Narrative Writing

Author: Matthew Tidwell
Editor: Stephanie Nardei

Time: 1 week
1 class period

Slides from the provided website:

This is the final project for this particular lesson. This project allows the students to display their reactions to the images and stories of child laborers in a piece of narrative writing.

The students will be able:
1. To compose a narrative story

W-P6 Write a narrative or story that develops complex characters, plot structure, point of view and setting; organizes ideas in meaningful sequence; and includes sensory details and concrete language to advance the story line
PO 1 Write a first or third-person narrative or story

  • Develop a point of view
  • Present events in a logical order
  • Develop events that convey a unifying theme or tone
  • Include sensory details, concrete language and/or dialog
  • Use literary elements (e.g., plot, setting, character, theme)

Teacher Background
The teacher will have to collect thumbnail images from the provided website. This is the same website that images were collect from for the slide show. It would be beneficial to collect photos that were not shown in the slide show. Relevant information is provided with each image. To obtain the photos, follow these instructions:

  • National Archive and Records Administration is at http://www.archives.gov/research_room/arc/index.html     
    Directions for searching the Archival Research Catalog:
    1. Click on the "Search" button on the ARC main page
    2. In the box marked "Search for descriptions of Archival Materials containing the following keyword(s)", enter your search phrase; for example: "Lewis Hine" and "child labor"
    3. Click "Go". (You may get several hundred "hits")
    4. You will see descriptions of items that match your search phrase, 10 to a page. Click on the link marked "Digital Copy Available" to view a thumbnail image of the item (when available).
    5. To show the full record, click on the item's title
    6. Click on thumb-nail of image to enlarge
    7. Please note that the title offers a full description of the image

Resource Websites
ARC Site
Archival Research Catalog: http://www.archives.gov/research_room/arc/index

Narrative Writing
Web English Teacher on Narrative Writing: http://www.webenglishteacher.com/narrative.html
The Writing Site on Narrative Writing: http://www.thewritingsite.org/resources/genre/narrative.asp
The Five Paragraph Essay http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Atrium/1437/narr.html




  1. All equipment should be set up before the students enter the classroom.
  2. The students will view a brief slide show. However, instead of engaging the students, these images will be the inspiration for their narrative writing. Tell students they will use an image of their choice for their writing assignment.
  3. After the slide show, students should be taken through the prompt. Have this written on the board or on an overhead.
  • Choose an image and imagine you are one of the children depicted in the image. Write a narrative about your typical day. Your narrative needs to include the main parts of a story—introduction, body, climax, and resolution.
  1. Take students through each step of the writing process. All steps should be completed in class. The time each step takes depends on the nature of the class. After each step is completed, review as a class and allow students to share ideas, read sections of their narratives, etc.
    • The students first brainstorm all their ideas for their story. A cluster could be helpful, as well as an outline.
    • After they have all ideas they should draft a rough copy of their story. Get their story on paper. Don’t worry about structure or mechanics. The idea is to get the story out.
    • The students should peer review their stories—looking for problems in mechanics and story structure.
    • The students should draft a final copy of their story.

There are several things the teacher can do for closure to this lesson. The students could publish their stories into an anthology and share them with other disciplines, for example social studies. The students could also read their stories to the class, or to a social science class.

If applicable

Embedded Assessment
The teacher will want to use a rubric to grade the stories. The teacher could create one using this site: http://www.rubistar.com


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

1996-2007, The University of Arizona
Last update: March 7, 2007
  Page Content: Rachel Hughes
Web Master: Travis Biazo