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        4-6, 13+

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        The Importance of Setting to a Story - Pesky Critters

        Students take notes on a video segment and write an essay detailing how setting (time, place and environment) influence a story.

        Lesson Summary


        Students watch a video segment in which the speaker describes how the landscape of Florida's wetlands has influenced the habitat of the native alligator. They take notes, then complete an essay revealing how the time, place and environment influenced the story.

        Why is this an important concept?

        An awareness of how setting influences the plot and characters in a story is important to help learners understand and respond to literary texts. When a learner considers a story's setting, he or she gains insight into the underlying foundation or backdrop of a story thus giving deeper meaning to the whole story.

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        Suggested Time


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        The Lesson

        Part I: Learning Activity

        1. Review what the setting of a story is. Distribute the Setting Notes handout, and go over the three components of setting: time, place and environment.

        2. Read or tell the story of "Hansel and Gretel." Lead a discussion of how the time, place and environment influenced the story plot. How would the story have been different if the time, place or environment was different? Conclude by discussing why setting is important and how it influences stories.

        3. Before playing the video segment "Pesky Critters," ask students to watch and listen for details about how people have affected the Florida wetlands and, in turn, alligators' habitats. 

        4. Discuss the destruction of Florida wetlands and how it has affected alligators' habitats. On an enlarged copy of the Setting Notes handout, model note-taking by writing the following under Environment: Florida wetlands destruction - alligators displaced - conflicts with humans.

        5. Before showing the video again, ask students to take notes this time to record details about the setting's time, place and environment. Complete the Setting Notes handout.

        6. After viewing, allow students to share their responses and add to their notes. Discuss how the time, place and environment of the setting of the "Pesky Critters" segment influenced the story.

        For students who need additional teacher guidance:
        • Read several children's stories and discuss how the setting influences each story's plot.
        • Review note-taking strategies before watching the segment.
        • Provide assistance with taking notes while watching the video by pausing the video at intervals to allow students extra time to write.
        • Provide opportunities for students to view video additional times.

        Part II: Assessment

        Students complete the Setting Assessment handout which can be scored using the Setting rubric


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