I always start my school year teaching students to write about what they know . I recently blogged about how I have been doing units of study from Tony Stead and Linda Hoyts book Explorations in Nonfiction Writing. My class just finished writing How To's so I decided to revisit Personal Narratives. Below is the anchor chart from the first week of teaching features of a Great Personal Narrative. There is an anchor text that is used to help students. It is a wonderful example of a personal narrative.
Class Whole Write
The class always starts with a Pre-Assessment so students wrote a personal narrative story.
On day one we read the mentor text and focused on what we noticed about the beginning of the personal narrative. We took a vote on what we would write about as a class write. We decided to write about our Apple Picking Field trip that we took in the fall.
Timeline of The Writing Unit (quick version)
Day One: Students each got a piece of paper to write about the beginning of the apple picking field trip.
Day Two:Students wrote the middle.
Day Three: Students wrote the ending.
Day Four: Student got all of their pages back to reread and fix up any mix up. Students could also use a pen to add any information missing or to make their stories more interesting.
Day Five: The book gets put into a class book called The Special Day in Kindergarten.
Day Six: Students start their own personal narratives.
When students write their own personal narratives it is recommended that you follow the same structure
Day One: The beginning page
Day Two: The middle page
Day Three: The ending
What I like
I think the idea of zooming in on one event at a time helps beginning writers. It is providing more scaffolding then the typical workshop time. I realized that one big difference for me was using the word EVENT. I have never explained a personal narrative as an event that happens in someones life. When a few students wanted to write about Star Wars and Ninjago it was so easy for me to say, "Is that an event that happened to you?"
That being said, I do think at writing time there needs to be a time when kids can write about Ninjago, the Red Sox or Star Wars. Even though they are the books I dread so much!
What I like about the class book below is the range it shows me of the whole class as writers in one spot. I think next year in the fall this would be the perfect piece of writing to share with parents at the parent conference. Of course I would be focusing on their child's piece.
Check out our book below! I tried to type each page but some pages were giving me a hard time!
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