Writing Personal Narratives Using Small Moments!! - Susan Jones Teaching

Writing Personal Narratives Using Small Moments!!

How do you write narratives?!

I already mentioned this before, but I am piloting Being a Writer this year and while I am loving the community feeling, I feel like my writing is pretty basic right now. I know we are building the foundation, but I am itching to just dive in and get to our interesting openings and "juicy" details. I am also missing Lucy Calkin's small moments as a starting point to our narratives.

Thankfully, Being a Writer has some "off" weeks that I can use to supplement and that is exactly what I will be doing. First things first... I will introduce a small moment!

We always talk about a small moment as being one, small, isolated incident in our lives. For example, a small moment would be eating a ball park frank during a baseball game - not the baseball game as a whole. This can be a tricky concept for my firsties to narrow down, so after we brainstorm together, I send them off to fill out their own small moments maps.
Once I see that they can narrow down small moments, I have them choose one and we start writing our narratives! We go through the following steps:

Circle map: 
Students think of as many details as possible about your small moment.

Draw it out:
Using detailed pictures, students draw out what happened before, during, and after their small moment.

Stretch it out:
Students take each picture and write what is happening.

Book Study:
We use Froggy books to add some fun writing features to spice up our stories!

We use different checklists to help us self-edit and peer-edit our stories.

& finally publishing!

Well... I wasn't planning on giving you all the full run down on my narratives process, but it actually worked out well for me because now I feel more prepared for next week! Thanks for letting me talk it out with you all!

If you'd like to see my narratives pack in more detail, just click on the picture below:
Happy weekend & happy writing!


Sweet Lisa, over at Growing Firsties, has a new narratives pack you should all check out too! I'm all about finding what is best to meet YOUR needs!!


  1. Awwww, Susan, you are truly the best! Thanks so much for the shout out! I have your small moments from your PN unit already prepped and ready to go! I love how the units work in conjunction with each other without redundancy! xoxoxo

    1. :) you are the best, Lisa! I agree - they work great together!!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Halle! I gave your giveaway a FB shoutout!! Congrats on 200 followers!!

  3. Susan, I love your small moments maps! What a great way to start off narratives! I found your blog from Across the Hall in 2nd!

    Lessons with Laughter

    1. Yay! Glad to have you Molly! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. I struggle with how to teach writing because I myself struggled with it during school. This is a GREAT way to see all the steps laid out! Can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!

    For the Love of First Grade

  5. This will definitely help me with teaching my students how to write great personal narratives. You are the best!
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  6. Downloading this one immediately! Looks fantastic... especially the maps! This will definitely help my firsties who have trouble adding details in their stories. Thank you!
    Colleen :-)
    Fun and Fearless in First

  7. I just found your blog and this post and I was so excited! This is my 2nd year using Being a Writer. Last year I followed it to the T...this year, I'm feeling like it is going way too slow. So I too have been working on small moments on the off weeks. So far I've been able to blend the 2 together. I like how Being a Writer provides a "road map" to make sure that I'm hitting necessary skills, but I miss the feel of Lucy Calkins. Thanks for these great resources. I'll definitely be using them.

  8. Ohhh writing is one of my favorite times with my kiddos . Thanks for sharing your great resources .


  9. I love these organizers and maps. Would you mind sharing those above on the blog post? If so, please email me at latasha.stinson@cms.k12.nc.us, I would really love to use these with my firsties as we are approaching small moments next week. Thank you in advance!!!


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