Below is a rubric designed to help tell a narrative story. Please read my essay, “How to Tell a Good Story” before starting your own narrative essay. In this rubric, the directions are in the left column. In the right column I inserted a narrative essay written by Chris Ruedigger, an 8th grade student of mine in 2013 reflecting about his time at The Fenn School. If you notice: his two body paragraphs are excellent examples of using the narrative paragraph rubric to help him write the body paragraphs of this narrative essay.
10: Proofread and Publish:
Valuable Lesson Essay
Nothing Gold Can Stay
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
The dreary dark skies shone over the baseball field as I dug my foot into the soft and chunky dirt on the mound. I wiped off the rubber, and stared down my last opponent. I took the signal and wound up from the stretch. I fired in a blazing fastball for strike one. Cheers came from the infield, cheering me (Rudy) on for the next pitch. This time a snapped off a curveball that dropped into the zone, and the batter swung. I weak ground ball came right to our shortstop, who cleanly made the play. In the moment, it seemed like an ordinary out, but after, I realized that was the last pitch I will ever throw at Fenn. As I walked off the field,I nearly started to cry. It wasn't the last pitch that struck me, it was the sign that this was my last ride and time here at Fenn. For the past five year Fenn has been a crazy ride, but one that I will never forget. Fenn has been so special to me because of the numerous opportunities and warm and caring teachers that support me.
"Nobody ever made a mistake if they never tried something new." Albert Einstein once said. As I went through my time at Fenn, opportunities for growth were pounded all over campus. Over these years, I have grown so much from opportunities, but the most memorable one was Acapella. I came to Fenn as a somewhat shy, timid fourth grader who didn't have a strong passion for music. In seventh grade I finally decided I would give Acapella a try. I had played piano and guitar, but never felt comfortable with signing. After a quick audition I came to the first rehearsal. Ever since that day, I have loved Acapella and become so much more confident on stage. I can really put on a solid performance. Acapella has been a unique and distinct group I will never forget; however, theres plenty more opportunities that I have been apart off. Not many places can say they ofter a broad range of activities for kids to grow and learn from. Sure, I made some mistakes, but I am just like everyone, as Albert Einstein says. I have grown way more than I ever expected, thanks to the opportunities Fenn has provided. It's not just the opportunities though, it is the warm and supportive teachers that I also remember.
Everyone needs care and support. During my days at Fenn, it has been from all of the faculty that care so deeply about me. I can trust and feel comfortable around any teacher now; however, it is no more evident than with Mr. Sanborn, my sixth and eighth grade math teacher. As I found myself in his class in sixth grade, I often understood the math work we were doing. Except, one day, I completely zoned out and couldn't learn any of the material. Nervous and scared, I approached Mr. Sanborn to ask for extra help. Despite my fear, I knew it was the right thing to do: to get caught up. After quietly asking to check some problems, he patted me on the back and sat me down. There, for the next forty-five minutes, we discussed the work and the best way to approach it. It is rare that a teacher can give each student that kind of care and warmth, and I am every so grateful to have had this. It hasn't just been Mr. Sanborn tough, it is all the loving and supportive teachers that make Fenn the amazing community it is. The care and support that I received is something that I will never forget as I depart from Fenn.
It is still bittersweet emotions, and I know I will miss Fenn deeply, especially the opportunities and respect from teachers. As I walked off that rubber, it was walking away from Fenn I knew that nothing gold could stay. Moving on is difficult, but I will take my growth and apply it to my next school. There is no way that you can go through Fenn without accomplishing or trying some new thing. That is special. There is no way that you can go through Fenn without connecting to some teacher. That is special. Acapella and Mr. Sanborn are just two examples of many, but two that will certainly stick with me. It is important to cherish all the moments you get at Fenn, and never take them for granted; because someday when you step off the rubber, you will see what I mean.
Notes on Writing an Essay
One of the hardest parts of writing is finding a way to make sense of what you want to say, explain, or convey to your readers--especially when facing an empty page with a half an hour to kill and an entry to write (or a timed essay or exam writing prompt). Here is a quick formula that might help you when you need to create a writing piece "on the fly." At the very least, it should guide you as your write in your blog, and at the really very least, it will reinforce that any essay needs to be at least three paragraphs long! I've always told my students (who are probably tired of hearing me recite the same things over and over again): "If you know the rules, you can break them." But you'd better be a pretty solid writer before you start creating your own rules. The bottom line is that nobody really cares about what you write; they care about how your writing affects and transforms them intellectually and emotionally as individuals.
If a reader does not sense early on that your writing piece is worth reading, they won't read it, unless they have to (like your teachers), or they are willing to (because they are your friend). Do them all a favor and follow these guidelines and everyone will be happy and rewarded. Really!.
Set the scene; state the theme; say what you mean, and finish it clean is a simple rubric for writing to keep in your head as you read and comment, and to practice in your writing as you reflect and express yourself with words..