Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Narrative Sketches

Becky Miller


Sketches as an organizer? Quick Sketches with short notes are a fun way to get kids to plan out their narrative stories. Students draw three pictures that illustrate the beginning, middle and end of a story with very short notes to describe the sketches.


The student creates a logical organizational pattern appropriate to narrative writing (including a beginning, middle, end).


- Drawing paper
- Crayons, colored pencils, or markers
- Wiesner, David. [Tuesday]. 1991. Houghton Mifflin. New York, NY.
- Drawings or approved copies of all pictures from the book or story of your choice. (Note: You may wish to draw the pictures yourself. They can be very simple.)


1. Read “Tuesday” or a story of your choice.
2. Draw (or obtain copyright permission to copy from Houghton Mifflin at the pictures from “Tuesday” (Laminate for future use) if this is what you have chosen to use.
3. Collect all necessary materials (see materials list).
4. Write checklist on board or other visible place.

Sketch Criteria
1. Beginning includes setting and character
2. Middle contains the problem
3. Ending solves the problem, has a resolution
4. Notes accurately describe the sketch


1. Ask students if they have ever read the ending of a story first.

2. Display scrambled copies of the pictures to the story "Tuesday" or another story if you already have appropriate, available pictures.

3. Challenge students to come one at a time to arrange the pictures in possible logically organized patterns. (A variation would be to have the pictures scrambled and placed in envelopes. Have students work in small groups to unscramble.)

4. Allow for several attempts. Ask, as students arrange pictures, why they arranged in the order they did.

5. Explain that organization in a story is important. The readers want to know where and who they are reading about before they know the problem or ending, and they need to know the problem before the solution is given.

6. Using the story or book, rearrange all the pictures in the correct logical order. Ask students, as you go, to explain why they think you are placing the pictures in that order. Provide feedback to their responses.

7. Ask how most stories organized. What comes first, next, and last?

8. Explain to students that they are going to make up a story organizer, using sketches that include the beginning, middle, and end.

9. Referring to “Tuesday” or your own choice, discuss elements of setting and character (beginning), problem (middle), and solution (end).

10. Tell students to close their eyes and imagine a story they would like to write. Imagine how it will begin, who will be in the story, where will it take place, what is going to happen (the problem), how it ends (solution)? Allow a few minutes for them to get a good visual picture in their minds.

11. Tell students to open their eyes. Now explain that students are going to draw three sketches and jot down short notes of what they imagined. Tell them that you will be looking to find the character and setting for the beginning, a problem for the middle and a solution for the ending, and short notes to describe each picture.

12. Display a checklist for students to refer to as they draw. Discuss the criteria. See Preparations Step 4.

13. Distribute clean drawing paper and have students fold it in half hot dog style (long ways).

14. Direct students to draw three large circles on the left half of paper, one on top of the other.

15. In the first circle, tell students to draw a picture of the characters and the setting for the beginning. In the second circle, tell them to draw a picture of the main problem for the middle. In the last circle, they should draw a picture of the solution for the ending.

16. On the right side of the paper, next to the appropriate circle, students write a few short notes that describe the picture.

17. Encourage students to close their eyes if they need to visualize the story.

18. Rotate around the room as students sketch, and provide them with feedback on the logical organization of their sketches. Refer to the criteria displayed.

Sketch Criteria
1. Beginning includes setting and character
2. Middle contains the problem
3. Ending contains the resolution
4. Notes accurately describe the sketch

19. Put students in groups and have them tell their stories. Members of each group provide feedback based on the criteria. See step 18 for criteria.

20. Provide additional instruction for students whose stories do not demonstrate a logical order by having a beginning, middle, and end. Then allow them to revise their sketches.


Students create quick sketches with short notes that show the beginning, middle, and end of the narrative writing.

Use a checklist to formatively assess that each sketch demonstrates a logical organization of beginning, middle, and end of the narrative writing.

Checklist Criteria:
Beginning includes setting and character.
Middle contains the problem.
Ending contains the resolution.
Notes accurately describe the sketch.


This lesson can be carried over to the actual process of writing a narrative story.

The student develops a story line that is easily followed.
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