Touchstones are projects that illustrate your comprehension of the course material, help you to refine skills, and demonstrate application of knowledge. You
can work on a Touchstone anytime, but you can’t submit it for grading until you have completed the unit’s Challenges. After you’ve submitted a Touchstone, it
will be graded and counted towards your final course score.
Touchstone 1: Narrative Essay
ASSIGNMENT: Write a narrative essay using the techniques and elements of narrative writing that you have learned in this unit. Your essay must be
approximately 500-800 words long.
Sample Narrative Essay In order to foster learning and growth, all essays you submit must be newly written specifically for this course. Any recycled
work will be sent back with a 0, and you will be given one attempt to redo the Touchstone.
Choose a topic that enables you to tell a short, interesting personal story. Your story can be funny, suspenseful, meaningful, or exciting, but it must focus on
one event. For example, if you decide to write about traveling to Denmark, you should not write about the entire trip. Choose one event (e.g., an afternoon
you spent bicycling on an island, or your first taste of smoked herring, or your visit to the childhood home of Hans Christian Anderson) and tell a detailed story
that focuses on that event.
The following are some ideas that can help you to select a topic for your story:
• Firsts: Think of a “first” in your life and describe that moment in detail.
• Proud Moment: Choose a moment when you felt proud about an accomplishment.
• Adversity: Describe a time when you had to think or act quickly to overcome a challenge.
• Travel: Recall a memorable experience you had while visiting an interesting place.
B. Think About Your Writing
Below your completed narrative, include answers to all of the following reflection questions:
1. Which narrative techniques did you use to bring your story to life? (2-3 sentences) Sophia says: Did you use vivid description, sensory details, and/or
Not Submitted Submitted Scored
When you’re ready to upload your document, click here. SUBMIT TOUCHSTONE
It takes 5-7 business days for a Touchstone to be graded once it’s been submitted.
UNIT 1 — TOUCHSTONE 1: Narrative Essay
dialogue to engage readers? Provide two examples from your essay in which you “show” readers ratherSophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition I
© 2018 Sophia Learning, LLC.
Are you ready to write Touchstone 1?
The narrative below provides an example of an advanced level composition. As you read through the
narrative, notice the techniques that the author used to make the story more interesting and draw you, the
reader, into the experience. Although, as with most writing, there remains room for improvement, this sample
narrative is focused, organized, and engaging. The answers to the reflection questions that follow the
narrative show insight into the author’s intended audience and purpose.
January 17, 2018
Why I Believe in Sharing Good Food
I believe in sharing meals with loved ones. Food is obviously an important
component in keeping us alive, but in America today we have lost the importance of food in
connecting with those around us. We’re all just grasping for the next Big Mac or soda and
moving on with our day. I used to think that food was just something delicious or filling, but
then I learned how good food can be at connecting people.
My mom has always been a great cook. When I was a kid, we had a home-cooked
dinner almost every night. She calls herself a “peasant cook” because what she makes is
not usually fancy. But still I remember crispy fried chicken alongside creamy mashed
potatoes smothered in rich gravy or pots of spaghetti sauce that filled the house with an
herby, tomato smell as they bubbled throughout the day. Our house was often full of my
Comment [CS1]: This opening paragraph does a great job
of communicating the overall significance behind the story
you’re about to tell.
Comment [CS2]: Good use of narrative language here.
Sophia Pathways for College Credit – English Composition I
© 2018 Sophia Learning, LLC.
parents’ friends, particularly after church on Sunday afternoon. “It’s a sin to not have
enough food for people,” my mother would say, only half joking, so peasant food or not,
there was always a lot of it. In hindsight, I see the importance in these meals and a house
full of friends and family, but at the time I just thought it was a part of normal life.
Everything changed when my grandfather died. I was only 20 years old. He had
always been very healthy but then cancer struck and he died far too soon, at the age of 67.
I drove with my mom, brother, and sister from Utah to Oregon where all my extended family
was gathering for his funeral.
“I can’t believe he’s actually gone,” said my brother, Samuel.
“Yeah, I can’t believe that when we get to this end of this trip we’re not going to hear
Grandpa telling a bunch of crazy stories or teasing jokes,” my mom replied.
Our drive seemed dotted with memories as much as with trees, hills, and semi-
trucks. All of us were quiet with our own memories of spending time with Grandpa. My
grandpa was only the second significant death in my life and it
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