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Teacher Tips and Answers

Warm-Up for Personal Narratives

When we tell stories about things that happen to us, we share what makes us unique. You can connect with others by writing a personal narrative.

What Is a Personal Narrative?

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Writing a Personal Narrative
© Thoughtful Learning 2016

A personal narrative is a true story about a specific time in your life. Whenever friends get together, they like to share their experiences: “Guess what happened to me?” Sharing experiences makes life better for everyone—from classmates and teammates to family members and neighbors. By talking about what is going on in their lives, people connect with each other.

In this unit, you will write a personal narrative about an experience that taught you something about yourself. You need to select an experience that would interest and maybe even amaze your friends. Just follow the directions in the unit and use your natural storytelling ability.

Thinking About Sensory Details

You can bring a story to life with sensory details. Sensory details let the reader see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the experience—that is, live it. When you plan your own personal narrative, think carefully about what you sensed during the experience. Record your notes in a sensory chart. Here's a sample paragraph, followed by a sensory chart with details that bring the description to life.

Narrative Paragraph

The rumbling grew as our raft bobbed toward the drop in the river. The air moistened and smelled of morning dew. Ahead of us, copper water plunged off a set of boiling rapids, which carved their curving way among jagged cliffs. My mouth went dry with a tang of fear. “Hold on, everybody!” I shouted.

Sensory Chart

Sights

Sounds

Smells

Tastes

Textures

Copper water

Curving river

Jagged cliffs

Rumbling

Boiling

“Hold on, everybody!”

Morning dew

Tang of fear

Bobbing raft

Moist air

Dry mouth

Sights

Copper water

Curving river

Jagged cliffs

Sounds

Rumbling

Boiling

“Hold on, everybody!”

Smells

Morning dew

Tastes

Tang of fear

Textures

Bobbing raft

Moist air

Dry mouth

Fill in a sensory chart.

Take a moment to think about something fun or exciting that you did or experienced recently. Consider the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of the moment. What details would readers need to know to experience the event? Fill in the sensory chart with specific details. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

 

Sights

Sounds

Smells

Tastes

Textures

 

 

 

 

Sights

Sounds

Smells

Tastes

Textures

Teaching Tip

Let your students know that not all the senses need to be explained in their narratives. However, they should search for opportunities to provide readers with a vivid, sensory experience.

This lesson is a part of the Writing Personal Narratives MS unit.

Click the title to view more information about this unit and a full list of lessons that are included.

© 2017 Thoughtful Learning. Copying is permitted.

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