We only had school on Monday and Tuesday last week so I spent some time trying to help my students take what we learned the week before about story elements and "put it all together." They all came in with solid background knowledge on characters but surprisingly many of them did not know/remember setting from first grade and plot was completely new. They all know that stories have a beginning, middle, and end but in second grade, I introduce them to the words plot, conflict, and resolution.
Since we are learning about culture right now, I read aloud a book called My Two Grannies. It's about a little girl who has two grannies from different cultures- one from England and one from Trinidad. They argue about what to do, what to eat, etc. with their granddaughter when they are babysitting her because they are part of different cultures. In the end, they agree to take turns choosing activities. It's a cute story about how culture can create conflict and how to get along with others who are different. Click on the picture to check it out.
As I read aloud, we filled out a story map together using sticky notes on a class size chart. After we had everything filled in except the resolution and the important events at the end of story, I showed them the following anchor chart (without the words setting and characters written by beginning, conflict by the middle, and resolution by the end). As I explained how stories are like roller coasters because they start slow and the excitement builds...I could see lightbulbs going on for many of my students.
Students were able to tell me which part of a story we meet the characters in and learn the setting, in which part we learn the conflict, and in which part we figure out the resolution. We added that to the chart. Then, we finished reading the story and filling in the story map. The above chart was inspired by one I saw on Pinterest from First Grade Fresh. That chart is below. I used the same picture idea and changed some of the words I added to the chart to match what we were learning.
The Common Core Standards address this content in both first and second grade in the following standards:
1.RL.5 Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.
2.RL.5 Describe the overall structure of a story, including how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
Those standards are why I wrote "All fiction stories have plots" on my anchor chart because I want children to start to recognize the difference between fiction stories and non-fiction texts. The roller coaster was a big hit with the kids and definitely caught their attention!
How do you teach story elements to your students?
Don't forget to check out my Teacher's Notebook shop while it's on sale. I know I will be getting some things from my wish list. :)