Lesson plan

Writing What We Know

Second graders will love learning about personal narratives as they listen to a hilarious text read aloud and begin to plan their own small moment stories.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to plan and start to write a personal narrative that includes details.

(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud an example of narrative writing, such as The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant.
  • Invite students to share what the story was about. Ask them to turn and talk to a peer, then have a few students share out their ideas with the class.
  • Share with students that one way to think about a narrative is to think of what happened in order using the following frame: First…Then…Finally…
  • Ask students to think about what strong emotion or feeling the story was about. Ask students to reflect on what they think the author wanted readers to know after reading.
(10 minutes)
  • Review the concept of a small moment by asking students to share what they think a small moment is. Elaborate as needed by saying, “A small moment story is about one event in an author’s life that they stretch across many pages and describe in detail.”
  • Ask students to think about the word “narrative” and what it means.
  • Create a class anchor chart to capture the definition of a narrative. Ideas might include: personal story, focus on a specific event, has beginning/middle/end, told across many pages, uses sensory details, and the writer focuses on a strong emotion or feeling. You can end by saying, “We write personal narratives to tell a story. Our story is about one moment, told over many pages in detail.”
  • Explain that today students will be planning and beginning to write a small moment narrative of their own.
(10 minutes)
  • Display the Narrative Story Organizer worksheet.
  • Discuss how a story is told across many pages, not just one page. You can use the example of telling a story across fingers.
  • Ask students to think of the story they just heard and, using the graphic organizer as a guide, map out the different parts of the narrative.
  • Review important points as needed, and share that writers often focus on a strong feeling or emotion when planning their story. They also tell the story in order, and tell about something that happened to them.
  • Explain that the Narrative Story Organizer doesn’t tell the whole story, just important bits for pre-planning.
  • Tell students that you want them to think of a small moment in their own lives. Ask them to close their eyes and think of a time when they felt excited/sad/angry/surprised and to give a thumbs-up when they have thought of something.
  • Have students turn and talk to a partner to share their idea for a small moment story.
(20 minutes)
  • Explain that students will now get to plan out their small moment story using a graphic organizer.
  • Pass out the Narrative Story Organizer worksheet to each student and have them complete the graphic organizer planning sheet for a story of their own.
  • Work with individual students as needed.


  • Provide students who need additional support with index cards to draw each section of their narrative before beginning the writing process. Encourage them to think of each card as one part of the story, this will help them write across many pages.


  • For advanced students who finish the graphic organizer early, have them complete the Writing Across Pages and I Felt So... worksheets.
(5 minutes)
  • Assess whether students are able to plan out a small moment narrative by collecting the graphic organizers and discussing the story with students.
  • Have students share their graphic organizer with a peer so they may check if they have filled out all of the sections and see if their planning makes sense.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather students back together and review the anchor chart that defines a narrative.
  • Ask 2-3 students to share out a few parts from their graphic organizer.
  • Offer suggestions and encouragement.
  • Answer questions as needed.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items