Writing Personal Narratives in 1st Grade: A Week of Lessons!

March 24, 2020

Do you need any help teaching personal narratives to your kindergarten, first grade or second-grade students?!

While many parents and teachers are embarking on this new adventure of E-learning or learning from home, I wanted to help out in a way that will provide some relief to both busy teachers and busy parents.

To do this, I decided to create a quick YouTube mini-series titled, “Learn at Home with Mrs. Jones.”

Within this series, I am releasing videos that are meant to instruct K-2 students. I offer a mini-lesson in each video and share a read aloud, math activity, or writing lesson. Today, I wanted to talk about the writing lessons I filmed.

Writing Personal Narratives: 5 part mini-series

Within this 5 video playlist, I included a video for brainstorming, planning, adding illustrations, adding words, adding the details, editing, and publishing! We essentially walk through the entire writing process in a simple, easy-to-follow format.

These videos and lessons were made for teachers to be able to send home directly to their K-2 students and parents to complete the steps on their own time!


Here is a peek at each video:


In this first video, I walk students through how to brainstorm some different topics for a personal narrative, narrow down on one, and plan out their narrative with the strategy “Say & Sketch.”


The second video is all about the illustrations. We take our “Say & Sketch” sheet and stretch our illustrations across 3 pages. We also add some transition words.


After we stretch our illustrations, it is time to add some words to our writing! I share a simple strategy I use to get students’ ideas out of their brains and onto some paper.


Now, we need to add some details. In video 4, I share a couple of different ways to add more information to our stories and make them more interesting!


Lastly, we must edit and publish! I walk students through an editing checklist and have them create a cover page for their story before they go ahead and read their story to others!


You can either click on each video individually or you can see the whole playlist in order here:



Want to take your students from scribbles and sketches to writing published stories?!
I have a free 4-part video series you can watch here. Just click below to get the info!




Pin to save for later:

Teach your first grade students how to write personal narratives with these 5 easy steps. There are 5 video lessons directed towards students with modeled strategies to get your students working through the writing process from brainstorming through publishing.


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  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! You are saving my life right now with your writing lesson that extends 5 days. It has been a great help guiding me to make my own video. I know you are swamped but if you want a request can you please make more of these for guidance during these hard times teaching distance learning. We are moving into fiction writing soon.

    Thanks for your guidance and sharing your talent!!
    Lisa Schovajsa

  • Thank you for this, this is awesome and my students will love it. I appreciate you making these for us to share!

  • Thank you so much for these videos! My first-grade daughter is following along and loving it!

    however, we cannot find downloadable files for the circle-map and Say & Sketch templates. The links did not populate in the description area of your YouTube videos. Can you please advise how to locate or can you include here?


    • Hi Judy! When looking at the YT videos for the links, I think you have to actually head to the YouTube platform to see the description of the video. If this links don’t show, you will press the down arrow next to my video title or press “show more” and the rest of the description should show up for you to access everything!

      Here are the links for those 2 videos:
      CIRCLE MAP: http://bit.ly/SJcirclemap
      SAY & SKETCH SHEET: http://bit.ly/SJsaynsketch

  • Thank you so very much for sharing your amazing videos. They are such a great help during these unprecedented times,especially for a Luddite like me!!! They have taken all the stress out my teaching life.
    Thank you again.

  • What a wonderful teacher you are! I feel very lucky to be able to share your awesome lessons with my students during Distance Learning! Thank you so much!

  • Hi there!
    I am obsessed with these writing videos!
    I teach first grade and have been trying to wrap my head around teaching my lesson virtually. I am totally following your lead!
    How can I get the first, next and last rectangular box page?

  • Thank you soo much! I am new to grade 2 and trying to figure out how to teach personal narratives to my students after 2 years of very little writing due to the Pandemic. Your videos were fantastic and so helpful. Thank you for sharing!
    Elizabeth D.