Writing Individual or Collective Narratives (Day 1 of 2)

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SWBAT write a narrative by developing well structured imaginary events using details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the events.

Big Idea

Students are asked to answer the question "What happened to all of them?" in a collectivize or individual narrative.

Unit Introduction

5 minutes

The Common Core Writing Standards for Literacy require students to engage in disciplinary specific writing tasks.  For each type of writing, there are a number of skills that students must learn in order to write well. I introduce this lesson on narrative writing because I know my students have stories to tell but are reluctant to writing them. I introduced this unit with this lesson because it helps students develop a flare for describing and this is the root of story-telling. In this lesson students will be asked to read and analyze a prompt and analyze the Narrative Writing Rubric.

Standards these lessons will address include:

  • W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
  • W.9-10.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.


10 minutes

I found this creative prompt on the online website http://writingprompts.tumblr.com/.  To begin the lesson I explain to my students that the prompt I am handing out for them to read is based on factual information but their answers to the question, "What happened to all of them?" will be a work of fiction drawn from their creative imaginations!

I hand out the prompt "What happened to all of them?" and ask students to first read the prompt and then discuss with a partner what exactly is the problem that needs to be solved?

Next I ask students to explain the problem and to cite evidence in the prompt to support their answers.


Building Knowledge

30 minutes

I use a power point to review writing a fictional narrative while asking students to take notes using their Topic Map

I want my students to understand that they should follow the literary conventions of plot structure and that the main parts of the plot are: the introduction of the setting and characters, the development of the characters, a climax (the most exciting part of the story) and a conclusion.  The prompt is asking students to come up with an explanation for the disappearance of thousands of people a year.  Their explanation should fall into the sci-fi or fantasy genre.

Using my Writing a Fictional Narrative power point, I explain that one of the elements that I want them to focus on is the narrative voice W.9-10.3. I explain that the voice of narratives is more casual and personal than other modes of writing such as Argumentative. I explain by referring to slide #4, that narrative essays often employ the first-person voice (such as "I" and "we") but in this narrative I'd like them to use the third-person voice ("he," "she" and "they"). 

I also explain that for this narrative we will be focusing primarily on the organization trait or the internal structure of the piece, the pattern of meaning and more specifically the "hook" which grabs the reader's attention from the start of the piece.  

Students are told that they are to engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, "What happen to all these people who have gone missing?" and introduce characters while creating a smooth progression of experiences or events in an organized manner as required in standard W.9-10.3a.  I share that the narrative techniques, such as dialogue, description, and developing the story's events, and/or characters will add to the creativity of their story W.9-10.3b.

Lastly, I hand out an adapted Narrative Rubric which we all review as a class.  This rubric is one that I adapted from the 6+1 traits writing model http://educationnorthwest.org/traits/trait-definitions which offers clearly written student - friendly scoring guides.

Student Learning Activity

25 minutes

Next I pass out a Story Map organizer to help them organize the different parts of the narrative; the setting, characters, plot, and outcome.  As they begin working individually or with a partner using the story map to map out their ideas for the narrative, I ask questions pertaining to the plot and genre as well as help students brainstorm their story's events W.9-10.3

Wrap Up

10 minutes

Partner Share

As a wrap up I ask students to share their completed story maps with a peer.  I circulate among them as they pair up and read to each other.  I ask students to give feedback on the narratives organization of ideas.