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        4-6, 13+

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        Understanding Story Elements - Who, What, Where

        Students will watch a video of a storyteller coming up with a rap that tells a story. They will identify story elements (who, what, and where), and record significant details.  The next lesson plan ,Using Story Elements to Write a Rap, has students creating their own rap with the story elements.

        Lesson Summary


        Students identify story elements, record significant details and create a rap using the story elements, "Who, What and Where."

        Why is this an important concept?

        When students can describe literary elements such as character and plot, they are better able to interpret and respond to a text. Focusing on and discussing key details of literary elements supports the understanding of the author's message and purpose.

        Grade Level:


        Suggested Time

        (2-3) 50-minutes periods

        Media Resources


        The Lesson

        Part I: Learning Activity

        1. Make copies of the following materials for each student: Story Element Chart handout, the Character Web handout and the Plot T-Chart handout. In addition, distribute blank sheets of paper and crayons to students.

        2. Explain to the class that they are going to watch a video in which a storyteller uses rap to tell a story about a boy who lives on an island and meets a crew of pirates. As they watch the video the first time, ask students to jot down the characteristics of Cocoa under "Who" on the Story Elements Chart.

        3. After viewing the video, direct students to complete the Rap Character Web. First, write Cocoa in the center of the web. Then choose four words that describe the character and write those in each box. Write a significant detail that supports each description. For example, a characteristic of Cocoa is: He loves the beach. A supporting detail: He loves the sun and sand.

        4. Watch the video a second time. This time the purpose of viewing is to focus on the details in the beginning, middle and end of the plot. Direct students to record the details on the Story Element Chart.

        5. After viewing the video, tell students to use their notes from the Story Element handout and record the important events on the Plot T-Chart. Include significant details about the events that further explain the beginning, middle and end of the plot. For example, at the beginning, Cocoa is lying on the beach. A detail: Cocoa loves the sun and sand. He has everything he needs (e.g., towel, drinks, snacks) so he does not need to leave the beach to go to town.

        For students who need additional guidance in completing the activities:
        • Review the kinds of details authors use to describe characters. Ask students to focus on ideas that describe Cocoa as they view the video the first time. After viewing, discuss what they know about Cocoa and guide them as they identify his characteristics. Guide students as they work through the Character Web. Think aloud to demonstrate how you decide what words describe the character. Then explain how you determine which details support the descriptions. Guide the class as they complete the chart.
        • View the video a second time. This time the purpose is to focus on the details in the beginning, middle and end of the plot.
        • Draw the Plot T-Chart on the board. Think aloud about how you decide what details are important. Also, think aloud about why you think the character made the decisions he did. For example, why did Cocoa go out to greet the ship? Guide students as they identify important events in the beginning, middle and end of the story and complete the Plot T-Chart with them.

        Part II: Assessment

        1. On a blank sheet of paper, students create illustrations that depict an important event from the plot. Then students write a short explanation about why they chose the event they illustrated. Suggest they use ideas from their Plot T-Chart handout to choose an event to illustrate (Use the Rubric to evaluate the written explanation).

        2. In small groups, students share their illustrations and read their explanations. To model what you expect, share your illustration and explanation.


        The Character Web, Plot T-Chart and illustration may be added to student portfolios to provide evidence that they have met these performance indicators.


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