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7 strong narrative writing anchor charts.
Narrative Writing is my personal favorite type of writing to teach. The creativity and possibilities that come with this type of writing are endless! Today, we are going to take a look at 7 strong anchor charts for teaching narrative writing. Anchor charts are always a great tool for introducing or even revisiting a skill. In this case, the anchor charts are going to help students better understand the requirements and structure of narrative writing.
Introduce the Narrative Writing Structure
First, students will need to know what Narrative Writing is! Students will be tasked with writing narrative stories throughout their education. The anchor chart above divides the topic into personal and fictional narrative writing. Initially, students will be writing stories about events that they experienced, personal narratives. However, writing those personal stories will help students develop writing skills that will enhance their fictional narratives, too!
Next, you will want to show students the narrative writing structure. This anchor chart displays the narrative writing structure as a hamburger [or veggie burger :)]. I like to think that this structure image helps students remember that you can fill your burger with yummy ingredients (events and details), but it also needs a top and bottom (an introduction and conclusion).
Teach Students to Focus on Small Moments
Now, students will need help narrowing their writing ideas down to a specific event. This concept is more difficult for students to understand than one would think. So, we like to use a watermelon as a metaphor.
The whole watermelon represents a broad topic or big idea, like “Summer.” You wouldn’t want to write about your entire summer in one story. So, you take a slice out of that watermelon. Maybe your family took a trip or did something fun together over the summer. The slice may represent a “Family Trip.” Within that slice, there are seeds or specific events/things that were memorable on the trip. For example, maybe it was your first time riding a big roller coaster, you made a friend at the playground, built a sandcastle at the beach, made cookies with your grandmother, etc.
Choosing one of those memories and zooming in on the details and feelings of the moment will make for a much better story than simply writing about summer.
Focus on Aspects of the Body of Writing
Our next Narrative Writing Anchor Chart will focus in on the Body of the piece. This will be all of those yummy ingredients within your story burger! You will want students to remember that a story has a beginning, middle, and end. They also need to know that within those parts, there needs to be detail and description that engages the reader. *This chart can also be made with a simple, 3-row chart where you could provide an example of each event with details. OR laminate it and reuse it over and over!
Feelings and actions are very important to narrative writing. I recommend having a mini-lesson where students can get involved in the making of a feelings and actions anchor chart. Discuss different feelings and emotions you may experience during a memorable event. Then, talk about the actions that you may do during the event or during those emotions.
Teaching Introductions and Conclusions Explicitly
Finally, you are going to need to talk about those buns! The introduction and conclusion parts of your story burger are just as important as the middle. Many times, it is more effective to write introductions and conclusions after the body of the piece has been written. Be sure to provide examples of different types of hooks and closings from narrative stories you may have read. This is a great opportunity to refer back to mentor texts you have already read. Revisiting just the introduction and conclusion, students will remember how those stories were as readers. It will help them, creatively, and keep them developing their skill!
These simple narrative writing anchor charts are going to be great tools to refer back to throughout the year!
Interested in Ready-Made Lesson Plans for Narrative Writing?
These all-inclusive units have everything you need to teach opinion writing in your classroom! These are stocked with anchor charts, lesson plans, graphic organizers, writing prompts, and more!
- Kindergarten Narrative Writing Unit
- First Grade Narrative Writing Unit
- Second Grade Narrative Writing Unit
- Third Grade Narrative Writing Unit
- Fourth Grade Narrative Writing Unit
Want to learn more about teaching Narrative Writing?
- Mentor Texts for Narrative Writing
- How to Teach Narrative Writing
- The Importance of Pre-Writing
- Read more about: Anchor Charts , Common Core Aligned , Writing Blog Posts
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Personal Narrative Writing Anchor Chart Poster | Notebook Reference Guide
Also included in: Language Arts Anchor Chart Posters BUNDLE l Writing l Reference Guides
Print & Digital Writing Posters/Anchor Charts | Opinion, Informative, Narrative
Also included in: 3rd-5th Grade Writing Curriculum MEGA BUNDLE | Homeschool Compatible |
Transition Words Anchor Chart
Fictional Narrative Writing Unit 4th Grade Graphic Organizer Anchor Charts
Also included in: 4th Grade Writing Units BUNDLE Personal Fictional Opinion Informational
Fictional Narrative Writing Unit 3rd Grade Graphic Organizer Anchor Charts
Also included in: 3rd Grade Writing Units BUNDLE Personal Fictional Opinion Informational
Personal Narrative Writing
Also included in: Writer's Workshop Bundle
Writing Posters, Writing Anchor Charts for Interactive Writing Notebook Guides
Also included in: Visuals MegaBundle: 300 Reading and Writing Posters & 400 Word Wall Cards
1st Grade Narrative Opinion Informative Writing Bundle - printable & digital
Opinion Expository Writing Graphic Organizers Personal Narrative How-To Notebook
- Easel Activity
Also included in: Narrative Biography Research Writing Prompts Opinion Poetry Writers Workshop
Writing Strategies Posters and Anchor Charts
Also included in: Reading & Writing Anchor Charts Bundle - Print and Digital
Writing Anchor Charts (Growing Bundle)
Personal Narrative Writing Unit FOURTH GRADE
Also included in: Writing Bundle: Personal Narrative, Informational, Opinion & Fiction 4TH GRADE
Narrative Writing - Beginning/Middle/End - Sentence Starters
Expository, Narrative Writing Conclusions, Leads Hooks Introduction Paragraphs
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Narrative Writing- Graphic Organizer, Writing Paper, Checklist, and Anchor Chart
Personal Narrative Writing Unit 3rd Grade Graphic Organizer Anchor Charts
Personal Narrative Writing Anchor Charts Print and Digital
Also included in: Personal Narrative Writing BUNDLE PRINT and DIGITAL
2nd Grade Fiction Narrative Writing Unit, Writing Prompts, Graphic Organizers
Also included in: Second Grade Writing Units Bundle l Activities, Graphic Organizers, Worksheets
Writing Anchor Charts | Bulletin Board Set | Narrative Informative Opinion
Personal Narrative Writing Unit 5th Grade Graphic Organizer Anchor Charts
Also included in: 5th Grade Writing Units BUNDLE Personal Fictional Opinion Informational
Narrative Writing | Personal Narrative | Naplan Test Prep | State Testing
Personal Narrative Writing Unit 4th Grade Graphic Organizer Anchor Charts
Fictional Narrative Writing Unit 2nd Grade Graphic Organizer Anchor Charts
Also included in: 2nd Grade Writing Units BUNDLE Personal Fictional Opinion Informational
On-Demand Writing Prompts: Test Prep for Narrative, Opinion, Informative Writing
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Home » Anchor Charts » 17 Engaging Personal Narrative Anchor Chart
17 Engaging Personal Narrative Anchor Chart
As teachers, we’re always looking for ways to make our lessons more interactive and engaging. However, it can be challenging to find activities that are interesting and fun. You also want to deliver a lesson that keeps students focused on the task rather than what they’ll be eating for lunch or what they will do after school. That’s especially tricky when teaching a complex topic like personal narrative writing .
As you’ll probably already know, in personal narrative writing activities, students create an account of a specific life event using the first-person point of view. It’s a type of creative writing that can spark meaningful discussions among classmates and the teacher.
Anchor charts are great visual tools that help you and your students better understand concepts and ideas that are new or difficult to grasp. In addition, anchor charts help your students understand and retain information in the long term. They are easy to make and can be done in a few minutes.
Table of Contents
Elements of a good personal narrative anchor chart, introduce the elements of good personal narrative writing, different ways of presenting personal narrative anchor charts, teaching personal narrative – resources from teach simple, other personal narrative resources.
For writing assignments like personal narrative writing, you can ask your students to create their own anchor charts that include key terms and concepts. Alternatively, you could get their creativity flowing by drawing up a chart of literary devices like metaphors, similes, personification, etc. You could include examples of each concept on your chart to help your students better understand the information – the more creative, the better!
Personal narrative writing is more effective if students understand the essential elements of good writing. Some of the key elements you could illustrate in your chart are:
First, you need to include basic story elements that still apply to personal narratives. These include:
The sequence of events or plot
A plot is a plan for a narrative, including its beginning, middle, and end, characters, and setting. A plot functions as a roadmap for your narrative, showing readers where it is headed and what surprises lie ahead.
The setting of a story isn’t just about location; it also includes time period, weather, and mood. The setting is more than just a backdrop; it plays an integral part in the story. It may be set at any time or place as long as it is clearly defined. The setting establishes the story’s tone, mood, and characterization.
Developing well-rounded characters
Even though it is a personal narrative, the reader won’t necessarily know the author or their backstory. Good stories are driven by characters. Characters also serve as readers’ eyes, filtering the story’s events through their perspective. Besides shaping the plot, characters push the story forward.
A problem and a solution
A personal narrative, like any story, doesn’t necessarily have to be a harrowing tale about stopping an evil genius from taking over the world or solving a crime. Instead, it may be about an account of the student trying to convince their parents to get them a new bicycle or banding together with friends to outwit a bully. Anything can be a problem. A tangle between characters, a choice to be made, or a predicament to be overcome. It must, however, be solvable. If a problem is not solvable, it will not make a decent story.
Once you have reestablished these elements, you can start to introduce more specific details that will support a personal narrative
The narrative structure
Authors have to keep their narratives focused by not introducing too many characters or too many places the characters visit. You can create an anchor chart that lists the aspects of a good story. Students should consider where and when their memories or events occurred, create a precise sequence of events, including important details, and keep the narrative focused on the small moment.
Finding their voice
As a writer, you should use your voice to express your feelings, develop your characters, and express your ideas clearly and concisely.
This is a crucial element of all types of writing, but it’s essential in personal narrative essays. Students shouldn’t try to write exhaustive biographies in 500 words. Instead, they should write just enough to give readers insight into their personalities and experiences without going overboard.
Students should try writing their narratives as if they’re speaking to readers in person. This will help them avoid sounding overly formal or self-conscious. An authentic, casual style does more to connect with readers than anything else.
Personal narratives shouldn’t be a series of general observations about life. They should focus on a specific event or series of related events.
So, how would you illustrate these points on a chart ? Here are a few ideas.
There is no wrong or right way to put an anchor chart together. It’s meant to be a creative process that helps you simplify concepts, making them easy for your students to take in. So here’s a little inspiration to get the creativity flowing.
Students will be expected to create narratives throughout their education. Break down narrative writing into personal and fictional versions. Writing personal narratives help students improve their fictional writing skills, as well!
Hints and tips
This chart leads your students through the process of writing a narrative essay. You can model the process by using this in your pre-planning and writing/answering each of these components. For example, start by writing down a small moment from your life, then write down a catchy lead, and so on.
Personal narrative checklist
Checklists are an excellent tool for making students feel self-reliant and confident to tackle the task.
Focus on small moments
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
Draw it out
Younger children find it easier to express a narrative through drawing, especially when their writing skills are just beginning to emerge.
A Student’s Guide to Writing a Personal Narrative
Whether you are teaching in-person or doing distance learning, this resource is perfect for teaching your students how to write narratives.
Bilingual narrative writing graphic organizer
These worksheets will help students brainstorm and develop ideas before composing their narrative writing piece. They are available in English and Spanish.
My November journal: creative writing prompts
This journal is the perfect way to get your students to write daily and feel comfortable about their experiences.
Writing a memoir
This unit provides teachers with a four or five-week that includes daily lessons to help students delve deeply into memoir reading and writing.
Display charts filled with tips, checklists and reminders
Have a selection of visual reminders and tips on display, so your students can refer to them whenever they need a confidence boost.
Students can become better writers by learning and practising moment writing. For example, personal narratives typically turn into lists of events. Still, students can see how much more meaningful their writing becomes by focusing on the most important moment.
Personal narrative graphic organizers
Giving students a planning tool to organize their thoughts will do wonders for their writing process. In addition, they can be adapted to suit the grade level and expectations.
Aren’t we lucky we live in a time where we can share resources and ideas. So many bundles and complete units are available to kick-start our creativity and save us some precious time.
Thought starters and prompts
There are many reasons why children may need thought starters or writing prompts. For some children, these can help to stimulate their creativity and get their ideas flowing. For other children, it may be a way to help them focus on a particular topic or theme. Whatever the reason, thought starters and writing prompts can be a helpful tool for children in the writing process.
Students should be exposed to a good example or two before they start writing their own personal narratives. Choose a powerful, engaging personal narrative mentor text to inspire them.
Personal narratives are powerful tools for connecting with others. They can help students make sense of their experiences and gain confidence in writing and sharing their stories. But it can be challenging to teach them how. As a teacher, you want to help your students understand the information they are learning and retain it long after they have left your classroom. Anchor charts are great visual tools that help your students better understand the concept of a personal narrative and organize their ideas .
By Nicola K Nicola lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. Before starting her career as a writer, she specialized in gifted education and now writes about education and supporting parents and teachers of children who are “different” according to commonly-held views.
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29+ Multiplication Anchor Chart to Count On
9+ inspiring narrative writing anchor chart.
Ideas, Inspiration, and Giveaways for Teachers
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40 Must-Have Anchor Charts for Teaching Writing of All Kinds
Writing information and inspiration for all!
When it comes to writing, many kids struggle to get their ideas down on paper. That’s why we’ve rounded up all the best writing anchor charts, to help your students master narrative, transitions, punctuation, editing, theme, and so much more! Try some of these ideas in your classroom to give your kids the writing support they need.
1. Why Writers Write
First and second graders will draw inspiration from this fun-filled anchor chart about why we write. Make this chart applicable to older students by expanding on each aspect with a specific audience or goal. “To share experiences” can become “to share experiences with friends, in a postcard, or with readers of a memoir.”
Source: Cara Carroll
2. Expanding Sentences
Show students how a simple sentence can become a real powerhouse by exploring when, where, how, and why, along with adding adjectives. So powerful!
Source: Upper Elementary Snapshots/Expanding Sentences
3. Personal Narrative
Personal narrative is a style that all students practice in elementary school, and writing anchor charts can help keep them on track. Visit the link below for great worksheets to use with your students to prepare them to write their personal narratives.
Source: Rachel’s Reflections
4. Hook Your Reader
Want to know how to draw the reader in and make them eager to continue? You need a hook! Teach students how to grab a reader’s attention from the get-go, pulling them in with facts, questions, or even sound effects.
Source: Little Minds at Work
5. Point of View
Learn the differences between first person (I), second person (you), and third person (narrator), and talk about when each type is effective.
Source: Oh Boy … It’s Farley!
6. Organized Paragraph
Use a stoplight to help early elementary students understand and write clear paragraphs. As students are editing their work, have them read with green, yellow, and red pencils in hand so they can see how their paragraphs are hooking and engaging readers. See a video of this chart in action here.
7. Practicing Transitions
There are more stoplight writing anchor charts, and this one is perfect for helping students learn and practice their transition words. Draw the stoplight first and invite students to help come up with different words. Then encourage students to put the transition words into practice.
Source: A Happy, Hungry, Healthy Girl
8. Author’s Perspective
Sometimes, an author’s opinion comes out strongly in their writing, even if they don’t state it up front. Use this chart to help students find the clues to an author’s perspective.
Source: Crafting Connections/Author’s Perspective
9. Author’s Purpose Pie
This is a quick and easy anchor chart to help students see different types of writing. It’ll also help them do a quick check to make sure their writing aligns.
Source: Literacy Ideas
10. Dig Deeper
Keep going! Sometimes it’s hard to express what you mean by certain writing and revision requests, and writing anchor charts can show exactly what you mean. Now students can get a good look at what it means to dig deeper.
11. Alternatives to “Said”
If your students are learning about writing dialogue, an anchor chart like this could really come in handy. Encourage students to try other ways to have their characters respond.
Source: ESL Amplified
12. Understanding Character
Before you can write about character, you first have to understand it. This anchor chart will help your young writers understand the difference between inside and outside characteristics.
Source: Teacher Trap
13. Diving Deeper Into Character
Now that your students understand the difference between inside and outside characteristics, dive deeper into describing a specific character. This anchor chart is a wonderful idea because students can write their idea(s) on a sticky note and then add it.
Source: Crafting Connections/Teach and Task Lessons
14. Six Traits of Writing
This anchor chart is jam-packed with things to help fourth- and fifth-grade writers remember the six traits of writing. Use the chart as a whole-class reference or laminate it to use in small groups. When it’s laminated, students can check off each aspect they’ve included in their own writing. Meaningful dialogue? Check! Problem and solution? Check!
Source: Working 4 the Classroom
15. Writing Realistic Fiction
This anchor chart reminds upper elementary students how to create realistic stories. It really walks your students through the process, so they have all the elements they need to create their own stories.
Source: Two Writing Teachers/Realistic Fiction
16. Sequence of Events
Help early elementary students stay organized with an anchor chart that’s focused on order-of-events language. Tactile learners can write their first drafts on sentence strips and use this format to put the events in order before they transcribe their work onto writing paper.
Source: Life in First Grade
17. Informational Text Structures
Focus upper elementary students on the most important aspects of informational writing while keeping them organized. This chart could be used to support paragraph writing or essays.
Source: Teaching With a Mountain View/Informational Text Structures
18. OREO Opinion Writing
This deliciously inspired opinion anchor chart can be used by students in grades 3–5 during writers workshop or when developing an opinion for discussion or debate. To build out student writing, have them “double-stuff” their OREOs with extra E examples. See a video featuring this chart here.
19. Features of a Great Report
Use examples of outstanding student work to make this anchor chart. Keep it relevant by updating the examples with student work throughout the year. In kindergarten, this will also showcase how students move from prewriting and pictures to writing words and sentences.
Source: Joyful Learning in KC
20. Write From the Heart
Sometimes the hardest part about writing is coming up with whom and what you should write about. This is the fun part, though! Use this anchor chart to remind your students that they have lots of good writing options.
Source: First Grade Parade via Cara Carroll
21. Argument Writing
Use this anchor chart with middle schoolers to make sure they’re considering all sides of an argument, not just the one that matters the most to them. One way to adapt this chart, as students develop their understanding of argument, is to write each element—claim, argument, evidence—under a flap that students can lift if they need a reminder.
Source: Literacy & Math Ideas
22. Writing Process
This is an anchor chart you’ll direct your students to again and again. The writing process has several steps, and it’s good to remind students of this so they don’t get frustrated.
Source: What’s Skow-ing On in Fourth Grade?
23. Writing Checklist
For those young writers in your class, these cover the basics in a clear way.
Source: Kindergarten Chaos
24. RACE for Writing
Use the RACE mnemonic when your students are working on persuasive writing. It reminds them to cite their sources and be sure to answer the question being asked.
25. Cause and Effect
Cause and effect will always be an essential part of any story. Help your students come up with different scenarios for cause and effect. In many instances, you could have multiples effects, so challenge your students to identify three to four at a time. This will really give them something to write about!
Source: 2nd Grade Superheroes
26. A Strong Lead
This upper-grade anchor chart gives students lots of ways to start their writing. Update it midyear with strong examples of leads that students have written or that they’ve found in books. Students could also copy this chart into their notebooks and keep track of the different ways they’ve started their own writing, seeing if they’ve developed a signature lead.
Source: Miss Klohn’s Classroom
27. Crafting Power Sentences
Inspire students to get crafty and creative with their sentences. Update the moods or keywords with every writing assignment, so students are constantly refining their clauses, verbs, and descriptions.
Source: Teaching My Friends
28. Show, Don’t Tell
“Show, don’t tell” is a cardinal rule of writing. This anchor chart, best for upper elementary writers, can be used to strengthen scenes in fiction and narrative nonfiction works. Build out this chart for middle school writers with additional ideas and more complex emotions.
Source: Upper Elementary Snapshots/Show, Don’t Tell
29. Narrative Organizer
Leave this chart up in your classroom for your students to reference often when they’re writing. It really takes them through creating a successful story.
30. Expository Writing
This chart makes it easy for students to remember key concepts, both with color-coding and simple metaphors. Give them colored pencils and ask them to underline the corresponding sections in their essays.
Source: Adventures of a Future Teacher
31. Peer Editing
Peer editing teaches kids a variety of skills, and not just with writing. They learn to read closely, offer (and accept) useful constructive feedback, and get more comfortable sharing their writing with others. This chart helps kids through the sometimes-challenging process.
32. Strong Sentences
Get early elementary students to write longer, more descriptive sentences with this chart. Bonus: Use sentence strips to switch out the examples of strong sentences, based on student writing.
Source: The Good Life
33. Internal Story
This chart gives students the language to add their own thoughts to their writing. Modify this chart by highlighting key phrases for students with special needs. Or have students create different thought-bubble icons to represent each internal dialogue sentence starter.
Source: Totally Terrific in Texas
34. Evidence Supported
Upper elementary students will benefit from reminders on how to refer to and cite text evidence. Use this anchor chart during writing and discussion to help connect the language that we use across domains.
Source: History Tech
35. Publishing Guidelines
Kids are often quick to turn in their papers without making sure they’ve included all the necessary requirements (like their names!). Use this chart to remind them about the important things to check for before they hand in their work.
Source: Juice Boxes and Crayolas
36. Figurative Language
As you teach your students about figurative language and how to use it, you’ll want to have examples. This anchor chart dives into five different concepts. Each of these could actually be its own anchor chart. Perhaps have your students come up with examples on sticky notes and then place them on the chart.
Source: Willow Grove Elementary School
37. Forms of Poetry
Introducing poetry types to your students? This anchor chart covers the basics and helps kids remember that not all poetry needs to rhyme.
Source: ELA Anchor Charts
38. CUPS and ARMS
This is a popular method for teaching kids to revise and edit as well as the difference between the two. Simple acronyms keep the key strategies close at hand.
Source: Amy Lemons
39. Spicy Edits
Encourage your students to think of their writing like a recipe, which they can always tweak and improve. Have them choose one element, or “spice,” to add to their work as they revise.
Source: Beyond Zebra/Pinterest
40. Writing Buddies
Sometimes students can get stuck when working with writing buddies, but writing anchor charts can help. This one encourages students to be positive and make good, thoughtful suggestions.
Source: Apostrophe Books Twitter
What are your favorite writing anchor charts? Share your ideas in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
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5 must-have anchor charts to teach personal narratives.
Teaching personal narratives is always fun. Kids love to tell stories and putting their stories to paper is exciting, but it can also be challenging. Focusing on one memory or event, zooming in on the moments that are worth telling, and captivating their audience in the process are all a part of the narrative writing process that helps students develop as storytellers and writers.
Carefully developing mini-lessons that will help students as they write their own personal narratives is an important part of planning your narrative writing unit. Here are a few ideas for anchor charts as you are planning your narrative writing unit.
1. Thinking of ideas
Narrative writing tells a story and a personal narrative tells a story from your own experiences. Discuss personal narratives, important parts to include in a personal narrative, and how to think of ideas for your personal narrative.
Have students think of ideas and share topics that could be their own personal narratives. Have them generate a list of their own ideas.
2. Elements of a personal narrative
Discuss the story elements of the story: the setting, characters, problem, solution, and how a story has a clear beginning, middle, and end. As authors, we have to limit the number of characters and places the characters visit so that we are staying zoomed in on small moments.
Create an anchor chart of story elements that students will include in their personal narrative. Encourage students to consider where their memory or event took place, use a sequence of events so that it is clear to the reader, add details that are important and stick with the small moment of the memory, develop the characters to help the reader get to know them, show your feelings, use your voice as a writer.
These are all ideas that will help as students begin their writing. Incorporating all of these elements in a clear and concise way will keep the story interesting to your reader.
3. Using voice in your writing
When you put feelings into your writing, your reader will get to know you and your story will be one that they want to read. Encourage students to use voice in their writing so that their writing sounds like them. Their voice becomes their own writing style and writing personal narratives is the perfect time to explore that style. You can use vivid language and details, express thoughts and feelings, and let your personality show.
Students are the experts of their own narratives!
4. When to start a new paragraph
Students become so focused sometimes on how long a paragraph needs to be that they forget that the quality of the paragraph is just as important as the length.
Discuss with your students:
- A paragraph starts on a new line and indents.
- Use transition words to change paragraphs smoothly.
- When do we start a new paragraph?
- Should we simply count 5-6 sentences and then indent?
Create an anchor chart as a reminder to start a new paragraph when someone new is introduced in the story, when a new event occurs, when a new person is speaking, when the setting changes, or the topic/idea changes.
5. Adding in more details
Adding details to writing while revising is an important step because while writing personal narratives only your students know the details of their stories. They want their readers to know all they need to know!
How can you add details?
- Add in adjectives
- Show more action, use verbs to help show the action
- Use dialogue when you can
- Show your feelings about the events/memories
- Add in details that only YOU know! Your reader was not there, but YOU were!
Looking for more ideas for writing workshop?
You can find more tips and ideas for narrative writing in this post.
Find some ideas and tips for persuasive writing in this post.
And check out all of my posts about writing workshop in one place!
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Thanks Amy!! I needed something like this to keep me in check!! I'm not the best writer, so writing is not my favorite thing to teach. I tend to forget something because I want to get it over with!! lol :)
I love your ideas! Thank you for making them available. I am interested in the Strong Leads printouts. I can't find them on scholastic. Can you tell me what they would be under? jaime
Anchor Charts to Improve Writing Skills
Anchor Charts as Writing Tools
what are anchor charts.
Anchor charts are tools that support learning in the classroom. They can be used to support everything from classroom management strategies to the teaching of writing.
Essentially, they are visual prompts that provide students with information regarding their prior learning on a given topic. These visual prompts are used to provide a scaffold to support the students during guided practice and independent work.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ANCHOR CHARTS FOR WRITING AND READING?
Anchor charts are becoming increasingly popular in classrooms for some very good reasons. They offer a wealth of benefits for students and teachers alike.
Here are just a few of the great benefits of using anchor charts as writing tools in the classroom.
Anchor Charts Provide Increased Student Engagement
Anchor charts are an effective way of encouraging student engagement. Not only do they increase student confidence when engaged in a writing task, but they help to keep students on task by offering support in the form of visual prompts that help unstick the stuck! These anchor chart examples below provide students with a great visual point of reference to learn from.
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Anchor Charts Deepen Comprehension
Often, students get involved in the actual production of the anchor charts themselves. When helping to produce the anchor charts, students will have opportunities to reconstruct their learning and thereby deepen their comprehension of the material in the process.
As they construct their charts, students begin to make new connections between the various aspects of their learning as they organize these aspects in a visually comprehensible manner.
Anchor Charts Supports Independent Work
Learning to write well can be one of the most challenging things a student learns to do at school.
As students learn to navigate the demands of various writing genres , seemingly endless questions arise at word, sentence, and whole text level.
This, in turn, makes heavy demands on the teacher’s time as individual students struggle with the various challenges of a given task.
Fortunately, anchor charts can help alleviate some of that burden by providing a visual resource and reference point that help students to answer many of the more commonly asked questions for themselves. This frees up the teacher from having to repeatedly answer the same questions throughout the course of a lesson, making more time to offer support where it’s most needed.
WHAT DO ANCHOR CHARTS LOOK LIKE?
Anchor charts come in all shapes and sizes and can be commercially bought or produced collaboratively by students and teachers in class.
Commercially bought Anchor Charts are great for permanent displays within the classroom.
Usually well-presented in bold lettering using dynamic colors, professionally-produced charts work well for topics that recur throughout the course of the year and are complex enough to require ongoing reinforcement.
When anchor charts are self-produced, they are usually handwritten in large print and displayed in a prominent position in the classroom for easy reference.
Usually, a co-creation between the student and the teacher, the charts should contain only the essential information regarding the topic.
When deciding what to include on a chart, think about the concepts, strategies, and prior learning that will most help students to work independently when engaged in their work.
HOW ARE ANCHOR CHARTS CREATED IN THE CLASSROOM?
To produce an anchor chart in the classroom requires very little in the way of resources other than some chart paper and some colored markers. Other than these, and defining a clear purpose and focus for your anchor chart, there is no specific preparation required.
However, there are a number of common elements to consider when producing anchor charts for use in the classroom. Some of these include:
● Paper: Decide whether you are using adhesive paper, lined paper, blank paper, colored paper etc
● Font-Size: This should be large enough to see from the various working areas of the classroom
● Collaboration: Is it teacher-produced or a collaboration? What is the level of student involvement?
Where Anchor Charts are to be co-created with students, generally, they will be produced in collaboration with the students as you teach the lesson.
The chart will include the most important content and relevant strategies. In the case of the various writing genres, a list of the main criteria that must be included works well.
The anchor charts can then be used by the students as a checklist to refer to as the writing is produced. They can also serve for a final check when the work has been completed.
Here are some general tips to help ensure you get the most out of Anchor Charts in your classroom:
● Keep things simple
● Be sure the writing is well organised and easy to read
● Use headings and bullet points to help display the main points
● Use different colors for headings, bullet points etc
● Use simple pictures, graphs, illustrations etc to help reinforce points
● Don’t fill with lots of distracting details or graphics
Anchor Charts as Writing Tools – Examples
Anchor charts can be used very effectively to break down many of the more complex aspects of writing.
From punctuation use to the specific criteria for various writing genres, Anchor charts are a fantastic way to visually reinforce student understanding of these diverse processes.
The content of each chart will be dependent on their focus. But, let’s look at the possible content of two examples of Anchor Charts to help serve as models for what might be contained in an anchor chart produced in your classroom.
1. Point of View Anchor Chart
The Point of View Anchor Chart can be used both to help guide students in identifying the point of view in a text as well as to help in the creation of the student’s own texts. We have an excellent guide on point of view that can be found here.
Looking out for keywords is an effective way to determine the point of view in a piece of writing. Point-of-view keywords are generally centred around the pronouns and the level of insight and perspective we are offered.
Let’s look at some of the more common points of view used, first in a little detail and then at how they might appear on an Anchor Chart.
First Person – a character is telling the story (narrator), and we often gain insight into the characters’ thoughts. Clues that indicate a first person will be the use of pronouns such as I , my , me , mine , we , us etc.
As bullet points, this might look like this:
● First Person
○ Character narrates the story
○ Narrator is in the story
○ Narrator’s thoughts are revealed
○ Uses pronouns: I , my , me , mine , we , us etc.
Third Person Limited – the narrator is outside the story and telling the story. In third-person limited, the writer sticks closely to the point of view of a single character, so we are usually only privy to that one character’s thoughts and experiences. The narrator does not know everything about the events that occur in the story. Indications that the third person is being used may be the use of characters’ names and pronouns, such as he , him , his , himself , she, her , hers , herself , it , its , itself , they , them , their , theirs , and themselves .
● Third Person Limited
○ Narrator is outside the story
○ Narrator tells the story primarily from one character’s POV
○ Only the main character’s thoughts and feelings are revealed
○ Narrator has limited knowledge of events
○ Uses pronouns: he , him , his , himself , she, her , hers , herself , it , its , itself , they , them , their , theirs , and themselves .
Third Person Omniscient – the narrator tells the story and is privy to everything. Not only all the details of every event in the story, but the interior life of each character, such as emotions, opinions, and feelings, whether expressed or not. The usual third-person pronouns are used along with the character names.
● Third Person Omniscient
○ Narrator tells the story from ‘above.’
○ Narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of every character
○ Narrator knows everything that happens
2. Instructional Writing Anchor Chart
The criteria for writing clear instructions can be very handily displayed as an anchor chart.
When writing a set of instructions, students can refer to the chart to help organize their writing. The same chart will also serve as a checklist for self-assessment at the end.
An instructional writing anchor chart may include information such as:
● Includes an explanatory title, e.g. ‘How to…’
● Laid out in bullet points or numbered instructions
● Uses time connectives to organise, e.g. ‘first’, ‘then’, ‘finally’ etc.
● Uses imperatives to instruct the reader
● Use straightforward, functional language
● Supported by illustrations or diagrams
● Diagrams and illustrations contain captions
As we can see, anchor charts can serve as useful writing tools that support the development of student writing skills in the classroom.
When displayed prominently in the classroom, they can help students efficiently bridge the gap between being emergent writers lacking in self-confidence to becoming self-assured, independent writers.
It is important to remember, too, that though anchor charts are great tools that support students, ultimately, the intent is for the students to internalize the knowledge and information they contain. So don’t allow them to become a permanent crutch!
USEFUL VIDEOS TO EXPLAIN ANCHOR CHARTS
OTHER GREAT ARTICLES RELATED TO ANCHOR CHARTS FOR WRITING
13 Literary Devices to Supercharge your Writing Skills
The Writing Process
Graphic Organizers for Writing and Reading
Elements of Literature
Essay Writing: A complete guide for students and teachers
The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh. A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here. Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.
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