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Christine
 
 
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HELP!! How to write a Personal Narrative?
Old 10-06-2005, 10:15 AM
 
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I need to get some really great ideas on how to teach "how to write" a personal narrative to my fourth graders. I have been doing this for a long time, but the method I have been using does not seem to work with this particular class. I need to re-think some of my old methods, but I don't know where to start. HELP?????!!!!!!!


 

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what i do
Old 10-09-2005, 09:43 AM
 
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Here's what I do: I tell them that they will be writing about a happy, sad, or scary experience. I usually read them an example of a boy riding a roller coaster (of course they all want to write about that after I read it but I tell them that no one can write about an amusement park ride.) I give them a checklist and have them brainstorm three ideas and provide details for each one, then they decide which one they want to write about. I really want them to focus on feeling and using a lot of detail in this piece. Do you ever use the hamburger analogy for teaching about paragraph structure?
 
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Art and Writing
Old 10-16-2005, 06:31 PM
 
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I took a class last spring that had some great ideas for teaching writing. During this class I read an article about using the visual arts to help teach writing. It was great! It was called "Like Happy Dreams - Integrating Visual Arts, Writing, and Reading" by Ann Alejandro.

Alejandro, A. (1994). "Like happy dreams: Integrating visual arts, writing and reading." Language Arts, 71, 12-21.

Here is the complete source. If you can find it somehow - maybe through a nearby college, you should read it. It was inspirational. I am going to try some of her stuff this year. I also teach 4th grade. . .
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personal narrative idea
Old 10-17-2005, 01:39 PM
 
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I try to connect writing to a specific story we're reading. A great one is "When I was Young in the Mountains." Students will listen for ideas as you read, asking open ended questions as you do, such as, "Describe something you like to do with your grandmother." This book is full of illustrations and memories that can spark an idea for your students. After you finish, have students choose three and conference with a friend to see would be the most interesting. Then allow students to illustrate their idea, then progress to wriitng, using the picture to add sensory details. This can be done with smaller pieces of text that you are reading such as poems and song lyrics, which they love, but it can be hard to find ones appropriate to the 4th grade level.
 
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Old 10-19-2005, 07:35 PM
 
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I share with the students that there are 3 details for personal narrative: 1. remember an event-choose an event attached to an emotion. We list emotions by sorting them i.e. happy or excited, sad or upset, embarassed or frustrated and scared. 2. tell it like a story- include the elements of setting, characters, problem and solution. 3. What are your new thought(s) from this experience. The most important focus in personal narrative is to ask the writer, "What is your point?". Personal narrative is an opportunity to make a point about your story, otherwise, it is a narrative experience-just a retell without a reflection. After students have decided on one particular experience, I have them draw it on a large index card. I explain that the picture does not need a lot of detail, the picture needs to show the point of the story. It is like using a binocular to focus in on the point. What ever is the point in the story is the thesis statement and concluding reflection. I allow students to divide up into the 4 groups of emotions and they share their story orally in their group. So if there are some students who take a risk in writing about something embarassing, then they first share it with others who also experienced something embarassing. All the index card pictures are glued on large butcher paper titled "Memories on the Wall" and placed on a wall in the classroom for the entire year. Students will be able to see that they have commonalities with others in their class and maybe would have never found out because it was likely they would not speak to that person outside of class. For another mini lesson I work on only developing the thesis statement and try to write it in several ways because you can use one of them for the conclusion. Another lesson is to model how to "Quick Sketch" their story. I break up the parts as: setting and characters (beginning), event, event, event, event (middle), resolution and solution (ending). For those parts we only sketch pictures, then we add a few notes with each part of the story. This serves as the plan before the first draft. This strategy keeps the students organized and the story is already sequenced. Another lesson- allow students to pair up and orally share their "Quick Sketch". Each partner must give one another a question or comment on a sticky note, so that it gives the writer something to answer or think about when they sit to write the first draft. This activity can be repeated as wanted. It is peer editing or coaching. I model how to ask questions or make comments and write them on a chart so it serves as a print resource in the room for both reading and writing. Here are examples: Why did you choose...? How did that make you feel? What would you change or keep? What do you notice about...? I feel the same way about... I liked when you... _____ part made me feel ______. Another lesson- drafting for setting/characters: model how to make sentences better through word choice trait (precise), model sentence variety, model "starting a story"- where, when, action verb, introduce character, interesting comment and dialogue. The rest of the mini lessons would be: story connectors, include details, explanations, vivid descriptions, be specific (make a point/precise words) and appeal to the senses. As you can see, this genre can be stretched into weeks of mini lessons, which it makes sense to break a genre into small steps so that students can master each small step at a time. I would love to show you my "Quick Sketch". These lessons also come from Step Up to Writing.


 
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interesting post!
Old 10-23-2005, 02:36 PM
 
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The previous post was very informative. I am always open to new ideas for teaching. Personal narrative is a writing piece language arts teachers in my school must have students produce every September. Using that storyboard approach is something I can put in my bag of tricks that will surely appeal to students that have a strong visual/spatial intelligence.
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Lucy Calkins
Old 08-03-2008, 09:07 PM
 
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has a great program called Units of Study--good section on personal narrative...
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Model Writing
Old 08-03-2008, 09:56 PM
 
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Pick an easy topic to start off with - a favorite birthday, a memorable vacation, a place they visited.

As a teacher I always assume the role of a writer too. I pick my own topic first. Then I show the kids (by writing on the board or chart paper) how I create my organizer. Then the kids create their organizer.

Then I take my organizer and show the kids how I write an introduction and where my ideas come from. I do all my work in front of them. No writing at home or before hand. I want the kids to see what writing looks like. Then the kids write their introduction.

While they are writing, I have a chance to walk around rad intros and see how needs help.

I continue on with the beginning, middle, and end of the story piece by piece.

Showing the kids where my ideas come from and how I organize them helps them see what they need to do as a writer.
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How to write personal narratives
Old 09-25-2008, 04:24 PM
 
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all you do is pick something that happened to you its as easy as that and you write about that one event and it doesnt have to be 8 pages but it has to aleast be about 2 pages for it to be a personal narrative
 
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Modeling
Old 10-12-2008, 05:27 PM
 
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Modeling is a great teaching strategy for students who do not know where to begin. However, if you have students that already have a craft, modeling can stifle their creativity. When modeling I have noticed that some of my students try to write the way I write. Their stories even begin to sound like mines, but with a change in maybe...the characters. This year I am trying something different. I let the students write first. Before they revise, I read to them my story. I outline for them all the elements in my story that make it a good narrative. I start with the beginning, go to the middle and then the end. As I read each component, I discuss with them what elements are important in my writing. I then tell them to look at their beginning and see if they can find the same elements in theirs. I give them the opportunity to revise their work on the spot. If time allows I review the next components that same day. If time does not allow we go over it the next day. This gives the students the opportunity to develop their own style of writing and still include all the important elements.


 
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personal narrative
Old 09-23-2009, 07:28 PM
 
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I just finished teaching personal narrative in my 4th grade with much success. I begin with a formula. Introduction is 2 or 3 sentences that introduce the topic with a generalization, for example "Embarrassment is a part of life." Then connect your personal experience to this, "I remember a time when I experienced embarrassment." After the introduction I have students tell their story with a clear beginning, middle and end. In the first "beginning" paragraph, they include information about the setting and characters. After telling the story, they write a conclusion paragraph that goes back to the generalization or broadens the topic again. In the conclusion, they tell what they learned from the experience or what they will remember the next time they "feel" this way. As for the body of the narrative, I explain that they need to begin a new paragraph every time the setting changes or the speaker. I show examples of narrative stories with dialogue and point out each new paragraph to demonstrate this. Before I ever have them write, we deconstruct a sample narrative and look for the things we discuss-the generalization, the beginning, middle and end of the story, and the conclusion. We look at how dialogue is written. I use Step Up to Writing in my district which is good for giving a formula and structure. As my students begin to write well, I allow them to branch out from the structure and get more creative in their writing. All of this was given to me by a fifth grade teacher friend/mentor, so I am happy to share! Good luck!
 
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awesome idea thank you for sharing
Old 10-15-2009, 05:57 AM
 
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Maria,

I am a 2nd year LA teacher in 6th grade. And I love it ! I have 20 years teaching experience but this is my favorite so far ! I plan to use your idea ! Please keep On doing what you do. You must LOVE your job too !
 
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Personal Narrative
Old 11-21-2009, 10:50 AM
 
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Hey.
Here are some tips. Your first paragraph should be the main idea for your topic. The next paragraph should contain details of the first. The third should just be the same(i guess), like keep on going on bout the topic. Then, the last paragraph should be the summary...
Thats all. And here are some topics. It could be about your dog or your first day of school, or like something crazy that happened to you.
 
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Thanks for the great ideas!
Old 12-17-2009, 06:55 AM
 
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I never know what a web search will reveal. I am very grateful to have stumbled upon your excellent sites. Now I'm brimming with ideas of how to help my nine year olds write personal narratives.
 

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