Plot: In The Middle

34 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to analyze text for the parts of plot using the story "Where The River Begins."

Big Idea

The students identify how the plot unfolds using a text from science class.

Advanced Organizer

7 minutes

To activate prior knowledge and skills, I will have the students read through the short story The Tortoise and the Hare. As they read, I will have them underline key details related to plot.  I may prompt them by asking them who the characters are, what is the main conflict, what changes that conflict, how does the story end? 

Next, I will pass out the cards to complete the A.O. Matching.  I would provide each pair of students with a set.  I like to have the students work with their Shoulder Partners because they are grouped by ability.  The stronger student is a good model for the weaker student. 

Allow the students time to work with the cards, matching the term with the part of plot from the story.  I like to let the students struggle through this process.  If it is too difficult for some students, I will work with them to identify the conflict.  By identifying the conflict, they will have an easier time finding the climax.  Once they find or identify the climax, they can work from that point to identify the other parts to the plot. 

The students are transitioning to completing more complex tasks with the implementation of the Common Core Standards.  This transition may require some prompting to assist them in finding success. 

This activity builds off of yesterday's Advanced Organizer which had the students match the term to the definition.  It allows the students to progress with the skill of analyzing text, but isn't too big of a jump to independent work or a more difficult text.

Once the students have all matched the correct terms with the plot parts, I will have the groups report out.  I like the individual students to report out because it allows them to take ownership for their work as well as defend and explain their reasoning.  I find this to help them to be able to understand their own thinking. 

Instruction/Guided Practice

40 minutes

For the lesson today, I am going to use a story the students have already been exposed to in their science class.  They are learning about river systems and where rivers begin.  The science teacher has read a story to them titled Where the River Begins.  In this story, two boys set off to find the source of the river.  I thought this would be a great connection to science, a great piece to model, and continue our work with plot.  Additionally, it always create a lot of excitement whenever I bring in materials or skills from other classrooms and link them to what we are doing in LA.  It allows the students to really see the application of the skills taught in ELA and how they are important across the board.

The students are progressing with knowing what the parts of plot are, but as far as being able to apply the skill and actually analyze the text for plot, they still need guidance and practice.  This piece, because they have already read it, will allow us to focus on the skill of analyzing the text verses trying to get through the comprehension of the story. 

Because it is a picture book and most students will not be able to see the pictures too well, I scanned the story in to display on the LCD projector.  I will read the story aloud.  I am doing this because it will allow me to present the skill in another modality to meet the needs of my auditory learners.  It will be a great way to informally assess the students on their ability to analyze text presented this way. 

As I am reading, I will model my thinking in identifying the parts to plot.  I will discuss how in the beginning of the story, the setting, characters and conflict are introduced.  I will model referring to my definitions and checking to see which part of plot this would fall under.  I will also take a few minutes to discuss the conflict.  We have had discussions on how the conflict and climax of the story are often times connected.  I have taught the students that the climax of the story is often, not always, but often when the conflict is solved.  So, by stopping to discuss the conflict of this story, I will model how I am already predicting what I think the climax of the story to be.  In this case, the conflict is the boys' wondering where the river begins, so I predict the climax will be when they discover the source of the river. 

I will continue through the story, underlining the different events that drive the plot forward and are important events to list in my rising action.  Once I have identified the climax, I will continue with the falling action, and resolution. 

By modeling with this story, the students will be able to understand how to work with the text to analyze it for the parts of plots.  I also stress the importance of using our resources.  When I am checking to see if the setting, characters, and conflict are part of the exposition, I referred to my notes.  Students often need that reminder that resources are there for them to use! 


5 minutes

To assess the students' learning and to help the students process the information, I will ask them to complete a Closure Slip.  Plot is a concept the students have been working with since they started reading.  I am hoping the basics are there and they just need to adjust to using a little more complex text.  I believe they can do it!