You walk into Ms. Lin's 5th grade classroom. The students in the class are working on writing stories.

A small group of students is working with Ms. Lin. You look over at the rest of the class and their work, and everyone has the teacher's markings for revision.

Person, writing in a notebook with a pen.

How is Ms. Lin managing the class during writing time?

She uses 3 different approaches to teaching narrative writing to:

  • model appropriate narrative writing techniques

  • keep her students engaged throughout the lesson

Whole Class Lesson ("I Do") — Modeled Writing

📖 Students and the teacher think out loud together to create a writing piece. Students will observe how the teacher creates the class's narrative writing.

Flaticon Icon


Flaticon Icon

The teacher uses a mentor text to read to students. This provides an example of what students' writing should look like.

Flaticon Icon

The class will come up with a narrative story based on the mentor text. The teacher writes the story in front of the class as they come up with ideas.

Ms. Lin's Modeled Writing Example Lesson

Flaticon Icon

  • Ms. Lin introduces the idea of writing stories using point of view

  • Students discuss their favorite story that contains a protagonist and antagonist

  • The goal: students will rewrite a story from the antagonist's point of view

Flaticon Icon

  • As a mentor text, Ms. Lin chooses The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! by Jon Scieszka, which tells the famous story from the wolf's point of view

  • This sets an example to the class of what their writing would look like

Flaticon Icon

  • After reading the mentor text, Ms. Lin and the class decide to use This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen, a book the class has read before

  • Together, the class will rewrite this story from the Big Fish's perspective

Flaticon Icon

Ms. Lin uses the following prompts to steer the class in the right direction:

According to the little fish...

  • What happens at the beginning of the story that leads to the climax?

  • What is the conflict?

  • What is the resolution of the story?

According to the whale...

  • What happens at the beginning of the story?

  • What is the conflict?

  • What is the resolution of the story?

Small Group Lesson ("We Do")

📖 Students work together with their teacher and peers as they create their narrative writing piece.

Flaticon Icon

Shared Writing

📖 Students come up with ideas whole class or in small groups, and the teacher writes down the ideas as they go along.

Flaticon Icon

Interactive Writing

📖 Students and their teacher share the same writing utensil to write down ideas together.

Flaticon Icon

Guided Writing

📖 The teacher supports a small group in their writing process and provides feedback on skills the group can work on.

Flaticon Icon

Conference Writing

📖 The teacher supports individual students in their writing process and provides individual feedback.

Independent Writing ("You Do")

Flaticon Icon Lesson

Students write/revise/edit their work. During this time, students are either working on a class prompt or prompts from the school's writing center.

Flaticon Icon Examples

📝 Narrative Writing Short Prompts

Short prompts are meant to have shorter responses. The intentions of short prompts are to practice using imagination, inspire the writer, etc.

  • Describe a time you forgot your homework at home.

  • Have you ever woken up thinking it was a school day, but it was actually Saturday? What was that like?

📝 Narrative Writing Class Prompts

Class prompts tend to have more guidance in the plot, character development, theme, details, etc.

  • Using [title of a story] as a template, incorporate metaphors in your story.

  • When organizing your plot, what would be your ultimate conflict in your story, and how does it play with your story's theme?

Examples of Lesson Topics (for Whole Class or Small Group)

Flaticon Icon

Some examples of short lesson topics:

✏️ How to hook your reader

✏️ How to create a plot

✏️ How to incorporate the theme with the plot

✏️ What is character development and how can you use it in your story?

✏️ How to use dialogue in your story

Knowledge Check

Teacher reading a story to the class Photo by CDC on Unsplash

You notice that in Ms. Lin's writing class, a group of 5 students needs help with writing out their plots. What they need is an extra lesson on how to use a plot diagram.


Which type of narrative writing approach would be beneficial?

Take Action

Person, saying

Are you ready to start teaching narrative writing to students?


Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

Get support to take action on this Byte