I wanted kids to understand that narratives are more than just their personal narratives. By showing SpongeBob, they can apply their knowledge to a cartoon. The Guiding Question is one that they may or may not know the answer to. I know they will say "personal narratives," or "books," but I want them to understand that narrative texts are all around us.
This Student example of a response to a Guiding Question shows that this student has a pretty good grasp of what a narrative is. She notes that "narrative means story," so many pieces of writing can be narrative.
After the Guiding Question, I lead a discussion about narrative texts and add in things other students may have forgotten: memoirs, plays, stories, etc.
For the Mini Lesson, I give them each the narrative graphic organizer and play an episode of SpongeBob. I use SpongeBob because each episode is about 12 minutes and is really easy to see the narrative arc and because the kids love it. Full videos can be found here.
Any episode will do, and I use a different episode with each class, so that I'm entertained as well!
As students are watching (or immediately after, because you know they're going to be distracted by watching SpongeBob in ELA class) they should fill out one side of the Narrative Graphic Organizer. When the episode is finished, make sure everyone has the same thing by going over the answers.
Then I show my students an example of my narrative on the graphic organizer on the document camera. I fill it out based on the running personal narrative that I'm crating in class. I make sure to point out that there is a beginning, middle, and end. I want them to see an example before they have to fill one out.
Lastly, they need to fill out the other side of the graphic organizer (the same graphic organizer is on both sides; one for SpongeBob, and one for their own PN) with an incident from their own life. This is more pre-writing for their Personal Narratives.
For the Wrap Up, I have students use Reflection Stems to reflect back on the Guiding Question. Did they ever consider that a cartoon is a narrative? What makes it a narrative? Has their thinking changed about what a narrative can be?
This student reflection shows that, although this student is clear on what narratives are, she is still pretty apprehensive about finding an incident to write about. THe Personal Narrative graphic organizer is meant to serve as one form of brainstorming for this task, and it's okay that some of my students aren't 100% comfortable with the product that came out of that brainstorming session.