Intro to Storytelling

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SWBAT: understand the parts of a narrative, and in this lesson they identify that narratives have a plot, point of view, characters, and conflict.

Big Idea

In our first day in our new "worktext," we look at the learning focus, and begin our journey to narrative texts.

Guiding Question

5 minutes

In preparation for our unit, I wanted students to begin thinking about storytelling. In our unit, students will be asked to read, interpret, and analyze a variety of genres--narratives, short stories, and poetry. Their "Essential Question" for the unit is "How do writers use different modes to express their ideas?" By having them think about storytelling in the Guiding Question, they will be able to understand that telling stories is one way that writers express their ideas.

This student response shows that, although the student has some good initial conceptions about storytelling, she also has some room to grow.

Mini Lesson

15 minutes

In our work text, SpringBoard, each unit begins with a Learning Focus. I put this under the document camera while each student looks at their own copy and I read it out loud, while drawing out the skills and concepts the students will need to focus on for the unit.

I "notice" that the Learning Focus talks about Point of View, and I begin to list various books, including our read aloud, and mention which ones are in first-person Point of View, and which ones are written in third person. 

I also, briefly talk about conflict and mention the Man vs Man, Man vs Nature, Man vs Self, and Man vs Society--trying my best to brainstorm examples. I don't have a list prepared because I want my think aloud to be I'm exploring tis with the kids, too. But, here are some of the examples we came up with.

  • Man vs Man: Harry Potter (vs. Voldemort)
  • Man vs Nature: Hatchet or Twister
  • Man vs Self: Soul Surfer
  • Man vs Society: The Hunger Games

I try not to spend a ton of time on this page, because it's merely an introduction to the unit. As we move through the unit, I understand that I'll be spending more time on some of these concepts. As we're opening up the discussion by looking at the Learning Focus, though, two things are happening: one, I'm building their background knowledge and giving them some kind of schema for the lessons to come, and two, I'm informally assessing the group. If most are able to give examples for point-of-view, I understand that I'll be able to move quickly through that concept. Here is a student annotated Learning Focus.

Work Time

20 minutes

For the Work Time, I have students apply their knowledge of parts of a story they've picked up from the mini-lesson and use it in their independent reading. I generally quickly sketch out a classroom map of the parts of a story we've identified so far, and assign tables accordingly. For now, because we are still introducing these concepts, it's okay that now all students are going to get a chance to experience all concepts. For example, Table One is going to working to identify characters in their independent reading, while Table Two will be working on conflict. Of course, I know that we'll spend a lot of time on conflict later in the year, when we learn about short stories, but for now i want them to get comfortable applying knowledge from a mini-lesson to their choice, independent reading.

As they are reading, I'm circulating and conferring with students to see if they can apply their knowledge. Most of Table 4 is having a hard time, because Point of View is a relatively new concept--and I know I'll have to return to this later.

Wrap Up

5 minutes

For the Wrap Up, each group shares their findings about the different parts of narration. Also, I have them share a little bit about the books they are reading independently, because I'm always looking for ways to get them to talk about what they are reading and get book recommendations from each other. Here's a way I implemented this into the classroom.