Writing Personal Narratives to Prepare for New State Assessments

Team ThinkCERCA has been on a roll over the last few months providing educators with even more cross-curricular literacy lessons. In addition to new math literacy lessons, we've added narrative writing to the platform as well to help students feel confident and prepared for college essay writing and the narrative writing portions of new state assessments, including PARCC, Smarter Balanced, and ACT.

Students can now practice their narrative writing skills with ThinkCERCA’s new differentiated narrative writing sets:

  • Growing Up: How do authors convey themes about important moments of change in their lives to their readers?
  • Overcoming Obstacles: How do characters develop as they face conflicts and overcome obstacles?

ThinkCERCA’s narrative writing lessons mirror the narrative writing tasks in new assessments. Our narrative writing lessons start with an authentic and engaging anchor text.

 

LEFT: ThinkCERCA grade 6 example from the Overcoming Obstacles narrative set; RIGHT: Grade 6 ELA example from PARCC.

 

 

Like new state assessments, ThinkCERCA provides students with opportunities to answer text-based multiple-choice questions about the anchor text before moving on to their own writing.

 

LEFT: ThinkCERCA grade 6 example from the Overcoming Obstacles narrative set; RIGHT: Grade 6 ELA example from PARCC.

 

 

And allow students to express themselves through narrative writing using effective techniques, descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

 

ThinkCERCA-PARCC-Narrative-Prompt LEFT: ThinkCERCA grade 6 example from the Overcoming Obstacles narrative set; RIGHT: Grade 6 ELA example from PARCC.

 

 

ThinkCERCA’s narrative writing lessons provide additional support for students’ practice of narrative writing with:

Instructions for analyzing the author’s techniques in the anchor text.

Highlighting-Annotating-Narrative

Graphic organizers and thought-provoking questions for planning the narrative.

Highlighting-Annotating-Narrative-GO

Example questions to help students fill out the storyboard:  

  • Where were you when you saw someone do something unexpected? 
  • What two or three details about the place and time got your attention most—were they sounds, smells, sights, physical sensations, tastes? 
  • What are some examples of how people usually behave in this place? 

Additional narrative writing models based on the anchor text.

Narrative-Models

ThinkCERCA also provides multimedia Minilessons to introduce or provide refreshers for students on concepts like Narrative Writing, Plot, Theme, and Character.

Personal-Narratives
And as with all ThinkCERCA content, these lessons are standards-aligned and differentiated at 10 levels of readiness to meet all of your students where they are.

Claire Podulka

Claire Podulka

Claire has spent her career managing content creation of every possible sort, from print textbooks to marketing collateral to a travel blog. Having worked with major educational publishers and mobile companies, she brings project management and editorial expertise to her role at ThinkCERCA.

Claire has a degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a PMP certificate from the Project Management Institute.