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One of the most powerful techniques I used as a writing teacher was to do my students’ writing assignments with them.
Share your assignment rubric so they understand the criteria that will be used to evaluate them; it should be ready and transparent right from the beginning of the unit.
So start off the unit by getting students to tell their stories.
In journal quick-writes, think-pair-shares, or by playing a game like Concentric Circles, prompt them to tell some of their own brief stories: A time they were embarrassed. A time they didn’t get to do something they really wanted to do.
As always, I recommend using a single point rubric for this.
Once the parameters of the assignment have been explained, have students read at least one model story, a mentor text that exemplifies the qualities you’re looking for.