for your students. If you have a tip for writing narratives or you would like to comment or ask a question, I would love to hear from you in the comment section below. For more tips you can subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

 

 


Common Core State Standards for Writing 

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3a Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3b Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3c Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3d Provide a sense of closure.


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