Throughout the fall, Ms. Flanagan’s Title I third graders at Al Qalam Academy have focused on personal narratives for reading and writing. To end 2020, this class used their knowledge of personal narrative stories to write their own short stories!

Students read several personal narratives this fall. Each was part of the Achieve Literacy Curriculum. These included the following stories:

  • “The New Bike” andThe New Bike personal narrative
  • “Play Pirates”.Playing Pirates personal narratives


All lessons were presented in a virtual setting, as Al Qalam Academy is operating primarily as a virtual school this year.


Organizing Personal Narratives

After spending several weeks learning about personal narratives, their structure and features, the students used the following format to organize their own stories!

  • Somebody
  • Wanted
  • But
  • So
  • Then 


Each child identified a moment they wanted to write about. They then outlined who was in the story with them. The SWBST graphic organizer helped students to frame their thinking and promoted exciting storytelling opportunities. Using this graphic organizer also helped students to sequence the events in their story while identifying the problem and solution.

Students outlined their story on Pear Deck, a virtual lesson integration program that invites real-time engagement. Then students moved to a personalized Google Document. In their own Doc, each student subsequently wrote a rough draft of their story using the graphic organizer.


One Third Grader’s Graphic Organizer and Personal Narrative

Mango SWBST organizer

personal narratives about mangoes


Another Third Grader’s Graphic Organizer and Personal Narrative

Hot Tub SWBST graphic organizer

kids' hot tub photo
pseonal narratives about hot tub


Across several lessons, each student worked to add more details to their story. They also worked to make sure that their writing was grammatically and mechanically correct.

After writing their stories, we published them by sharing them with parents and teachers! All the students were very proud of their hard work. They were excited to share their stories with their grownups. And now they are sharing those stories on the internet!