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SWBAT retell the key details in the text.

Big Idea

Build retelling skills with a hands activity. Students engage in creating their own story chain.


10 minutes

Common Core Connections

The standard that this lesson focuses on requires the students to retell stories and demonstrate an understanding of the central message.  They need to not only understand the central message but be able to analyze how the central message develops and cite supporting details.  Exposure to a wide range of texts that are highly complex and guided practice are two tools that I find useful in teaching this standard.

Lesson Overview

The lesson begins with the student seated because the lesson image is on the Promethean board.  Then I project the web and title on the board. The students work in collaborative groups of two or three at the center tables to complete their partner work.  Last, they move to the lounge area for reflection and closure.

Introductory Activity

I put the lesson image of the chain on the Promethean board.  I ask them to discuss with their partner what a chain might have to do with the beginning, middle, and ending of a story. This is nice opportunity to connect something students are familiar with to new knowledge.  I then ask one student the tell me what they think and explain why.  Then I tell the class that we are going to make a story chain.  This is all it took to get them fired up.  I showed them mine and they said they had already seen it on my desk.  So, just putting it on my desk had them curious about what we were going to do.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

I explain that we will list the big things for the beginning, middle and end of  dinner (Classroom Video: Relevance).  The learners discuss what they do first.  I first offer some ideas.  Do you wash your plate, sit down, or put food in your mouth?  I am trying to encourage a detailed response.  After 30 seconds or so I share what I heard one group say.  I write it on a story chain slip on the board.  The students discuss what they do in the middle of dinner.  I share what one group said and then write it on the board.  They discuss what happens at the end of dinner.  To switch it up I ask one volunteer to share.  I write their response on the board.  Then I take stickers, because I lost the tape, to connect the chains. I found that stickers made this lesson even more fun!

Partner Work

20 minutes

Students are seated in groups (Collaboration) of two or three in the lounge area.  I distribute three strips of paper, stickers, and pencils to each group.  I ask then to write one sentence on each strip of paper.  The first strip will have the beginning, the second will have the middle, and the last the ending.  I am careful to remind them that the middle will have the beginning on one end and the end on the other.  This creation (Student Work) really helps students understanding (Classroom Video: Complex Tasks) the word middle. These opportunities are very important to students who's first language is not English.


Student Reflection

5 minutes

We join on the lounge and the two groups (Classroom Video: Flexible Grouping) that finished read their work to the class.  The students take great pride in presenting their work.  This allows them to practice their speaking and listening skills.  Speaking and listening is one shift in previous curriculum to Common Core.  I feel that speaking is directly related to writing.  We write just like we speak, so it is very important to use formal language in the classroom.


5 minutes

The students (Classroom Video: Checks for Understanding) tell their partner one thing they learned.  Then ask one student to share their response.  I like for everyone to participate at the same time. Doing so just adds to the engagement of the learner.