Explode the Moment!

Every student has a story waiting to be unlocked. Our "Explode the Moment" Personal Narrative Writing Project contains the mentor texts and writing tool instructions your students need to find their stories in the everyday moments of their lives.

"What I love best about this narrative unit, is that it includes the essential elements of effective writing pedagogy: quickwrites, mentor texts, writing as a process, and student autonomy. Everyone has a story to tell--you and your students can begin writing yours now. What are you waiting for?"
Shelly Unsicker Durham
Shelly K. Unsicker-Durham
NBCT, PhD Candidate, University of Oklahoma

A Complete, Virtual Learning Ready Writing Unit Plan!

Provide Mentor Texts

We provide three main mentor texts: Two were written by high school students and one by reThink ELA founder Michelle Waters. All three feature personal narratives relevant to middle and high school students.

Offer Writing Prompts

Our included writing prompt is both universal enough that everyone will have more than one specific answer and open enough for interpretation that students will be able use it to craft a narrative from  their own lives.

Encourage Discussion

While writing is often a solitary process, we understand that student writers need guidance from each other and their teacher to produce their best writing. It's a collaborative process.

Build High-Impact Personal Narratives

Jordan Womack

"Best Day Ever"

High school freshman Jordan Womack starts the year at a new school and chronicles his journey to finding something completely unexpected.

Writing and Coffee

"The Best $96 I Ever Spent...”

High school senior Katherine Oung writes about how food equals love in her family and how one coffee maker helped her build a relationship with her mother.

Explore Mentor Texts

In lesson 2, students read three or more mentor texts for inspiration in where they can take their own writing.

Elaborate on Your Story

In lesson 4, students learn how to "explode the moment" in their own writing to help readers experience the story.

Michelle Boyd Waters

"...Becoming a Writing Teacher"

English teacher Michelle Boyd Waters writes about how a long walk down a sidewalk on a hot August day in middle school changed her life.

Engage with a Quickwrite

In lesson 1, students work with a prompt and collaborate with their peers to develop a story they want to share. This quickwrite will serve as a foundation for the unit.

Explain Narrative Structure

In lesson 3, students learn narrative structure concepts and apply them to mentor texts and their own writing.

Evaluate & Revise Your Narrative

In lesson 5, students collaborate with writing partners to peer review each others work and implement suggested changes.

Encourage Students To Write Their Stories!

Google Classroom ready. Download Instantly. Self-directed or teacher-led.

The Oklahoma author of “Best Day Ever” earns 50% of these proceeds
50% of proceeds support reThink ELA's mission to advocate for student voice