Lesson plan

Narrative Prewriting Activities

So your students are going to write a narrative? Use these prewriting exercises to help them choose an idea and plan out their story.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

Students will be able to plan for a narrative writing project using various prewriting strategies.

(5 minutes)
Exploding the MomentNarrative Structure: PrewritingCrafting Imagery
  • Discuss: What is an essay?
  • Explain that an essay is a piece of writing focused on a central idea.
  • Write the four main kinds of essays on the board and review each: Persuasive/opinion, Explanatory/informative, Narrative, and Descriptive.
  • Touch on the features, structure, and purpose of each.
(15 minutes)
  • Touch back on the idea that different genres, or writing types, have different structures.
  • Ask students what they know about the structure of a story. They will likely share that stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
  • Explain that Narrative essaysAre stories, and they also have a central theme that communicates a bigger idea about life.
  • Distribute the worksheet Narrative Structure: Prewriting.
  • Go over the structure of a narrative essay. If your students have a topic in mind, they can tailor their responses to their idea.
(15 minutes)
  • Explain that oftentimes narratives use a variety of language features, like interjections, ALL CAPS, dialogue, imagery, etc. Model these and other similar features.
  • Distribute the worksheet Crafting Imagery.
  • Go over this exercise together, pointing out the language features in the poem (interjection, ALL CAPS, imagery, etc.).
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet Exploding the Moment.
  • Have students think about a topic for their narrative essay. It should be a story idea that has a theme that they can close with.
  • It is best if the idea is based on an actual experience that they had. It’s easier to write descriptively if they have it in their memory.
  • Go over the instructions and demonstrate the activity.
  • Instruct students to complete the sheet independently.
  • Support:Use a moment from a novel you are reading or have read as a class for the example idea. Reference the text for details.

  • Enrichment:Instruct students to write a paragraph of one of their "exploded moments."
(5 minutes)
  • Pass out a half sheet of paper. Ask students to write the three parts of a narrative essay.
(5 minutes)
  • Discuss: Why do writers slow down the action in their stories at different times? How do they know when to slow it down? Can they share an example from a book they are reading?

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