To begin this lesson, I will ask the students to read a Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. Who doesn't enjoy chocolate chip cookies? This will engage the students immediately. As they read this recipe, they will notice missing ingredients and directions on baking the cookies, which will make it impossible. My goal in this, is to get the students to understand that, just as in a successful batch of chocolate chip cookies, certain components and elements are required to make a successful fiction story. They will see that without each "element" you can and will have a bad batch! I will have the students work independently to read the recipe and answer the questions. After the students have had the opportunity to answer the questions or after about 3 minutes, I will have the students share their responses with their Shoulder Partner. This will allow them to discuss and add to their thoughts.
Next, I will elicit a few students to share their responses aloud with the class. I will use this time to discuss the recipe with the class and ask why it is important to have all the "ingredients" when making a recipe. Finally, I will connect it to fiction, by asking the students to explain what I mean when I say "A good story is like a recipe, you need all the ingredients to make it right." What ingredients are in a story? I will give the students think time to think about and recall the "ingredients" in a story. This will lead into our instruction.
If you would like to see how I used the advanced organizer, click the link. Recipe For Fiction Advanced Organizer
To really involve the students and to recall background information, I will have the students work with their Shoulder Partner to brainstorm all the "parts" to a story that they can recall. While the students are doing this, I am informally assessing their knowledge and current understanding for the elements of fiction. This will inform me on what "parts" I need to spend more time on. I will circulate the room, listen to conversation, and assess their knowledge. Some students may need a little prompting to recall the information.
I would prompt the students by saying any of the following:
What do we call where the story takes place?
Who is in the story?
What is the problem of the story?
Allow the students 3 minutes to complete this brainstorm. Three minutes should be long enough to recall information but not too long to where they will get bored!
Then, as a class share and discuss. I would create my list on the board. I would leave space for further definitions and examples.
Next, I will pass out the Elements of Fiction Guided Notes sheet and have the students follow along with the Recipe for Fiction power point. Sixth grade is a big transition year and the guided notes help assist the students with learning how to take notes. It gives the students some guidance and teaches them what is important to write down. Using Power Point is very visual and allows for easy review for all students.
As we are taking notes, I will ask the students to give examples of each element. At this point, I will have them work with their shoulder partner. This will provide them more support. I will only have the students spend time on the elements I assessed during the brainstorm as needing more attention. There is no need to review the elements they have mastered.
Finally, I will complete the guided notes and power point with the students.
Now it's time for the students to see how the elements of fiction all come together to create a story.
Pass out the story "Eleven" by Sandra Cisneros to the students. I display the story, using the Smart board, so I can interact with the text.
I will read the story aloud to the students. As I am reading, I will stop to identify the elements of fiction within the story. This modeling is important for them to see and understand. I will underline the text to demonstrate how I am working with the text to make the inferences needed to understand the plot, character traits, setting, and conflict. I will have the students underline their text as well.
Through observation from the beginning of the year, it appears that the students are not used to interacting with the text closely. Not only will this help the students see how to identify all the elements of fiction, it will allow them to practice that skill of interacting with the text. This will prove to be important once we start doing more reading response writing.
As I read through the entire story, I underline the parts of plot, discuss their importance to the development of the story. I also model how I identify the climax, but locating the conflict. I tell the students the conflict is the key to identifying the climax. Once we know the conflict, we have to look to locate when that conflict changes and that usually is our climax. Climax is often difficult for students to figure out in more complex text-so it is important to give them that key to assist them when they are working on their own.
For this part, I usually partner the students up with their shoulder partners. I supply each group with the story "The Three Little Pigs". I use this story because it is a very easy and familiar story. The students are able to focus on identifying the elements of fiction verses focusing on comprehending. I would review the elements of fiction and how we used the text to identify all the elements in the story "Eleven."
Next, I will give each pair of students Elements of Fiction Independent Practice This handout has the students go through and identify all the elements of fiction within the story. It forces the students to interact with the text.
As the students are working, I can informally assess their abilities to identify all the elements. This will allow me to see what elements I may need to spend more time teaching.
To asses the students and to allow them to process their learning, I will ask them to complete a Closure Slip.