Saturday, March 23, 2013


I promised you a lesson on Plot and here it is!
Here is our PLOT DIAGRAM inspired by That Teaching Blog! If you have not checked this great ELA blog out, DO IT!
Notice the Plotasaurus Dino - he will come in later ...
I aspire, in each of my lessons, to utilize the I,WE,YOU model of teaching. Sometimes this occurs all together in one mini lesson with a brief teacher model, group practice, and independent work. Other times, this gradual release of responsibility occurs over the course of a few days. For this particular skill,  I opted for the "few days" since PLOT can be a tricky skill for students as well as the reading of books necessary for practice takes up a lot of additional time. 
     The first day, we reviewed the different elements of plot (4th grade standard). I had the students work together with their partner to create our plot diagram on their own using flash cards - don't forget to cover up the group chart during this activity!  
I also shared with the kids a fun way to remember that good plots are not always an even triangle (when you think about it, good books have a HUGE rising action section, strong climax, and a rather short falling action. This helps keep the reader engaged and satisfied).  Remember the Plotasaurus in the diagram? I found this cute way to remember it from a fun high school writer's blot The Epic, The Awesome, The Random. She gives some unique and inspiring "student" insight in her post "Not Your Teacher's Plot Diagram" (love it when kids think outside of the box!) 
The students also drew one in their NB as a reminder :) 
(I) The second day we read a story together - I read to them the Legend of the Hummingbird (A Mayan Legend) since we were studying early explorers and the South American Indians - I try to integrate SS and ELA as MUCH as possible! After reading the story, I modeled how to fill in the different sections of the plot using sticky notes.
(WE) The third day, I had the kids work with their partner and choose a preselected book to read together. Then they worked cooperatively to decide the different parts of plot and fill in the sticky notes, placing them on a poster board. STudents then shared these with the class. 
(YOU) The fourth day, students worked independently, choosing a book from the preselected picture books that they did NOT read already with their partner. They worked on their own smaller placemat chart which they filled in with mini sticky notes with the plot information. We then shared these with our partners.
Our reading work area - notice the kids character vs. conflict posters from my Conflict Post . Having these up and visible really helped with this lesson since the kids had to find the conflict of their stories in the plot and identify which type of conflict was occurring. 
(ASSESS) Our final day of our PLOT skills unit, I gave them a short story with the plot items listed below. After reading the story, they simply filled in the plot elements at the bottom of the page instead of the sticky notes. The kids did really good on this assessment! This last week (about 3 weeks after this actual Plot Unit - yes, I am that behind in blogging!) we reviewed elements of plot during one of our reading centers and they still have it so I am feeling good :) 
 Do you have any unique ways of teaching plot in your room? 
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