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Second Grade Writing Lesson #1/ Narrative Prompt

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Grade 2
Writing Standard 3

Time Frame

1 class periods of 45 minutes each


Utah LessonPlans
Grace Wayman


Students will write a personal narrative about a time they surprised themselves or someone else.


Teacher Materials: Selected books:

  • Fortunately, Remy Charlip
  • That's Good! That's Bad!, Margery Cuyler
  • The Wednesday Surprise,* Donald Carrick
  • First Day of School, Eve Bunting
  • Miss Nelson is Missing, James Marshall

*Include a box with visuals to go with the story (e.g., party hat, presents, blindfold, costume, etc.).

Student Materials:

  • Graphic organizers or story map (e.g., beginning, middle, end)
  • Writing paper
  • Pencil

Instructional Procedures

  1. Share and discuss items in the box.
  2. Read the selected story.
  3. Pre-write (plan). Model the use of the graphic organizer using the selected story.
  4. Have students turn to a partner and tell of a time they surprised themselves or someone else. Encourage them to use lots of details.
  5. Write (compose). Have students create their own graphic organizer, starting with a title that relates to the prompt (below). Use ideas from the graphic organizer to create a first draft.
  6. Have students self-assess their drafts using the modified Six Traits checklist.
  7. Have students share their stories with a partner or small group, or through the author's chair.
  8. Tally all students' self-assessed scores on the rubric for each of the Six Traits to ascertain the class's strengths and weaknesses.

Writing Prompt: Write about a time when you surprised yourself or someone else. Discuss using enough details so that the reader can picture the person or the thing that happened.


Exemplary Example (pdf)


  • The paper contains relevant, telling, quality details. The topic is narrow and manageable. Example: the writer followed the theme of camping with the scouts and finding a skunk in their tent.
  • The paper has an inviting introduction that ties in with a satisfying conclusion about the story her brother told. The pacing is well controlled.
  • The reader feels a strong connection to the writer. Example: "They told my brother to look in their tent. So my brother did and he saw a skunk."
  • The writer uses lively verbs, such as roasting, packed up, quietly tiptoed, etc.
  • The writer incorporates varied sentence beginnings and sentence lengths.
  • Spelling is generally correct. More attention needs to be paid to grammar and usage. Example: run-on sentences - "in their tent and" ... "get sprayed they said..."


Average Example (pdf)


  • The paper is focused. The writer stays on the topic. The reader's questions are anticipated and answered.
  • The sequencing is logical, and the title is original.
  • The narrative is personal. Example: "I went into the kitchen and told my dad that Ben didn't have anything outside."
  • Some word choices are too general (e.g., used, went, often).
  • Many sentences begin the same way, but length as well as structure vary.
  • Spelling and end punctuation are correct. The writer needs to allow more space between words.

Created: 08/15/2005
Updated: 02/05/2018