Common Core Standards: ELA
ELA: KINDERGARTEN - GRADE 12
LITERACY: GRADES 6 - 12
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
- Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.
- Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
- Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution).
- Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
- Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.
Everybody has a story to tell, and while your students may complain they don’t have one, with a little reflection on their part, they can usually remember a time when they learned a lesson. This standard also gives students the opportunity to write fictional stories and to incorporate narratives and narrative techniques into other forms of writing. This standard isn’t just for your creative writing unit, folks.
In this standard, students should strategically use setting, plot, characters, and vivid details to tell their story. They will have to think about structure, pacing, and point of view. Through reflection, they’ll also provide that insight to life or theme. This is a great time to remind students to apply what they are learning in the reading/literature half of your class to their writing. Here’s an example to get you started.
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Teaching Guides Using this Standard
- 1984 Teacher Pass
- A Raisin in the Sun Teacher Pass
- A Rose For Emily Teacher Pass
- A View from the Bridge Teacher Pass
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Teacher Pass
- Animal Farm Teacher Pass
- Antigone Teacher Pass
- Beowulf Teacher Pass
- Death of a Salesman Teacher Pass
- Fahrenheit 451 Teacher Pass
- Fences Teacher Pass
- Frankenstein Teacher Pass
- Grapes Of Wrath Teacher Pass
- Great Expectations Teacher Pass
- Hamlet Teacher Pass
- Heart of Darkness Teacher Pass
- Julius Caesar Teacher Pass
- King Lear Teacher Pass
- Macbeth Teacher Pass
- Narrative of Frederick Douglass Teacher Pass
- Oedipus the King Teacher Pass
- Of Mice and Men Teacher Pass
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Teacher Pass
- Othello Teacher Pass
- Romeo and Juliet Teacher Pass
- The Aeneid Teacher Pass
- The As I Lay Dying Teacher Pass
- The Bluest Eye Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales General Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Cask of Amontillado Teacher Pass
- The Catch-22 Teacher Pass
- The Catcher in the Rye Teacher Pass
- The Great Gatsby Teacher Pass
- The House on Mango Street Teacher Pass
- The Iliad Teacher Pass
- The Lottery Teacher Pass
- The Metamorphosis Teacher Pass
- The Odyssey Teacher Pass
- The Old Man and the Sea Teacher Pass
- The Scarlet Letter Teacher Pass
- The Tell-Tale Heart Teacher Pass
- Their Eyes Were Watching God Teacher Pass
- Things Fall Apart Teacher Pass
- To Kill a Mockingbird Teacher Pass
- Wide Sargasso Sea Teacher Pass
- Wuthering Heights Teacher Pass
Tell a story? Write a narrative? Learned a lesson? No problemo! You know exactly what you’re going to write about because the image of the little girl remains with you today.
You think back to last year when the basketball season did not turn out as you’d hoped. You had just returned from a collarbone injury. You were excited to get back out on the court after a three-month break (no, pun intended). It was practice, and in your excitement, you skillfully dribbled the ball up and down the court, better than ever. But, an errant basketball made its way under your left foot, and you felt a sharp pain shoot through your leg. Lying on the ground, unable to move, you saw your leg hanging limply, and realized that it was broken.
You were rushed to the hospital and surgery was performed. You were sorely disappointed, and as you adjusted to homecoming, a wheelchair, and restrictions, you became increasingly discouraged. More and more, you asked why this had to happen to you. Two heartbreaking injuries! And, no more basketball for another three months! Being confined to a wheelchair was overwhelming. Your usual cheerful demeanor was replaced with an ever-present scowl.
Until the day of your three-week checkup. Until you saw the little girl standing in front of you. Until you saw her bald head, her skinny arms and legs, and her pale face. It was the smile you’ll never forget, for there was this tiny girl who, despite her cancer, was able to give you the biggest smile in greeting. That’s when you learned that things could have been a lot worse. That’s when you decided that it’s important to remain upbeat and positive, to earn your place on this earth. That’s when you learned broken, didn’t mean done.
This essay will come easily for you, you think. You’ll be the narrator of this real experience by describing the events through vivid descriptions and details. Your teacher offers you great advice. Make your reader be right on the court with you: PANT PANT. Sitting beside you in the ambulance: BUUUUUMMMPYEEEE. Pushing you in your wheelchair: UGH! Let the reader take in the hospital smells: YUCKY. Feel the pain in your leg: OUCH. See the little girl: SHOCKING.
You’ll use chronological order to tell your story, though you might inject comments of how you feel about what’s happening as you go. Be sure to think about the pace of your story. Indicate fast action as you dribble down the court and are whisked away in the ambulance with short sentences. Then, slow the story down just as you were slowed down by the cast, using longer sentences to linger on this action.
Build suspense through clear details about your disappointment. You might ask Why did this have to happen to me? several times within the essay. This will create that feeling-sorry-for-yourself impression you’re trying to develop. Describe the features of the little girl to shock and sadden your reader just as you were. Then, at the story’s end, reflect on the lesson you learned through the experience, how you grew as an individual, and how this experience impacts your life today.
Quiz QuestionsHere's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.
Mark each question as True or False.
- What Voice Should I Use in My College Application Essay?
- What's a Memoir
- Can My 5-Paragraph Essay Have 6 Paragraphs?
- Can My Essay Be in First Person?
- How to Know If Your Thesis Sentence Is Actually a Thesis Sentence
- SAT Reading 1.1 Sentence Completion
- SAT Reading 1.2 Sentence Completion
- SAT Reading 1.3 Sentence Completion
- SAT Reading 1.4 Sentence Completion
- SAT Reading 1.5 Sentence Completion
- Teaching Antigone: The First Three Letters of Funeral
- As I Lay Dying: Your Mother’s a Fish: Faulkner and Modernist Art
- As I Lay Dying: Dysfunction Junction: Somebody, Help These Bundrens!
- As I Lay Dying: Telling a Story from All Sides: Experimenting with Multiple-Perspective Narration
- Beloved: Endings
- Teaching Beowulf: Adapting Beowulf
- Black Boy: Tomes on an Adolescent Existence
- Catch-22: Waiting for Yossarian: Bureaucracy in Catch-22 and in Schools
- Catch-22: Oops, I Satirized It Again
- Cry, the Beloved Country: Missives Not to Be Missed
- Teaching A Raisin in the Sun: Costume Design
- Teaching A Rose for Emily: Dramatizing "A Rose for Emily"
- A Separate Peace: Lost in Translation? (Mapping a Community)
- Teaching A Tale of Two Cities: Serial Publishing
- Teaching A Tale of Two Cities: Mix and Match Plot Arrangements
- Teaching A View from the Bridge: Playbill
- Teaching A View from the Bridge: Talk Show
- Teaching The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Is Mark Twain is the Original Jon Stewart?
- Teaching Animal Farm: To Preface or Not to Preface
- Teaching 1984: From Doublethink to Doublespeak
- Teaching 1984: It's Not Over Until the Fat Lady Sings
- A Christmas Carol: Parable Party
- A Clockwork Orange: It's Living, It's breathing, It's Language!
- A Doll's House: Nora's Secret Diary
- Teaching A Good Man is Hard to Find: Take Two: A Good Ending Is Hard to Find