Friday, February 8, 2013

Personal Narrative Writing

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.
When it come to the writing workshop, I am a BIG believer in the process of writing. I am the biggest Katie Wood Ray fan in the whole wide world.  I am a HUGE believer in child choice so very rarely do I assign topics.

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)

Timeline of The Writing Unit

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 personal narratives.
When students write their 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 than 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 someone's 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?"

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 section.

 Check out our book below!  I tried to type each page, but some pages were giving me a hard time!


  1. Yea for such a great K writing teacher!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. Can you tell me what program you used for the book above?

  3. Simplebooklet...i think in my last post I put the link...they have a teacher deal that is cheaper then the regular membership

  4. I am a huge fan of Katie Wood Ray also. My district is starting balanced literacy this year and we are diving into writing workshop this month. I am so excited to help my teachers in this process. We are being trained by Matt Glover who works closely with Katie Wood Ray.
    Thanks for sharing such a detailed post about your writing unit. :)

  5. You should check out Katie and Matt's video/ book about writing workshop's amazing!

  6. In order to form this kind of thing perfectly, you need to have some good information on how to start your writings. Also, writing skill really matters. Thanks for sharing this kind of information.

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  7. Hi this is great! Thanks for sharing! Quick question for you... what mentor text(s) did you use?


  8. There are lots of mentor text I use (I forgot the one I used for this lesson) but these are the ones I am using now...Grace LIn Dim Sum for Everyone, Rosie's Walk (which may be out of print), Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert she also has a great new book about herself as a writer. I hope that is helpful!


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