Personal Narrative Unit Plan

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Personal narrative writing can incorporate a myriad of skills and techniques. In this unit, middle and high school students will exercise their writing muscles as they participate in activities, discussions, and projects.

Personal Narrative

Personal narrative can take many forms. Guide students as they discover the characteristics of narrative, autobiography, and memoir. In this unit, your middle or high school students will write their own pieces, analyze classmates' writing, share their feedback.

Combining these formats under the personal narrative umbrella helps students to both organize the concepts in a logical manner and identify how each one is unique. The activities in this unit will get their creative juices flowing and their hands moving as they write several original pieces. As an optional extension, there are also ideas for adding a memoir study of ''Farewell to Manzanar''.

Topic Introduction

Introduce the topic using this Personal Narrative Lesson Plan. After a basic knowledge base has been built, move forward to engage students in writing their first personal narrative. Use these Personal Narrative Essay Topics and First-Person Narrative Essay Topics to create a list of options for students to utilize when determining their writing topic.

This initial essay can serve as an excellent baseline assessment to compare with their final piece at the end of the unit. Use these Personal Narrative Rubric Examples to guide your grading process throughout the unit.

Narrative Writing

Scaffolding in additional support works well even after the initial essay is complete, especially if that essay serves as your baseline assessment. Begin with this Narrative Paragraph Lesson Plan to guide students through the process of writing a short narrative. Provide students with these Humorous Narrative Essay Topics to spice up this segment of the unit. Students can laugh together as they share their writing in partners or teams.

Autobiographical Writing

Autobiographical writing encompasses many different options, such as memoir, narrative, and vignette. Use this Autobiography Lesson Plan to broaden student understanding of the personal narrative framework. Challenge advanced students with this Writing an Autobiography Lesson Plan or support struggling students using this ESL Autobiography Lesson Plan. This lesson plan is not only for students with limited English proficiency. It can apply as a tool for differentiation to accommodate other students, as well.

Infuse this unit segment with some engaging Autobiography Activities to provide application opportunities before students write a lengthier autobiographical piece. Then, provide students with these Autobiographical Writing Prompts for High School to select a topic they want to use for their own writing. After students write an autobiographical essay, they can share their writing with a team for insight and feedback.

With their autobiographical essay serving as the base, extend student thinking even further with these Autobiography Project Ideas. These projects allow them to apply their personal narrative and storytelling skills outside of the typical essay format.

Memoir Writing

Memoirs take a more limited view of one aspect of a person's life, as opposed to an autobiography which typically addresses an entire lifetime. Use this Memoir Lesson Plan to introduce this style of writing.

A simple and fun activity to spur student creative thinking is the six-word memoir. Use this Six Word Memoir Lesson Plan to get students excited about memoir writing. Students can make posters with their six-word memoirs and an illustration or symbol that they feel represents them.

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