I love this explanation! Students will classify their ideas into either a "watermelon" or a "seed", truly allowing them to understand the differences between broad topics and narrow topics. This approach also gives direction on how to pinpoint what the "moment" is that students should be writing about.
In this video, you'll see the teacher go through the class narrative in a whole group setting. She breaks it down to a beginning, middle, and end, so students can examine each section, looking for what "more" they might add. Writing a class narrative is an approach I have taken in my own classroom. It serves as a great example and basis for students to use when they move on to their own narratives. This whole group approach also allows all students to contribute.
This was a book my colleagues and I found very useful! It not only goes over the standards and expectations for each grade level, but the book also describes how elaboration is a key focus in Common Core writing. It gives several tips and ideas for how to get your students to grasp this difficult concept. There are also helpful sections on how to help students use more concrete and sensory language and reflect on the events in a conclusion.
The idea of the watermelon being the broad topic and the seed as the hyper focused topic for a personal narrative has proven to be extremely helpful in my classroom. My students often want to write about something like their entire trip to Disney World, but when you ask them if that is a "watermelon" or a "seed" story, they can quickly identify it's a "watermelon". This forces students to concentrate on narrowing their focus.
Students often have too many or too few transition words. This lesson does a great job of highlighting when, where, and how to implement transition words. This lesson is simple, but very helpful...using changes in setting to guide students' use of transitions.
Whether you teach upper elementary and prefer to use the "hamburger organizer" or you teach a primary grade and need something a little more basic, this site has an organizer for you. One of the options even reminds students of the fact that this should be a "small moment" in time and not a broad topic. The organizers include prompts for students to jot down their sensory details, the setting, the hook, emotions and feelings - much more than your typical organizer.
This is a comprehensive list of personal narrative writing prompts that can be altered or adapted depending on the grade you teach. Several of the topics allow you to include other content areas such as science and social studies. This list can be especially important when it seems that these subjects are often the areas that get cut when time is limited.
Many students have either had this story read to them or have read it themselves. It's a great way to introduce personal narratives through a picture book. The use of heavy dialogue serves as a good example for students to incorporate dialogue in their own writing. Students will have a more vivid, entertaining, well-rounded story.
Scoring personal narratives can be difficult, especially with so many essential elements to keep in mind. This rubric is similar to the Common Core scoring guidelines using 4,3,2,1 to indicate the student's performance.
This video takes you through exactly what a personal narrative should look like. It addresses telling a story in the proper sequence, using important transition words, and determining which details should be included.