Saturday, December 8, 2012

Today’s Tip- Introducing Story Telling with Narrative Writing

Today’s Tip- Introducing Story Telling with Narrative Writing

I am starting today’s blog with narrative writing since this is the writing genre we are currently working on in my fourth grade class.  I will provide the build up in getting to the finished product with future postings.

There are several ways to teach narrative writing with students, but this is how I begin teaching narrative writing with my class.   I like to discuss my own personal stories with my students as a way to introduce narrative writing with my class.  I select one or two funny events in my life that I share out loud with my students.  I’ll even act out sections of the story if needed.  Students are “all ears” and they always ask for more.  Students like when you “open up” a little as well.

Next, I provide ready-made writing versions of that story.   A concrete writing example is a valuable teaching tool.  Students will now have a clear picture of your writing expectations.  I don’t expect students to write exactly how I do because their own creativity will come from within.  At least they have a tangible writing piece as a reference.  A class discussion ensues over the various writing components found in the story.

Does the story have an eye-catching beginning?
Can you find any figurative language examples?
Does the writing have vivid vocabulary?
How is the overall flow of the narrative?

This is just the initial section of this lesson. 

I re-write the same narrative in a step-by-step format over the next few weeks.  Each day consists of one mini-lesson where students are mirroring your lesson with their own narratives.

Thank you,


This is a sample of my own writing that I would share with my class.

My Blarney Castle Adventure

County Cork’s angry, gray skies threw light, chilling drizzle on those anxiously waiting for entrance to the six hundred year old structure, the Blarney Castle. I was one of a million patrons in the mob below along with my wife, Christy and cousin, Katie. When the line inched closer and closer to the Central Gateway, I peeked up in awe craning my tired neck. “WOW! I can’t wait to get to the summit of this massive site.”
The breezy, misty air was overflowing with a multitude of languages and laughter drifting about. Gradually, we shuffled as one, at the pace of a snail. I said to my self, “We’ll never reach the top at this rate.”  (That was a statement I would later regret). The echoing voices ascended to the top of the castle and reverberated down like thunder. A bag-piper filled his windbag and played such lovely Irish Music as we ambled by.
Now that we were on our way to the summit, anticipation lurked around every corner. We climbed the dusty, twisting spiral stairs as the mildew went through our nostrils.  People were no more than a few inches away on either side. Claustrophobia was playing tricks on me, and my heart began racing.
Before long, my eyes spied the grey heavens, where showers were just dissipating and a slight draft caressed us. The air was bone chilling. I was trailing my wife when she stopped suddenly, grinning ear to ear. “Wow, it is gorgeous up here,” she said. Within seconds, my scuffled tennis shoes embraced the ancient castle’s battlements. I took a deep breath, with my cousin just paces behind, and sighed as I took in the patches of vast, green fields. We herded towards the Blarney Stone. (This is the spot where people lean backwards, kiss the wall, and receive the Gift of Gab). 
Panic ensued and I began trembling. I had never had a feeling of such magnitude before. As I wobbled side to side, my wife gawked at me in disbelief. She asked what was wrong, but by this point, I was lying on the ground with my body clenched tight in the fetal position. I murmured, “I can’t bear the heights and I am getting too anxious.” I hauled myself up again, glimpsed over the turrets, and a dizzy spell washed over me.  I felt as if I was spinning in the Tilt-A-Whirl.
With a booming heart, shaky knees, and sweat pouring down my grubby face, I decided I needed to get out of that place swiftly. My cousin said I am “oh so close” to the Stone, but I informed her I couldn’t handle this insanity any longer.
I plunged to the ground like a lead balloon for the third time and did an Army roll though visitor’s legs. I snaked my way under a wire fence which read: “NO ENTRY”. I took a massive gamble but I had to make my get away. I ambled towards the “NO ENTRANCE” sign and marched down a deep, dark stairwell. I thought to myself, “maybe I made a huge mistake, but, I may as well see where it leads.”
I took each step with the grace of a bull in a china shop. It looked as if the stairs were going to lead me to a dead end and my plea for help would fall on deaf ears. It was pitch black and I walked into a few cobwebs. Finally, I heard voices and I headed in that direction. Out of breath, and with feet on solid ground, I shouted, “Do not go up there if you are afraid of heights.” Other visitors gave me a look like they swallowed a pack of Sweet-Tarts.


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  3. I can't thank you enough for your kindness!