Second Grade Authors Personal Narratives

by: Christine Oman, Second Grade Teacher
Shorecrest second graders recently wrapped up a personal narrative writing unit (also known as "Small Moment Stories"). Students started the process by creating Heart Maps and Me Collages, so they could list and sketch topics that are near and dear to their hearts. This way they would have plenty of ideas when it was time to write about events of their lives.

Next, students planned their stories in order, mapping them out from beginning to end. Then it was time to write their memories across the pages telling the stories bit by bit. Soon enough, these writers focused on strengthening their personal narratives using transitional phrases and words. They also stretched their sentences by adding more details and incorporating descriptive adjectives (“juicy words”).  

Teachers shared anchor texts like “Owl Moon,” “Rollercoaster,” and “Fireflies” to model zooming in on a small moment, and students learned how authors can describe noticings, feelings and settings in detailed ways. The Chargers also received lessons on how to add action and dialogue into their stories, so that readers could easily envision their stories.

Next up, students learned how to hook a reader by creating an interesting and powerful lead to help readers get interested in their stories right away. They practiced writing leads that involved:
  • Onomatopoeia (sounds words)
  • A detailed setting (where and when)
  • Questions (asking the readers something) 
  • Talking (incorporating dialogue)
Later in the process, students learned how to best incorporate a powerful ending for their readers by:
  • Using action
  • Giving an update
  • Leaving a message of hope
  • Writing a lesson learned
  • Circling back to the beginning of the story and summarizing
After editing their stories using the acronym CUPS (Capitalization, Usage, Punctuation Spelling) and ARMS (Add, Remove, Move and Substitute), their stories were ready for final rewrites. Following this editing process, students practiced reading their stories to their peers.

Finally it was time to share their amazing stories with their families and guests such as Head of School Nancy Spencer, Head of Lower School Dr. Bianco, and LS Dean Mrs. Palazzolo. The writers were proud of their hard work and the warm reception and feedback they received from their guests. 

As you can see, so much more went into writing a story about themselves than anyone would have first imagined. These second grade writers proved they are capable authors, with themselves being the stars of the story (and the day).

Find more photos here.

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St Petersburg, FL 33703
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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.