Writing Tasty, Narrative Stories

Finally, FINALLY I get to teach narrative writing! Yipee!!

You see, this year, our district decided to rewrite the Common Core Units for us and tell us when to teach each type of writing.  And for whatever reason, poor narrative writing got stuck in the 4th quarter....*boohoo*

Yes, I agree that narrative writing can be difficult for ESL and poverty kids.  And our school has more than its fair share of those sweethearts.  It's hard because they just don't have the experiences to write about that middle class white kids do.  I'm not being discriminatory--that's just speaking from experience.  So, it can be difficult to start off the year with narrative writing because they run out of steam quickly and begin to dread writing because of their lack of experiences.

One thing we do to fight this, "I don't have anything to write about" syndrome is our Where Do Authors Get Ideas Chart.

We add a bubble each day and brainstorm a list of things to write about with that category.  Then, they independently write about an experience from that category during our writers' workshop time.  You can find a premade template for this chart and many more to fill out with your kids HERE.  It'll save you tons of time and still look adorable hanging in your room!

Another reason that narrative writing can be difficult is because of the lack of "juicy details."  It is a time consuming process to ask a 6 year old to write a paragraph.  I mean, let's face it, at the beginning of the year, getting 2 sentences during a 15 minute workshop is a flat out miracle in my neck of the woods.  They just aren't fluent enough in their writing.  And firsties tend to leave out the details that make stories so enjoyable to read because, well...it's just too stinkin' exhausting to write out that many words.  But when they get excited about a great story to tell, it doesn't matter how long it takes to write it!

So, I spend a great deal of our narrative writing unit modeling how to write a TASTY story.  We use this hamburger graphic organizer. {You can grab a clean, digital copy HERE.}

This is one of my favorite writing lessons because I get to tell the elaborate story about going to McDonald's and ordering a hamburger and getting only the bun and no meat.  {No, it's not a true story...it's told in the "what if" tense! :)} Nobody orders a juicy, yummy hamburger and only gets a top bun.  That's boring!  That's ridiculous! What else would you expect to get on your hamburger to make it the best ever??

...and so the tasty story conversation begins.  Writers have to add tasty details to their stories so the readers won't be bored and disappointed when they read them.  Nobody wants to read the story, "I went to the park."  It's not tasty enough!  They just love this conversations.  Eyes. Glued.  I love teaching moments like those! *smile*

I spend a good week or two reviewing this chart and our Where Do Authors Get Ideas Chart and model writing stories for my kiddos before writers workshop.  This is another reason why I was so sad that we were told not to teach narrative writing until 4th quarter...model writing stories for kids is such a easy and fun way to build a strong rapport with my firsties.  In the last 2 weeks, they've heard more Cooper stories and learned more about me and my family than I think they've learned all year.  Yes, I've told personal stories here and there, but narrative writing forces me to tell these stories--no excuses!  I love telling them and they love hearing them!  I just hate that we missed starting this at the beginning of the year because I would've had more opportunities to tell and write some great stories for them!

Find all of my narrative writing anchor charts HERE!



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