STUDY & TEACH "WRITING NARRATIVE COMPOSITIONS/ESSAYS (Not less than 250 words)" Part 2 in Form Four - O Level English

STUDY & TEACH "WRITING NARRATIVE COMPOSITIONS/ESSAYS (Not less than 250 words)" Part 2 in Form Four - O Level English

Welcome to UNIT 12.4

PREVIOUSLY: In Unit 12.3, we discussed the ways of teaching the sub topic “Writing argumentative compositions/essays” in Form Three.       

IN THIS UNIT 12.4, we will cover all the ways on teaching the sub topic “Writing narrative compositions/essays (of not less than 250 words)” in Form Four.

(Also: For Literature in English Subject, Check out my Literature in English Blog. Also check out My Diary for Diary Writing Inspiration and More! )

Sub Topic: Writing narrative compositions/essays.
Periods per sub topic: 8.
Class: Form Four.

This sub topic is the continuation and revision of the Part Two of sub topic "Writing Narrative Compositions/essays (of not less than 200 words)" in Form Three. Click this blue link to see the whole topic. This topic has the same materials and teaching modality. However, the only difference is in the number of words per composition or essay.

Sometimes students wonder how they read wonderful stories in Primary School and in this level. But they might not take a time to think about those who created these amazing stories. As a teacher you have to tell them that some of these stories are imaginary, that's, they are created by author's imagination. That the author just sit somewhere and think of an idea and starts writing.
In this sub topic, students will learn how to narrate the past imaginary events. They may be those they create without involving themselves or those told with 'I' narrator, that's involving them as characters.

Part 2: Writing imaginary events in the past.

In this Part Two, the student should be able to write imaginary events in the past. The student should be able to think of some creative ideas and use these ideas to write certain literary works.

This stage is about the preparation of the teacher before undertaking the lessons of the particular sub topic. These are all activities, procedures, materials, teaching aids, and games prepared by the teacher for teaching a sub topic:

  1. Putting heads together. Introducing the topic/lesson properly. Organising how students will be able to get to know what is the topic/lesson about. It is where teacher makes sure that students are going to be in his/her train. It includes brainstorming and familiarisation of the topic/lesson with the students.
This makes students stay together with the teacher. It is at this stage students can understand what is going to be discussed in the particular topic.

  1. Preparation of Materials. A teacher has to decide on the teaching/learning materials he/she is going to use.
In this sub topic/lesson: A teacher is advised to apply various pictures that tell stories and ask students to write the imaginary stories by using these pictures that tell stories.

  1. Target Practice. At this point, teacher shows/guides students how to the practice of the functions of the sub topic. A teacher has to show or guide students to the target practice of the grammatical functions of the sub topic.
In this particular sub topic/lesson; Students will be asked by the teacher to start their imaginary stories with special expressions such as; ‘Once upon a time, sometime in the past..., many years ago, long time ago’, etc.

  1. Context-Based Practice. A teacher leads students to the discussion on how the target grammatical functions practised earlier can be applied or integrated into the contexts and situations. The students are guided by the teacher to apply the learnt skills in relevant contexts and situations like homes, school, library and other literary settings.
In this sub topic/lesson: Students can go in the library and find various insights and prompts on how to write imaginary events or stories. Mostly, past tense is applied in writing imaginary events/stories, and various narrative styles are employed as well.

  1. Vocabulary Building Practice. At this time, teacher discusses with the students on the vocabularies and phrases to apply in the already mentioned contexts and situations.
In this sub topic/lesson: The most commonly applied vocabularies are: Imaginary, imagined, vivid, once upon a time, long time ago, may years ago, and the similar vocabularies an expressions.

Guide the students to the full lesson procedures, activities and games for better understanding of the sub topic by following these activities:

Activity One: During this activity, the teacher guides and instructs students to think of any imaginary event. For example, a teacher can give the students the various examples of story prompts or story starters such as:
Imagining you are alone in a dense forest.
You are dreaming.
You are on a certain funeral.
Imagine you witnessed a terrible accident.

Then a teacher can ask students to think of other story starters they have. It is good to let students think about their own ways of starting stories. By understanding how stories are started, students will definitely be able to write their own imaginary stories.

Activity Two: Teacher asks students to be in pairs. In this pairs, students are guided by the teacher to draft the composition in pairs. There various ways to make students get started. For example; each pair may choose its own story starter and start drafting the story.
For instance; the pair that might have chosen the story starter like: ‘I Survived a Crocodile’ may draft their story in the way it happened by just imagining the events and characters that can suit to their story starter. At this stage, teacher encourages students to think and write down anything that comes out of their minds without considering their grammatical errors and the content of the story. These skills will help students to possess some creative writing skills.

After, drafting their imagined stories, the teacher encourages students to revise and edit their work, and this time, by keenly focusing on the relevant content of the story.
As they edit, students should not leave them alone; he/she should assist them when necessary by moving around from pair to pair encouraging interaction among the students and finishing up the works.

Activity Three: Editing is the best way to make a work looks smarter. Thus, in this situation, a teacher asks students to work in pairs to improve their work by checking spelling errors, punctuation, capitalisation, and other mechanical errors.

Activity Four: After checking students’ works, the teacher can display the best compositions for students to read in their own time. These best compositions can be displayed on the school or classroom noticeboard.
The finished work of pair of students that chose the story starter "I survived a Crocodile" can look like this:
I Survived a Crocodile!
My name is Pascal. I have lived in Karema village for many years now. Swimming to me is like a daily bread.
One day I was swimming on the famous beach of Lake Tanganyika, Kasomo Beach. I was enjoying all sorts of swimming styles like backstroke and others.

Suddenly, I saw one object approaching me. At first I thought it was a piece of buoy or any light object. But when I dived deep into the water, I realised that it was a big crocodile swimming towards me. I came up the water and started swimming and screaming. I panicked. But what amazed me about that crocodile is that it was not moving. I left it some distance.
My friends came and helped me out.
"I have seen a crocodile", I told them. Then they took a canoe and rowed towards the crocodile. I stayed back on the hot sands of the beach.
I heard them laughing in a distance. It was realised that that object was not a crocodile. It was a piece of wrecked boat. People started thinking that there might be a water accident somewhere in the lake.
I was relived and regain my happiness again. I put on my clothes and went back home.
As I went home, I still thought alone,

"Today, I survived a fake crocodile. Tomorrow I will swim again. This is my place. This is my life".

For full Narrative compositions, read Writing Imaginary Events in Form Three!

Also on how to write an essay with less than 250 words, you can read HOW TO COUNT WORDS IN A COMPOSITION/ESSAY

Past Tense
To narrate the past imaginary events, students have to be equipped with the English tense skills, especially past tense.

Literary techniques
In narrating, most imaginary events contain some elements of an art or literary techniques that make works more creative and interesting.
The following are the most important literary elements to consider when writing works of art like these imaginary events that happened in the past.
  • Plot
  • Conflict
  • Characters
  • Setting
  • Theme
  • Style
  • Language

For more details about these literary techniques, click Elements of any Literary Work to read more.

Ask students to think of imaginary events they know. Obviously, these events may range from grandparents' stories, primary school stories to Secondary School stories. These are stories from our societies. From that point, students now have the experience that or the knowledge that imaginary stories and events are found in our societies.

A teacher should design an evaluation for students by using appropriate assessment tools like oral questions or assignments so that to see if the students are able to write the imaginary events in the past.
Even after finishing the sub topic, ask students if they can write imaginary by giving them writing assignments and checking their understanding by marking their works.

The importance of writing imaginary events is that students will be able to improve their writing skills especially creating writing skills. These skills are not only necessary for school writing purposes but also for student's personal growth in terms of critical judgment and improving creative writing career in the future.

NOTE: These stages explained above are not necessarily covered in a single lesson of single or double period. Remember that this is the guide for teaching the whole sub topic which has periods ranging from 6 to 20. So, the teacher's task is to divide these stages according to the total number of periods for a particular sub topic.


Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.


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