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Lesson Plan #: AELP-WCP0222
Submitted by: Jeanne Guthrie
Email: rjguthrie@kc.rr.com
School/University/Affiliation: Retired teacher
Date: May 24, 2003

Grade Level: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8


  • Language Arts/Writing

Duration: 8 or more class periods depending on the prior knowledge and ability of the class

Description: The National Committee on Writing calls for a revolution in writing stating that writing should be a part of every subject area, taught by every teacher. The panel feels that writing allows students to struggle with details and wrestle with facts. While narrative writing calls on a student’s imagination, the ability to develop characters, sequence, and find logical conclusions to problems, does ask them to carefully work with facts and details. This lesson provides students with concrete graphic organizers to help them develop a story, and it helps to keep writing from becoming The Neglected ‘R’ as the committee so discouragingly suggests.

Goals: NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts :

  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written and visual language to communicate with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions, media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.
  • 7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.


  • Student will learn the elements of narrative writing.
  • Students will learn how to develop characters.
  • Students will learn how to create a setting.
  • Students will learn about the mood of a story.
  • Students will learn about plot.
  • Students will learn about the resolution of a problem.
  • Students will write a short story.
  • Students will use graphic organizers to develop stories.
  • Students will edit for an audience.
  • Materials:

    Procedure: Teacher Preparation:
    Run off copies of the graphic organizers, Task, and Rubric for each student. Put them in a folder for easy access. Have pictures from magazines that could tell a story for those students needing more guidance. Become familiar with the story elements of narrative writing: characters, setting, mood, problem, events, and resolution.

    Instruction and Activities:

    Days 1-3:
    Begin a class discussion on what makes a good story. If students have been taught the elements of a narrative writing, simply review with them; but if they have not, go over the parts of a story: Characters, Setting, Problem, Events, High Point, and Resolution.

    The Beginning : In the first part of the story the characters, the setting, and the problem should be introduced.

    Events : These should be the occurrences that lead up to the high point, or turning point, when you know the story will come to an ending soon. The most difficult part of teaching events is to have students narrow them in the planning of the narrative. It is very important that they not be insignificant details that will be filled in as the student starts to write. It is also important to encourage events from the turning point to the resolution. Students would just prefer a quick ending such as, Then she woke up from her nap.

    High Point or Turning Point : Here the reader senses that the problem is solved or the character has decided to compensate for the problem. The reader knows that the end is near and events are going to lead to the resolution.

    Resolution : This is the end of the story. Whatever the character does with the problem is revealed. Many times the character has changed from the attitudes and feelings at the beginning of the story.

    When students are aware of the parts of a narrative, begin to discuss the parts individually. (If computers are available, students can look at the web links that talk about the parts and give writing prompts that might get the students thinking of what they want to write.) Give students the Task for the assignment. Read it over with them so that they know what they will be doing and how the task meets the writing standards. Next, give them the Rubric so that they will know how the assignment will be graded and exactly what is expected of them. After you are sure students understand what they are to do, hand out the graphic organizers that you have bound together or put in a folder. Explain what each one is asking. While they don’t have to be completed in any particular order (our thinking and planning comes in spurts), it might be easier to first develop the characters, the setting, the problem, and the mood. Finally, hand out the Narrative Story Map where students can put all of their ideas together.

    Days 4-5:
    Let students begin to write, but be sure that they have gone through their thinking and the graphic organizers first.

    Day 6:
    Have students self-edit and then let them edit in pairs or small groups. Go over the points of editing. If needed, teachers can use How to Teach Editing to Students (see Materials ), but this will add several days to the lesson.

    Day 7:
    Have students make their final copies of the story.

    Day 8:
    Let students share their stories.

    Lesson Extensions:
    Put the stories into one anthology for students to check out and read to parents.

    Assessment: Teacher observation, the graphic organizers, and the Rubric are all forms of assessment.

    Useful Internet Resources:
    * Writing Skills: Narrative Essays

    * National Literacy Strategy: Writing Narrative

    * Practice Writing Prompts

    * Narrative Writing Prompts

    Special Comments: Depending on prior knowledge of editing and Six Traits, this lesson could take much longer.