Personal Narratives 4 th grade Mentor Texts Learning from student work: focusing on “Oh NO!” moments
Adventure Express: Important background details I will never forget the day I went to Kings Island and rode the “Adventure Express.” It was my first trip ever to the amusement park. I hadn’t missed any days in school and all of the students who came everyday for a whole year got a free trip to Kings Island as a reward. I was really excited about the trip. Everyone who had been before had told me all about the different rides, but my Sunday School teacher had told me that the “Adventure Express” was the best. She said it really went fast!
Leading up to the “Oh NO!” moment When we got to the park, I rode the “Bumper Cars” first. I thought I’d start out small and work my way up. After four or five rides, I felt like I was ready for the “Adventure Express.” The “Adventure Express” looked a lot like a roller coaster. I had to walk through a building to get on it. It didn’t look like it was going to be a bit scary, and at first, it wasn’t. Once it started moving, things changed quickly.
“Oh NO!!!!” I was very frightened. The ride took me up steep hills. When the cars came back down, it felt like the bottom had dropped out and my car wasn’t even on the track anymore. I held on tight and hunkered down in the seat as the cars went around sharp curves. It jerked me and swung me from one side of the car to the other. I was screaming as loud as I could. Oh NO!
The ride shot through long, dark tunnels on what looked like a broken track. There were snakes and ghosts on the walls. I could hear the ghosts screaming and moaning. The tracks were creaking like they were going to break. Steam shot up around the cars and drops of water fell back on me. My heart was beating so fast I could almost hear it. Oh NO!
Problem resolved… I couldn’t wait for the ride to be over. When it finally stopped, I was in shock. When I got off that thing, I could barely even talk. I was so shook up I wasn’t able to stand up. I felt sick at my stomach too and had to go to the bathroom. I don’t hardly see why anyone with any sense would want to ride on a ride like the “Adventure Express.” It jarred me around and made me think I was going to be thrown out and go flying through the trees. I thought sure I was going to have a stroke or a heart attack before it was over.
Lesson learned… After that experience, I do know this much. If I ever go to Kings Island again, I am only going to ride the bumper cars and other easy rides. I am done with all of those fast rides forever!
DAREDEVIL… Leading up to the “Oh NO” moment It all started when my friends Jeremy, Wilson, Sam and me were racing bikes. I was not wearing a helmet, kneepads or elbow-pads. We were racing in the long paved alley behind my house. The race started behind my house. “Ready. Set. Go!” I yelled. I put my foot on the pedal and went. We were zipping down the alley and I was in first place. The wind felt good against my face. I felt like Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France.
My front wheel was loose. All of a sudden, my wheel screeched sideways into a deep rocky ditch. Before I knew it, I was on the ground. Then I heard Jeremy, Wilson and Sam’s bikes slide to a stop. SCREEEEEEECH! Oh NO!
“Wilson, get my dad fast!” I yelled. “Allright,” he screamed as he ran to my house. “OOOOOUCH,” I yelled my heart out because of the searing pain in my head. My nose was bleeding everywhere. Oh NO!
Two minutes later my dad came and picked up my bike and carried me to the car. It took us five minutes to get to the hospital. I walked in with a towel on my face. I was as nervous as an actor getting ready to go on stage. I was getting blood all over the floor. The nurse let us go to the x-ray room because she thought it was urgent. Oh NO!
Problem resolved… I got x-rays from a big machine. My nose was broken! My face was scarred and scratched on one side. I looked like my face skidded across concrete. The doctors sent me home to rest and stay away from my bike… Oh NO!
Lesson learned… While in bed, I thought of what I did wrong that day. I learned some lessons: to always wear a helmet, kneepads and elbow pads when I’m racing bikes. And always check my bike equipment before a race…
My First Sleep Over Important background details “Jane, do you want to sleep over at my house on Friday?” my friend Abby asked. “Why don’t you sleep over at my house?” I answered. “But I always sleep over at your house and you never sleep over at mine. I think you are scared.”
Leading up to the “Oh NO” moment “Well, I’m not…it’s just…I don’t want to,” I said. “You don’t want to! That hurts my feelings! Anyway, I think you’re scared and you’re lying to me. Maybe if you tried to sleep over at my house you might like it,” Abby said.
“Oh NO!!” “Fine,” I said. “I’ll do it just to show you I can. See you Friday night after school. Bye.” What if I embarrass myself and start crying like a baby for my Mom and Dad? What if I wake up in the middle of the night and want to go home? Yikes! I can’t believe I just said yes to Abby. But I have to because Abby looked so excited and I said I would. Oh NO!
Friday came along quickly and I was pretty nervous and excited at the same time. While we were playing games it was fun but when Abby’s mom came in the room and told us it was time for bed, I started to think about my Mom and Dad. Oh NO!
Problem resolved My eyes started to fill up with tears and I think Abby noticed because she said, “Let’s play one more game in the dark with a flashlight so my parents won’t see the light on.” One more game led to another, and another. I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew was Abby was brushing her teeth in the bathroom. Oh NO!
Lesson learned… I started thinking about all the fun we had and I felt pretty proud that I had made it all through the night without my parents. I then knew that the next time a friend asked me to spend the night at her house that I would say “yes” right away. Adapted from Hannah’s final story, Lucy Calkins and Kathy Collins, Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3-5
When I Was Scared… Important background details Dad had just bought me a brand new bike for my birthday. I had turned 7, and my dad expected me to know how to ride my bike like a champ. I was so scared. I had never ridden a bike before, but I was still determined to try. So I got on my bike and I did a dumb thing.
First I forgot my gears. Second instead of going on the ground, I went down a hill. I was doing fine until I looked up. I was heading straight for the basketball goal. Dad forgot to show me where the brakes were, and boom! I was knocked out. Oh NO!
Dad ran down to get me. He carried me up the hill, and laid me on the truck. I was still unconscious. Mom and Emily came running! I woke up and put my hand on my forehead. I said “OUCH.” I took my hand off my head. It had blood all over it. I got sick. Oh NO!
Problem resolved… Mom cleaned me up, and I looked in the mirror. I had a big spot on my forehead. I screamed! I tried to cover it with band aids, but mom said it would take a whole box to cover it. I said “I don’t want to go to school tomorrow.” She said “Good, it’s Friday.”
1. Introduction Background details 2. Problem “Oh NO!” 3. Problem resolved 4. Conclusion Lesson learned Let’s summarize
Adapted from Clark County students’ work, Marker Papers and Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3-5 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann) Jennifer Bernhard Literacy Specialist Clark County Schools Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org