Narrative Writing

What is a Narrative?

We have looked as a class at both informational and opinion writing types. The last type of writing we will exam in the fifth grade is narrative writing. Informational writings give information about a topic, or tell the reader how to do something, such as how to build a birdhouse. Opinion writings give an opinion on a particular topic. You could write about which ice cream flavor you think is better, as long as you support your opinion! Today though, we will focus on our new type of writing, narratives. There are two types of narrative writings, personal and fictional.Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 10.38.32 PM

Personal narratives tell true stories about your own life.  They can be any type of story about you as long as it is told with true facts. You could choose to tell a story about your vacation last summer, or the best present you have ever gotten for Christmas. Personal narratives are easy to compose, because all you have to do is tell a story about something that has already happened. 

Read an example of a personal narrative here.

Fictional narratives are a little bit different from personal narratives. Fictional narratives tell a story just like personal narratives, but fictional narratives do not have to be true stories from your life. You can use your imagination when writing a fictional narrative. You could write a story about going to the beach and finding a treasure chest full of jewels. You may have never found a treasure chest full of jewels, but in a fictional narrative that doesn’t matter! Be creative and use your imagination.

Read an example of a fictional narrative here.

Here is the PSSA rubric for narrative writing. Please review this rubric, as this is how you will be scored on your writings.

The Narrative Elements

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 10.46.25 PMWe have talked about how all of our writing pieces require the use of different elements. Some elements for narrative writings will be the same as opinion and informational writings. The most important elements for narratives are, characters, setting, theme, plot (sequence of events), and problem and solution.

Every story needs a character. The main character or whom the story is mainly about is called the protagonist. Your story could also have minor characters, or an antagonist, a character against the protagonist.  If you are writing a personal narrative, the protagonist will be you.  The minor characters will interact with the protagonist, and help solve any problems in your story.

The setting in a story is where the story takes place.  It includes the time period and mood of your story as well. A good writer uses descriptive words to create a mood, and show what time period the story takes place.

The theme in a story is the message or big idea of the story. The author can create a theme for the story about what they believe in.  Ask yourself, what is the author trying to teach me through this story? All stories have some sort of underlying message or theme.

Plot is one of the most important elements of a narrative. Plot describes the how a story is structured, and shows the sequence of events in a story.   Every story starts with a beginning where the characters, setting, and problem are introduced. The story continues with rising action until it hits the middle or the climax of the story where the problem is solved. The story then declines with falling action until it comes to the end or the resolution.

Problem and solution are vital to a narrative story. A good writer creates tension in a story to make the reader want to continue reading the story. The problem should be stated or strongly suggested in the beginning of the story. Towards the middle of the story, the main characters should begin a course of action to solve the problem. The end of the story or the solution is where the problem is solved.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 10.46.02 PM

Read this slideshow explaining all the narrative story elements more in detail, and then watch the following you tube video.

Compare and Contrast Writing Models

We have discussed what a narrative is, and the different elements of a narrative. Now, lets explore how narratives are different and the same from informational and opinion elements in writing.

Watch this video to remind yourself of the informational elements:

Watch this video to remind yourself of the opinion elements:

Some of the biggest differences between informational essays and narrative essays are that informational essays inform the reader about something or how to do something. Informational essays also use facts and examples to support their information.  Opinion essays are different from narratives because, they display some sort of opinion. Narratives simply tell a story.

Revising Your Writing   

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 10.59.44 PMWhen we compose a piece of narrative writing, using the elements is a great place to begin. All the elements should be visible in your narrative, but you can still make your writing better. You will be graded according to the PSSA rubric, take a look at the rubric again.  There are a few things you need to check your writing for, and if they are not present, you must revise your writing to fit those things in.

In addition to the elements, your narrative should include, a hook, conventions, and variety of sentences, dialogue, transitions, point of view, and figurative language.

A hook is something to grab the reader’s attention and comes at the beginning of your writing, usually the first sentence. Conventions include all types of grammar. Do you have complete sentences, punctuation, capital letters, commas and indentations?  Make sure you choose only one point of view to tell your story from. Do not switch from first to third person, stay within only one point of view. Narratives should have at least three sentences containing dialogue between characters. Transitions refer to time order words, such as first, next, then, since, etc. Transitions should lead from one course of action to the next, and signal new paragraphs. Figurative language is also an important aspect of narrative writing. Be sure to include some type of figurative language we have discussed in class, such as personification, alliteration, metaphors, etc.

Be sure as you are revising your story you are paying attention to the PSSA rubric. Most importantly, you should be aiming for proficiency. Ask yourself:

  • Did you tell a story?
  • Did you answer the prompt correctly?
  • Did you focus on the topic you chose to write about?

Assignments:Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 11.16.34 PM.png

Assignment #1:

After you have read the personal and fictional narrative examples from topic #1 and reviewed the PSSA rubric, please choose one story to comment on. According to the rubric, give the story a score and explain why you think it should receive that score.  Which story have you chosen and why? Does the story contain all the narrative elements? What score did you give the story and why? Be sure to answer with 150 to 200 words, telling which story you chose, the score you gave it, and your reasons why. Submit your assignment to me by contact on this blog. 

Assignment #2:

After you have reviewed the elements of narratives and watched the review videos from topic #3, please complete a 3 way Venn diagram to show the similarities and differences between each writing type we have studied.

You can create this 3 way Venn diagram here.

You will need to click on “Get Started”, and create a name and title for your document. When finished please save your file to our classroom folder and then print your Venn diagram to turn it in via Google Docs and hard copy in the white bin.

Assignment #3:

Compose a personal or fictional narrative including all the elements. After you have composed your narrative, revise it and aim for proficiency.(Complete assignment #4 before continuing the rest of this assignment) When your paper is finished, grade it according to the PSSA rubric. Explain what grade you think it should receive and state your reasons why. Share your paper with me via Google Docs, and also turn in a paper copy in the white bin.

Assignment #4:

After you have read topic 4, decide which item needs the most revision in your paper. Submit a discussion of at least 200 words stating what revisions you found you needed to make, and why. Show how you changed your writing, by highlighting where you will change. Keep both copies of your page either digitally or in paper copy in your writing folder.

Writing Prompt:

Think of your favorite place to spend time. It could be a place in your school, in your community, or anywhere else. Think about what you do there and why it is your favorite place to spend time.

Write an essay for your teacher that describes your favorite place to spend time and explains why. Be sure to use details and examples to support your ideas.


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