Do your kids love to tell stories?!
My kids LOVE to tell stories!
It seems to come naturally to them when they speak, but as soon as their pencils hit the paper (if they can find a pencil that is!); there is a breakdown. The ideas don’t seem to flow as naturally, organization becomes a bit dizzying, and you begin to question if the plot changed or if you zoned out trying to make sense of it all.
This is why I felt pushed to create a method for how to teach narrative writing in first-person point of view…the fun way! I love that the kids can enjoy telling fun and unique stories while following a structure that sets them up for success. It’s a lot more fun for me to read too!
Enter…Narrative Writing Diary of An Animal! Read on to see how we implement it!
Steps to the Narrative Writing Diary of An Animal:
First, we spend a few days reading the Diary of a…Series by Doreen Cronin. We read Diary of a Fly, Diary of a Worm, and Diary of a Spider. We laugh a lot (because who doesn’t love these books?!) and we chart the characteristics that each book shares. This leads us to really meaningful discussions and provides a clear pathway to the end goal. By seeing three examples explicitly modeled and spoken about, they are already on their way!
Next, we make a storyboard to plan out their Diary. This takes time because they have so many ideas at first and need a little help honing in on just one. They can choose any character they want to be. I’ve had kids choose dogs, horses, rabbits, foxes, cats, caterpillars…the sky (or zoo!) is the limit.
Once we have a strong storyboard for organizing the plot of the story, we take time to really plan out each entry and we team up with partners to help us make sure we stay on track. Partners make a WORLD of a difference! I highly recommend choosing partners for them – you know why! I love seeing kids deeply engaged in discussion about their writing. Watching them soundboard ideas off one another is the greatest as their eyes light up!
Once we edit and drag ourselves through the revision (why do kids dislike this part of the writing process? Erasers are totally in!), we write our final copies on plain white paper. I let them go wild with their illustrations and it is truly the classroom space we all love to see! Pencils moving, crayons sprawled across table tops, and the sound of extreme focus!
Of course this lesson series is only fun if you give the opportunity to share and present their published work. We gather on the carpet to listen to the creative ideas of others, we celebrate each other, and we laugh at the sense of humor our class authors cultivate as they read. It’s a great time and definitely less stress with the structure and printables I have designed.
I hope this brings some joy and excitement to your classroom as you teach writing this school year! I know parents will LOVE to see these come home. They will make the keepsake box for sure!
DM me on Instagram @thatteachingspark or tag me in a picture of your classroom diaries!