Introducing the Characters and Events

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SWBAT describe the major events in the story and how the main character responds to those events.

Big Idea

I did that first, now I am going to do this! Students will be introduced to character reactions to the events in the story, and how they are related.


One challenge that I have with developing common core aligned lessons is that I am regulated by a pacing guide and dated materials.  While I find this situation frustrating at times, it also gives me the opportunity to explore and be a little more creative in how I deliver a lesson.  Instead of being ‘tied’ to the pacing guide and anthology selections I have found that I can incorporate more read-alouds and informational texts to supplement the anthology selections, and give my students a wide and deep range of literary and informational texts.

Common Core Connection:

In this introductory lesson, I focused on RL.1.3. As my students have been gaining confidence describing the characters, it is my intent to go a little further and have them analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text, which starts to get after what the anchor standard for reading standard 3 is all about. 

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, I will read It’s the Bear! by Jez Alborough, to my students.  After reading, my students will have the opportunity to look at the relationship between the main character and the bear and how that relationship influences the events of the story.


It’s the Bear! by Jez Alborough

Major Story Events and Character Response Activity Sheet (teacher created)


5 minutes

To begin this lesson, and to peak my students interest, I had my students on the rug area and asked them to share with their rug partner if they had ever seen a bear, and if so where.  When they finished sharing I asked for a show of hands of who had seen a bear.  I also had students raise their hands to ‘tell’ me if they had seen a bear at the zoo or in the wild.  

Now that I had their attention I told my students that this week we would be practicing identifying and describing the characters, setting, and events in stories.  I explained that it was important to know who the characters are and what the events are because together they make the story interesting.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

From there I introduced It’s the Bear! by Jez Alborough.  Before reading I told my students to listen for what happens in the beginning, middle, and end of the story and how the main character responds in each part.

When I finished reading I had my students answer these questions by having them partner share for each one separately:

  • What are the important events that happened in the beginning, middle, and end of this story?
  • Who are the characters?
  • How would you describe the boy and the bear?

After each question, I stopped and used the magic cup to select a partner pair to answer the question out loud.  As they answered the rest of the class showed me thumbs up or down if they agreed or not with the answer.

Collaborative Activity

20 minutes

When my students finished partner sharing I gave them the directions for their collaborative activity.  In this activity they were to work in pairs to talk about and record the sequenced events in the story. They also needed to talk about how the main character, Eddie, reacted during each event.  For this activity I instructed my students to choose their own partners, get their pencils, and sit at the desk of who was shortest.  

Once they were situated at their desks I passed out and displayed the activity sheet on the Promethean board. I instructed them to talk about the events in the beginning, middle, and end of the story with their partners and record what they discussed.  I modeled what it should sound like when they were discussing each part of the activity sheet and how to record their answers.  For example: 'One event in the beginning of the story was Eddie and his Mom went in the woods for a picnic. Eddie was worried that there were bears in the woods'.  On the Promethean board I wrote Eddie and Mom went on picnic and Eddie was afraid of bears in the boxes labeled 'beginning'.   I checked for understanding by using the magic cup to select a student to repeat to the class what they were to do with their partners.

As my students began working, I circled around each partner pair to make sure they were talking about the job at hand and recording their answers.  For students who finished early, I had them draw a picture of the bear and the character, Eddie, on the back of their activity sheet.

At the end of the work time I pulled the group back together and used the magic cup to select two partner sets to read their activity sheets to the class.  The rest of the class showed me a thumb up or down if they agreed or not.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

At this point we moved into our differentiated guided reading rotation block, where my students rotate through various ELA stations (word study activities, fluency activities, and journaling).

In today’s journal, my students were to use their activity sheet to write about each sequenced event and what the character, Eddie, did in each event and why. This is where I am extending their learning from just describing to analyzing.

I put this prompt on the Promethean board: What did Eddie do at the beginning, middle, and end of the story and why did he do it?

Ticket Out the Door

5 minutes

Students got a sticker after telling me why they thought Eddie was afraid of bears.