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Personal Narrative or Personal Essay?

One of the writing genres we teach in sixth grade is the personal narrative, and that hasn't changed with the Common Core State Standards. (Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences. W6.3) Personal narratives are defined as stories about something real that actually… Continue reading Personal Narrative or Personal Essay?

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Emotion in Narrative

At the beginning of the school year, I teach Personal Narrative. Students who are reluctant writers always do well in this unit because Everyone Has a Story. They learn how to take a memory with impact and turn it into a story that can impact a reader. To begin, I ask students to remember an… Continue reading Emotion in Narrative

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Not All Stories Start With Brushing Teeth

In class we are working on personal narratives. Students use strategies such as thinking of a person, place, or thing to remember significant events in their lives. Then they write a story about it. The climax of the story is the easy part. That is usually the event that pops into your memory first. For… Continue reading Not All Stories Start With Brushing Teeth

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White Water

White Water by Amrita Round and round and up and down and upside-down we splashed, spinning and tumbling on that hot, summer day in Disney World, Florida.  The sun beat down on us like a hammer, constantly pounding, again and again.  Some people were screaming, some were laughing, some were barely wet, and some were… Continue reading White Water

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Make a Mental Movie

When students are learning to write narratives, either personal or fictional, a common mistake they make is to simply list events in the order that they happened. This may sound organized, but it's not much of a story.  The most important part of the story is missing: the emotion, the sensory details that put a… Continue reading Make a Mental Movie