Writing a Narrative Paragraph

Third through Sixth Grades

The Beehive - Chapter 2 of The Trouble With Bernie by Sharon Bushell

A good story contains a good subject. The author's knowledge of the general subject is strong and that subject is interesting to the reader. In Chapter 2 of Sharon Bushell's, The Trouble With Bernie, The Beehive, the general subject is "show and tell." We will use the "show and tell" general subject to write a narrative paragraph. A narrative paragraph describes an event, feeling or experience in story form or in the order the details of the event happened.

1. Let's begin by naming five things that you or someone could bring to a show and tell. Sharon chose a beehive in her story. What other ideas do you have? List five of them. This is your list of specific topics from the general subject.

2. Choose your favorite specific topic from the list above and write one sentence which clearly states what your paragraph is going to be about. This sentence must identify your specific topic and state a feeling or attitude about the subject. Here is an example taken from The Beehive.

The showing of the beehive had everyone's attention, and Bernie had to remind several of the boys not to touch it.

Write your topic sentence. Be as creative and original as you can be.

3. Now is the time to collect ideas and details to write about your topic. List as many things as you can about what you know about your topic.

4. You now have a list of details that you know about your topic. It's time to make a list of things you learned about your topic. Talk to your classmates, friends, family, and other adults about your topic. It's possible that you can interview an 'expert' or someone who has had first hand experience with your topic. Gather more details in your library/media center from magazines, newspapers, books, videotapes, CD Roms and the internet. Make sure your learned details are accurate, up-to-date, and important to your topic.

Develop your list .

5. Take a look at your two lists of details concerning your topic; your known details and your learned details. Select a few that you think are the best. Don't select details because they sound impressive or because you spent lots of time discovering the fact. Select those details that you think your audience will appreciate and that support your story the best.

Write your final list of details taken from both lists.

6. There are several different types of paragraphs. There are descriptive, expository, narrative, and persuasive paragraphs. The style you choose depends on your topic and purpose for writing. For this activity you will be writing a narrative paragraph. Your character or story teller can be you, a friend or your fictional creation. You can create anything you desire because you are the author.

Before you begin writing let's go over a few facts concerning a good narrative paragraph.

Because you or your character are telling the story of bringing your show and tell to school a narrative approach is the best choice of paragraphs. You have gathered plenty of facts concerning your topic but writing only the facts is not enough. Try to find words that share your knowledge of the topic, express your feelings and strive for an unusual and creative approach to you subject.

Read this narrative paragraph taken from The Beehive.

The showing of the beehive had everyone's attention, and Bernie had to remind several of the boys not to touch it. It was fragile! Bernie continued his explanation. "But, even though there are thousands of species, there are only 2 kinds of bees: the social kind and the solitary kind. The bees that came from this hive were social bees, the kind that make honey. A whole bunch of 'em used to live here." Bernie went on to explain the intricacies of how honey is made and how bee-keeping as a hobby had become very popular. Two of the girls told him, they thought the hive was ... gorgeous. Mary Ann Hastings, angry cause Bernie's show and tell was better than hers, tried not to be interested in the beehive, but ... even she just had to take a good look at it ... you never got to see one up this close!!

This paragraph begins with Sharon's topic sentence that we looked at earlier. She then uses her voice as the story teller. It's as though she was in the classroom but invisible. Sharon, then, changes the teller of the story to Bernie. That's when we hear the facts about bees. Sharon continues as story teller to add the details in the order that they happened. Sharon has been writing a long time and knows how to move from one speaker to another. She also knows alot about the subject.

It's now time for you to have fun and create the details of events as they happen in your story.

 

Let's take a look at the inventory of what you have so far.

General Subject

Specific Topic

Known Facts

Learned Facts

Details

 7. Your next step is to write an outline of your paragraph.

You can choose to start at the beginning and arrange your details in the order that they happenned(chronological order). Or you can choose to explain your topic and list what happenned once you presented it (cause and effect).

The outline of Sharon's paragraph looks like this.
  • topic sentence
  • Sharon's explanation(first person)
  • Bernie's explanation(narrative)
  • girls reaction to hive
  • MaryAnn's reaction
  • clincher sentence

Read Sharon's paragraph and locate each part of her outline.

8. Now you may write your first draft of your 'show and tell' narative paragraph in your notebook or another piece of paper. Start with the topic sentence; add interesting details, following sentences and finish with a strong closing sentence.

 

9. Reread your first draft a few times. Read it outloud to a friend or to yourself. Make sure you are using strong, active words. Change anything you want if you think the change makes for a better written paragraph.

Check your spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and usage in your writing.

Hand write or type a neat final copy. Make sure you proofread it before you turn it in to your teacher.

 

10. Ask your teacher if he or she thinks it is good enough to send to Bernie's author. We'll send you a free CD if we publish it on Bernie's website. Send it to roadtunes@gci.net . Don't forget your name, teacher's name, school, city and Email address. Also include your permission for Bernie to publish your paragraph on his website.

 

Great job. I hope you enjoyed or will enjoy reading and listening to The Trouble With Bernie.