Lesson plan

Experience Explanations

When your students make connections to their personal lives, their writing will flourish! Use this lesson plan as a springboard to helping students plan and develop their own personal narratives.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

Which set of standards are you looking for?

  • Students will be able to plan for a personal narrative.
  • Students will be able to plan individual details of a narrative.
(5 minutes)
  • Display the photograph or picture so that all students can see it.
  • Invite the students to participate in finding as many details as possible in the picture.
  • Tell the students that they will be learning how to include details in a narrative essay that represents a real personal experience.
(15 minutes)
  • Read the story Owl Moon or another trade book of choice.
  • Demonstrate the process of writing the sequence of events in the story (including the beginning, middle, and end) on a piece of chart paper.
  • Write down examples of important details in the plot on the piece of chart paper or oversized sticky notes.
(20 minutes)
  • Tell the students that they will be working in groups to create part of a story, which will be used to create a class story.
  • Explain that the topic of the story is the events and experiences of the first day of school.
  • Divide students into groups and distribute white paper or oversized sticky notes to each group.
  • Assign each group a block of the day and ask the students to create both a visual and a sequence of events for that assigned block for the first day of school.
  • After all groups are finished, invite each group to share their part of the writing and post it on the board.
  • Invite classmates to give feedback on details that can be added to the story.
(15 minutes)
  • Tell the students that their task is to now plan a narrative about something that was once difficult for them. This could be something new that they learned (such as learning how to ski) or a challenging time in their life.
  • Distribute the worksheet Something Difficult and invite students to plan their writing on that graphic organizer.
  • Circulate around the room and prompt students as needed.


  • If students need extra practice adding details, give them practice thinking of what details might be relevant to certain feelings. Ask the students to complete the worksheet Elaborating on Feelings.


  • If students master the planning of a realistic story, teach them to use quotation marks to represent the speech of individuals in the story.
  • Use Toon Doo or other comic websites to have students illustrate the components of their personal narratives (either before or after writing).
(10 minutes)
  • Ask the students to plan a narrative about a time that they were surprised, writing their plan on the worksheet So Surprised!
(5 minutes)
  • Pair up students into partners and invite them to share their story ideas with one another, giving each other feedback.
  • Lead the class in a brief discussion on what makes a great personal narrative.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items