Story Elements Introduction Part 1

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SWBAT analyze how the parts of the plot work together by diagraming the plot of a familiar story.

Big Idea

Great stories...what a ride!

Warm Up

5 minutes

To open class today I ask students to view the video below without speaking.  The video is approximately four minutes in length and shows the Dollywood ride Daredevil Falls.  The reason I ask students not to talk is that  want everyone to absorb what they are seeing and as we live fairly close to Dollywood, some students have ridden this and will interrupt.

The only thing I will ask students to note is that the ride seemed to take a while to build up to the main event.  I will not mention this now, but later in class will make the point that it takes over three of the four minutes to get to the "climax" point of the ride -just like a story. I do this because I find that most of my students have been taught that a plot diagram looks like a triangle and the climax is in the middle of a story.  This is incorrect. I want to get across that it is in fact close to the end. - just like the ride.

After viewing the video, I ask students to hold that ride in their head and we'll come back to it.


20 minutes

At this point, I ask students to listen to a very familiar story -Disney's Cinderella.  As they listen, I ask them to compare the story to the ride on Daredevil Falls.  

After the reading I ask, "Do you see any similarities between the two?  What about the pacing?  Can you compare events -especially the "big event" at the end of the ride to a big event in the story? What do we call the "big event" or highpoint in a story?

This leads into a discussion of climax and the other parts of the plot diagram which students have used in the past. I want to bring out that plot is a major element of story creation -like setting and characters - but has it's own parts that interact to create an awesome flow.  Looking at how those parts work together is what today is all about.

So, I now ask students to take a handout from the caddy.  The handout is a plot diagram.  I display the handout on the SMART board, and as a class we review the parts.  I get a lot of, "We did this last year." or "We did this in 5th grade."  To that I say, "Great. Today you are going to demonstrate your understanding and ability to use the plot diagram correctly."

Independent Work

25 minutes

During independent work, I want students to use the "universal" blank diagram I have provided to accurately complete the plot diagram for the story Cinderella.  I am using this story merely as an example to demonstrate the typical flow of story patterns.  Eventually, we will use this same diagram with other stories and novels.

To assist, I play the reading of Disney's Cinderella again and allow students to complete the plot diagram as they listen and afterward. During their work, I circulate around the room answer questions and offer assistance as needed.

Generally, I find that students are not as sure about plotting the story as they thought, but using a simple story like Cinderella makes it more manageable.

Wrap Up

5 minutes

To close the day, I will explain that the plot diagram should be completed for class tomorrow, and that I will upload the read-a-long video to our class Edmodo page for their use at home if they are not finished.

Then, I will play the video of Daredevil Falls (from the Warm Up) again and ask students again not to talk, but to think about how this relates to the plot diagram. We will continue the discussion tomorrow in part 2 of this lesson.