Interesting Introductions

Another quick post for you tonight.

Last week, I had my students quickly write both narrative and expository writing pieces on the same subject.  I’ll devote another post just to explain all of that, but it was very interesting to see how my students instinctively start their stories.

What I found out was that MANY of them are starting the same way.  Surprised?  Nope.  Those little minds think so much alike!  That’s totally normal!  So what do I do?  Go to Gretchen Bernabei’s resources for help…and boy, did it!

Before we did this activity, I had several students starting with the following words: One day, One time, I was, and It was.  Frankly–that’s BORING!  I gave them the simplest challenge: Begin with where you–and only YOU–are, and what you’re doing.  I told them to think about being in line waiting for a roller coaster to begin.  Some of my students have never even been on a roller coaster before, but they have all seen one on TV or imagined what it would be like, so they all had schema for the activity.

I made sure that they knew that they could not begin the ride…only write about the moments leading up to the start.

Wow!  They stepped up to the plate yet again!  In fact, after they shared them with their table mates, they were so excited and filled with emotions that it was hard to settle them down afterwards.  They were able to capture their emotions so well that they were truly excited and living the moment.  Awesome.  Just awesome.  :)

I wanted to share some of them with you, so I’m attaching them here.  Feel free to use them with your students.  They are not all created equal, so you can definitely talk about how different they are, compare them, and even use them to do some revising and editing!

Have fun reading!



  1. Wow! These guys are getting so good at their writing. They are absorbing all your (and Gretchen’s) great ideas like little sponges.
    I am very impressed.
    Erica Gore in Brisbane Australia

    • Kayla Shook says:

      Thanks, Erica! They really impressed me today…and they impressed themselves, too. It’s amazing what they can do once they feel confident about their abilities. They ARE little sponges. Proud teacher moment! 😉

  2. This blog is just what I needed today! I can’t wait to share it with my kids. I’d love to see what you are doing with conclusions with your students! Thanks for sharing.

    • Kayla Shook says:

      Thanks, Pam! We will be working on conclusions soon. I usually post after new activities. If you follow me on Facebook or by email you will always know when I post something new! Thanks for stopping by! :)

  3. Lu Ann Douglas says:

    I believe teachers of eighth grade students would be excited if their students began their writing this well. All are very impressive!

    • Kayla Shook says:

      :) I am so proud of how far these kids have come this year! I can’t wait to pull out their writing from the beginning if the year to show them how incredibly much they have learned!

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