Looking at the Events

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SWBAT identify one event in the story and describe how the character reacted to the event.

Big Idea

Your students will realize that how the character reacts to an event can change the out come of the story.


Common Core Connection:

I was just sitting here reflecting how common core has changed the way I think about comprehension: in the past when my students recited the beginning, middle, and end of a story I would have been satisfied that they fully understood what the story was about.  Now I am looking at a set of standards that go beyond identifying the beginning, middle, and end of a story by asking students to use key details to describe the events and characters on a deeper level.  For example, during the last few days of this unit, I have tried to not only have my students identify the characters and settings, but also to note some of the deeper, inferential details that made the story either more interesting or got my students thinking about it a little more. 

Lesson Overview:

This lesson continues by looking at the events in the story Lost! by David McPhail.  My students began this lesson by partner reading Lost!.  When they finished reading they were given a Event/Character Reaction Activity Sheet, which they completed on their own.  When they were finished they shared their work with another partner.  Because of time constraints due to a fire drill, we did not get to the planned independent work in this lesson; however, I included the description below of what I hoped to do.  Hopefully you'll be able to get there without interruption! :)


Houghton Mifflin Reading Theme 7: We Can Work it Out, Lost!, by David McPhail

Event /Character Reaction Activity Sheet, teacher modified


5 minutes

As my little ones settled onto their rug squares I began today’s lesson by asking them what they remembered about yesterday’s lesson.  I was not surprised that they remembered and enjoyed choosing pictures that described the setting and events in the story Lost!  After listening to a couple of students share what they remembered I told my students today they would have the opportunity to choose one event in the story and explain how the character responded to or felt about the event.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

I then directed my students to lumber to their desks like a big furry bear.  'Lumber' was a new word for my students, so I had to show them that this was a slow awkward walk.  I find that giving a motion to new words help my students remember them.  (Sometimes I think they like watching me act out a motion almost as much as they enjoy acting it out)

Once at their desks with their anthologies, I directed them to pay close attention to the pictures and text of the story, especially “what does the character do next”.  They then partner read Lost!, by David McPhail.  As they read I circled the room to make sure they were all on the same page and helping each other if they needed help.  When all my students were finished, I used the magic cup to select three students to share with the class what happened in the beginning, middle, and end of this story.  While these students shared, the rest of the class responded with a thumb up if they agreed or a thumb down if they did not agree.

Once finished with this activity to check for understanding, I displayed the Event/Character Reaction Activity Sheet on the Promethean board and gave the directions that each student was to choose one event from the story and describe how the character responded or felt about the event.  I modeled by using the first page of the story and said: The event is the boy hears someone crying and finds a bear.  I drew a quick picture in the first box and wrote, the boy heard a bear crying.  I then asked: What important thing happened next? The answer I was looking for (and got!): the bear felt safe after the boy found him.  I then asked: How do you know the bear felt safe?  The answer I was looking for (and got!): The bear stopped crying and the boy told the bear the building would not hurt him.  I drew a picture of a smiling bear in the second box and wrote: The bear felt safe.

Collaborative Activity

15 minutes

Before passing out the student copy of the Event/Character Reaction Activity Sheet I instructed my students to find one event in the story that they felt was important.  Once they all had an event, I had them whisper to me.  I then had them whisper how the character responded to or felt about the event.  

Whispering to me is an ELD strategy that gives all students an opportunity to verbally express their answers without the pressure of talking in the class; it also encourages student engagement and participation.

When my students finished their work, I directed them to stand up and find another partner they usually do not work with and share what event they chose and how the character reacted.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

At this point we moved into our differentiated guided reading rotation block, where my students rotate through various ELA activities (journal writing, story comprehension work book, individual student computer program). 

In today’s journal my students were to use their activity sheet to write about the event they chose and why it was important to the story.

The prompt I gave my students:  What event did you choose and why was it important to the story.

Ticket Out the Door

5 minutes

To earn a sticker my students had to tell me why it was important to understand the events in the story.