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Beginning and Ending Personal Narrative Pieces

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Beginning and ending personal narrative pieces can be a challenge. These simple tips will help you create an easy, engaging lesson for your students!

Planning Mini-Lesson

Students can get stuck when it comes to beginning and ending their personal narrative. To keep them on track, we plan it out after our story outline (their personal narrative events) and before they start their introduction.

Here is what our story outline looked like before we started:

This is a screenshot of a digital writing assignment about writing a story outline.
We do a 10-minute mini-lesson where we discuss how the introduction explains how you got to where your sequence of events starts. I model the beginning of my personal narrative piece on an anchor chart. When my class had 1:1 devices, I gave them a digital copy of my models (see below). Then, we discuss how the conclusion provides a reflection or an explanation of how the story has changed things for them.

This is a photograph of an anchor chart in a classroom.

This is a screenshot of a digital writing activity about writing introductions.
Digital Copy – From The Complete Guide to Personal Narrative Writing

This is a graphic for a bundle of writing units, including personal narrative pieces.

Student Planning

I always provide my students with an organizer that looks just like mine. I also give them a copy of my introduction and conclusion planning page. The first time we do this, their introductions and conclusions look very familiar… almost exactly like mine. That’s totally ok. As we do more personal narrative writing after this essay, they will start to branch out and get more creative.

I give them 15 minutes to plan, then they meet in groups of 2-3 to discuss and refine their introductions and conclusions. I model writing discussions daily, so my students know to give specific, helpful feedback, and ask the writer lots of questions about their work! If it seems like their discussions are struggling, I’ll provide some questions for them to ask each other.

This is a photograph of a student's writing binder.
This is a photograph of students working on writing assignments.

Translating to the Rough Draft

Once students are done, they write everything they’ve planned in this order on their rough draft:

  1. Introduction
  2. Sequence of Events
  3. Conclusion

I usually have them write their introduction on their rough draft, and then we do several mini-lessons on writing their actual story – or sequence of events. I model dialogue, when to indent, descriptive details, and more. After they finish telling their story, they copy over their conclusion. Then, we do A TON of discussion and authentic revision.

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Written by
April Smith