An Analysis of Story Elements in Because of Winn-Dixie

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SWBAT create a story map for the story "Because of Winn-Dixie" following a group discussion.

Big Idea

Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of what experiences bring different people together by creating a story map for the story Because of Winn-Dixie. The story map will aid students in sequencing and summarizing.


1 minutes


4 minutes

Today, my scholars learn about the value of diversity.  Diversity simply means differences.  Let's start by completing a concept map for the word 'Diversity'.  What are some things, situations, or places that bring different people together?

(Possible responses:  school, church, weddings, funerals, vacations, neighborhoods, culture, friendship, animals, hobbies, jobs, sports, entertainment, disasters, public events, etc.)

Through this concept map discussion, I want my scholars to understand that although people, in general, have many differences, we are more alike than we are different.  I want them to view diversity as a way of bringing people together rather than separating people.

Group Discussion

30 minutes

As we read "Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo, we discuss text-based questions and vocabulary words (see attached Powerpoint presentation). Scholars use Accountable Talk practices (distribute Accountable Talk stems handout) and cite evidence from the text in their responses.  As we read the story, we'll see what happens in a library because of Winn-Dixie!

Independent Practice

20 minutes

Now, scholars use the information from our group discussion to complete a Story Map graphic organizer about "Because of Winn-Dixie."  I chose to have my scholars complete a story map because a story map is a strategy of using a graphic organizer to help students to learn the elements of a story - characters, plot, setting, problem, and solution.  I have found using story maps aids in improving student comprehension and helps students with various ability levels to organize information efficiently and effectively.



5 minutes

To close our lesson, I have students to complete an exit slip in response to the following prompts:

  • List 3 new words you learned from reading "Because of Winn-Dixie."
  • What are 2 things you learned from reading "Because of Winn-Dixie?"
  • What is 1 question you would ask Opal if given the opportunity?

This 3-2-1 strategy is a quick wrap-up and review of key vocabulary, essential understandings, and burning questions for students.  The information students provide on the exit slip is not only an informal assessment of their learning, but also a means of providing me as the teacher with information that they did not learn.