Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
August 24, 2018

Graphic Organizers for Personal Narratives

By Genia Connell
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Just write about a small moment from your life. Include enough details, but not too many. Don’t forget transition words! And you better make it interesting. You have 30 minutes. Go.

    I'm sure I'm not the only teacher who has seen children on the verge of tears because they don’t know how to get started on their writing or what to include once they do. These may be reluctant writers or even perfectionists afraid that their story won’t be good enough. To help out these students, along with all the others, I use a few different graphic organizers to help make planning and writing narratives that are focused, sequential, and interesting a bit easier for my students. 

    Generating Ideas

    Each year my students create an authority list in their writer’s notebooksa list of areas of expertise for the students that they could readily write about. However, when you are 8 years old, there are not a whole lot of things you consider yourself an authority on. Therefore, I have my students create an additional organizer in their notebooks called The Heart of My Writing. Each student draws a heart, then divides it into sections based on what matters most to them: family, hobbies, friends, special events, and more. I find this is the graphic organizer my students turn to first when they are looking for an idea. Many students leave blank spots on their hearts so they can fill them in as the year goes on. 

    Prewriting Using Graphic Organizers

    I’ve discovered the key to helping my students write a narrative that tells an interesting, sequential story is using graphic organizers for planning. The organizers allow students to establish their purpose and effectively plan how their story will unfold. For a more comprehesive selection that can be downloaded, take a look at the offerings from Scholastic Teachables.

    personal narrative graphic organizergraphic organizer for narrative writing

    The following graphic organizer is made for legal-sized paper. My more proficient writers tend to prefer this organizer because it gives them more room to expand upon their ideas. 

    personal narrative graphic organizer

    graphic organizers for common core writing

    Mini Anchor Charts

    Whenever I create anchor charts with my class during our mini-lessons, I have my students create versions of the chart in their writer's notebooks. I have noticed that when the mini-charts are right there at their fingertips, they tend to be used more frequently.  

    make mini anchor charts in writer's notebook

     

    Graphic Organizers I Use for Character Development

    When we focus on character development, my students use these graphic organizers in both their writing and reading. Read more about how I use them in my post, "Bringing Characters to Life in Writer's Workshop."  

    character profile for writng      character profile for writing

    personal narrative graphic organizer

    Personal Narrative Printables From Scholastic Teachables

    Here are four pre-writing supports to help students plan their personal narratives — from finding a topic to outlining sections to adding details through descriptive writing. (All free with a subscription to Scholastic Teachables!)

    personal narrative organizer

    map it out personal narrative organizer

    Other Great Resources for Narrative Writing

    Alycia Zimmerman's post, "Using Mentor Text to Empower Student Authors," is a must-read for your narrative unit. Her guidance on using mentor text has improved my teaching, as well as my students' understanding of the personal narrative immensely. 

    Using Mentor text

     

    Beth Newingham's tips for writing leads (and a lot more!) in "My January Top Ten List: Writing Lessons and Resources," are an invaluable resource to any writing program.

    teaching narrative leads

     

    Julie Ballew's "Planning Small Moment Stories" shows a developmentally appropriate approach to narrative writing for young authors. 

     

    Stella Writes from the Scholastic Teacher Store introduces a delightful character to encourage, explain, and make kids feel comfortable — and even eager — to write with confidence across different genres.

     

     


    Common Core State Standards for Writing 

    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3a Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.

    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3b Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.

    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3c Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.

    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3d Provide a sense of closure.


    Professional Resources You May Like

    Just write about a small moment from your life. Include enough details, but not too many. Don’t forget transition words! And you better make it interesting. You have 30 minutes. Go.

    I'm sure I'm not the only teacher who has seen children on the verge of tears because they don’t know how to get started on their writing or what to include once they do. These may be reluctant writers or even perfectionists afraid that their story won’t be good enough. To help out these students, along with all the others, I use a few different graphic organizers to help make planning and writing narratives that are focused, sequential, and interesting a bit easier for my students. 

    Generating Ideas

    Each year my students create an authority list in their writer’s notebooksa list of areas of expertise for the students that they could readily write about. However, when you are 8 years old, there are not a whole lot of things you consider yourself an authority on. Therefore, I have my students create an additional organizer in their notebooks called The Heart of My Writing. Each student draws a heart, then divides it into sections based on what matters most to them: family, hobbies, friends, special events, and more. I find this is the graphic organizer my students turn to first when they are looking for an idea. Many students leave blank spots on their hearts so they can fill them in as the year goes on. 

    Prewriting Using Graphic Organizers

    I’ve discovered the key to helping my students write a narrative that tells an interesting, sequential story is using graphic organizers for planning. The organizers allow students to establish their purpose and effectively plan how their story will unfold. For a more comprehesive selection that can be downloaded, take a look at the offerings from Scholastic Teachables.

    personal narrative graphic organizergraphic organizer for narrative writing

    The following graphic organizer is made for legal-sized paper. My more proficient writers tend to prefer this organizer because it gives them more room to expand upon their ideas. 

    personal narrative graphic organizer

    graphic organizers for common core writing

    Mini Anchor Charts

    Whenever I create anchor charts with my class during our mini-lessons, I have my students create versions of the chart in their writer's notebooks. I have noticed that when the mini-charts are right there at their fingertips, they tend to be used more frequently.  

    make mini anchor charts in writer's notebook

     

    Graphic Organizers I Use for Character Development

    When we focus on character development, my students use these graphic organizers in both their writing and reading. Read more about how I use them in my post, "Bringing Characters to Life in Writer's Workshop."  

    character profile for writng      character profile for writing

    personal narrative graphic organizer

    Personal Narrative Printables From Scholastic Teachables

    Here are four pre-writing supports to help students plan their personal narratives — from finding a topic to outlining sections to adding details through descriptive writing. (All free with a subscription to Scholastic Teachables!)

    personal narrative organizer

    map it out personal narrative organizer

    Other Great Resources for Narrative Writing

    Alycia Zimmerman's post, "Using Mentor Text to Empower Student Authors," is a must-read for your narrative unit. Her guidance on using mentor text has improved my teaching, as well as my students' understanding of the personal narrative immensely. 

    Using Mentor text

     

    Beth Newingham's tips for writing leads (and a lot more!) in "My January Top Ten List: Writing Lessons and Resources," are an invaluable resource to any writing program.

    teaching narrative leads

     

    Julie Ballew's "Planning Small Moment Stories" shows a developmentally appropriate approach to narrative writing for young authors. 

     

    Stella Writes from the Scholastic Teacher Store introduces a delightful character to encourage, explain, and make kids feel comfortable — and even eager — to write with confidence across different genres.

     

     


    Common Core State Standards for Writing 

    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3a Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.

    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3b Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.

    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3c Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.

    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3d Provide a sense of closure.


    Professional Resources You May Like

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

Genia's Most Recent Posts
Blog Post
Guided Reading Organization Made Easy
Use these simple tips to help take the stress out of organizing and managing your guided reading materials all year long.  
By Genia Connell
August 3, 2018
Blog Post
100 Books That Build Character
Use this helpful list to find just the right book when you need a story that sends the message that good character counts.
By Genia Connell
August 2, 2018

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us