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Showed vs. Told. Class Personal Narrative. Ms . Sandler, come quick!” exclaimed Darren. “The fish is caught in the filter!”

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class personal narrative
Class Personal Narrative

Ms. Sandler, come quick!” exclaimed Darren. “The fish is caught in the filter!”

“It is?” I asked puzzled. What does he mean? Then I saw it. There was the fish hanging upside down from the filter by its tail. It was one of the cute black, bobble-eyed fish too.

“We don’t know how to stop the filter,” Darren said. I stood there for a split second thinking I didn’t know how to stop it either.

All of a sudden I pulled the plug from the wall. The filter gurgled and then stopped. The fish drifted down to the bottom of the tank.

We all returned to writing our personal narratives. I soon forgot about our fish friend as I conferenced with writers about their stories. Then I was interrupted. “Ms. Sandler, the fish isn’t moving,” said Darren.

“It is okay. Just give it a little more time,” I answered hoping it would spring back to life.


After a few more minutes, another student interrupted. “Ms. Sandler, I think it is dead,” Phillip said. Phillip and Darren stood huddled by the fish tank. More students started to move towards the fish tank so that soon a big group had crowded around it.

I sighed and replied, “Let’s just wait until the end of the period.” I still thought that fish might start swimming around.

It wasn’t that I wanted my students writing for Writers Workshop. I really believed that fish might be okay. But fish don’t play dead like possums.Also, in the back of my mind, I worried about all the rest of the fish in all the tanks. I knew that if one fish was sick, it could infect all the rest of the fish. What if they all began to die off? How would we complete our science investigation? What if it is dead? Should we bury it or flush it or throw it away? All these thoughts crowded my mind as I tried to carry on with Writers Workshop.

By the end of the period, the fish was still at the base of the tank in the same spot where it had dropped down. Darren asked, “Can I take it to the bathroom to flush it?”

“Okay,” I answered. That is when I heard students at another tank say, “Ms. Sandler, another fish is caught in a filter!”

It was then that I realized that maybe all the fish were sick. Now I was really worried.