Picture This! Lost and Found on a Mountain!

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SWBAT use information gained words in text to demonstrate understanding of the plot.

Big Idea

Put the images on the mountain!



I chose this book because it has a very clear introduction, problem, climax, and solution. It is a simple nice story with some prediction and the kids enjoyed the characters and simplicity.

 ** "Imaging" is the term that my district uses for "visualizing". In order to stay true to the district expectations, I'll continue to use this verbage. Visualizing is a critical skill for 2nd graders because they need to 'go deeper' in the text. By visualizing as they read, they are creating and tweaking images in their minds as they actively read. This kind of 'close reading', forming images using text, verifying and changing those images, and ultimately comparing their images to the author, creates critical readers and deepens comprehension.

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)


Common starting point

  • "We’ve been talking about imaging.  This story has a great plot that shows what happens to 2 cute characters and some fun events."
  • “The story today is about two characters who go to a cold place (the setting) that has big ‘mountains' and we’ll use a 'mountain' to describe the plot.” Draw the mountain on the board.

I am working on imaging/visualizing throughout this unit by helping students realize that this powerful reading strategy can really deepen comprehension. Take a look at some of my other lessons, utilizing the 'Imaging/Visualizing' poster mentioned in the materials section: Imagine That-Make a Picture in Your MindPictures in the Snow-ImagingOh No! Duck for President-Imagine That!Extend Your World, and Imagine What An Inchworm Would Say.

Teacher's Turn

15 minutes

Set the purpose

  • "With this book, we'll use imaging to make story scenes and put them into the plot."
  • "This will help us retell the story using the images and the parts of the plot. Imaging helps us to order the pictures in our mind to see what happens in the story - the plot"
  • "I'll write on the 'Imaging/Visualizing Strategy' chart:" help us describe the problem in the plot.



  • "Plot is what happens in the story.  I think of a plot as a ‘mountain’ because it has a low point (setting & characters), a steep part going up (problem and events), and a high peak called the climax. At the end, it slides back down (solution).Here’s a graphic organizer of a plot."
  • Here's how my discussion of the plot mountain looked.


  • "I brought some characters and event squares. I’ll read and then we’ll create an image with the pieces."
  • Read through the page that says, “Once there was a boy”.  I’ll put my penguin and boy here and create an image.” Add some details. “Take a look, is that similar to the book? Since this has the characters and setting, I’ll put that at the bottom of my ‘mountain’.
  • This is my explanation of the imaging.


Guided practice

  • Read through the page that says, 'The penguin was sad'.  "Can you help me create an image with the characters and square. Is that the problem of the book?  Let’s put that at the beginning of the ‘plot mountain.”
  • When we were done, this is how the whiteboard looked.

Students Take a Turn

20 minutes
Explain the task
  • "Now let's finish the rest of our mountain."
  • "I’ll read and pause at pages for you to use imaging." Read and show pictures, but stop and hid the pictures for the pages below. Let the kids create the images and show when they're done. 


Read the text *

  • Read through the page  and kids draw the event.
  • Read through the page that says another event  kids draw the images. Some of my kids had ideas about the characters' feelings.
  • Read through the page with the climax. In this video, I am discussing the idea of climax to help the kids draw the images.
  • Read through the solution at the end of the book and kids draw the images.
  • Stop after the pages and review what is happening. Have the kids draw an image and glue it on the ‘plot mountain.”


Formative Assessment


*When you preview the book and think about your class's ability, I will leave it up to you which pages to stop on and how often to have the kids use imaging. I previewed the book, putting a marker in the pages that seemed like good places to stop and draw the events, the climax and the solution. Since I was prepared, I was able to give the students ideas of what to draw.  

**I felt it was important to integrate the important plot-related academic vocabulary in this lesson, as was evident in the video of the student retelling the story. This is a key shift with Common Core State Standards towards acquiring and using academic vocabulary and generalizing those words across the curriculum. It’s important for students to know words like 'climax' and 'plot' so they can describe other stories, deepening their comprehension of other examples of literature.

Share What You've Learned

15 minutes

Review the ideas

  • Have the kids ‘turn and share’ with a partner.  Their goal is to see what images are the same and what are different. You can share too.  This is what my images looked like when I put them on the whiteboard.
  • Discuss as a group – "How did the plot develop?  What was the climax or high point of the story?  How did the events lead up to this?"
  • "How were the author's images different than yours?"  Here's a great explanation from one of my students about the author's images.
  • "Did the group like the solution?"


My class has focused quite a bit on character development this year and I wanted them to look at this story from that angle and bridge that to plot development. My goal was to encourage the his evaluation/integration of the author’s approach to character and plot development alongside students’ own analysis of the events (RL.2.3).This discussion is the first my class will take part in about plot development. Understanding that we use information gained from the illustrations and word in a text to demonstrate an understanding of plot  is critical for students to recognize.(RL.2.7) Students are doing ‘close reading’ as they analyze how the author develops the plot, by looking at the text and pictures, and how he/she uses events that rise to a climax and a solution to wrap up the story.


Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.

For students with language challenges, this lesson should be accessible because the reading is done by the teacher or on the Elmo for the class. The reading level is well within the 2nd graders' reading level, but I find that they can focus on the reading strategy more fluently when the story is read to them. Here is one of my students with language challenges explaining the story.

For students with higher abilities, it would be worth challenging them to justify their thoughts with higher level language. "Can you tell me 'why' you drew that?  What was your reasoning?"