Tell Me About It: Writing a Personal Narrative

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SWBAT work through the writing process to create a personal narrative that describes an event that happened to them.

Big Idea

Being able to relay an event in a way that others can understand is an essential life skill.

What's Your Idea?

10 minutes

The students arrive today- hopefully- homework in hand and having a good idea to write about. I have them hold on to their idea webs and hold up our mentor text (Meteor by Patricia Polacco). We do a quick review of the story and then I review our writing assignment.  

I ask the students to share what they're going to write about.  I hear, "My eighth birthday party", "When I moved to Ohio from Virginia", "My aunt's wedding" and other interesting ideas. We review the writing process and the students know that the first step is prewriting.

They are ready to move on.

What Would Patricia Do?

40 minutes

I wonder aloud to the class, "I wonder what Patricia Polacco's prewriting would have looked like."  The students offer up plenty of ideas, but I'm "lost in thought".  As if I'm in a trance, I pull out the prewriting form the students will be using (although they don't know it yet) and begin to write.  At this point, I'm sure to only fill in the "easy" parts- character, setting, title.  

Suddenly the students catch on.  They know the problem- a meteor fell in their yard.  They know the solution- everyone came to see it and the town was changed after it happened.  They don't know the all the plot events so we do those together, but I am VERY careful not to include a lot of detail.  The point of this exercise is for the students to see how prewriting transforms to the rough draft.  We continue working until the whole story map is done.

After we finish pretending to be Patricia Polacco, I give each of them a story map and have them begin their prewriting.  For those students who didn't do or remember to bring their homework, I just have them begin with the one idea they have in their head.  


Wrap Up and Share

15 minutes

As we near the end of class, I tell the students that each one should be finished with their prewriting.  A midst some groans, I remind them that prewriting is quick and doesn't contain all their details so they need to finish up.

At the end of class, we do a quick share of more developed ideas and I collect the prewriting.  I tell the students that tomorrow we will be completing our rough drafts.