The Plot Development Roller Coaster

Learn about plot development. Check out several teaching ideas. Download this free activity for students.

Plot development is often compared to climbing a mountain or riding a roller coaster. Students really relate to the roller coaster analogy. Here is how it works:

The Plot Development Roller Coaster

Exposition

When you first get on the roller coaster a voice over a loudspeaker gives background information such as when the coaster was built, how long the ride will last, or how high or fast you will be traveling. The exposition also gives background information. It is the introduction of the story. The exposition contains the setting and introduces the main characters. Readers need this information to understand a story. Continue Reading

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Activities for Teaching Setting of a Story

Learn about settings in literature. Check out several teaching ideas. Download this free activity for students.

The setting of a story includes the time and location in which the story takes place. Most students can easily say this story takes place at the beach or the moon or Alaska or wherever. Many students can also pinpoint the time: the past, present, or future. However, often students do not realize that the setting also provides important clues to the plot.

 Information to Use in Classroom Discussions

Setting and Attitude

Where characters live often contributes to their personalities. Different settings influence a character’s values or attitude. Continue Reading

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Teaching Character Traits with Graphic Organizers

Learn about character traits in literature. Check out several teaching ideas. Download this free activity for students.

Teaching character traits is a must. When students know what details to look for in characters in literature, they will better understand the text and will become better writers as well. This post provides student-friendly definitions. It also gives some teaching ideas with handouts to try out in the classroom.

Defining Characters

When writing a story, an author usually begins with physical descriptions of the characters. The author must then go a step further to describe the personality of each of the characters. The characters need to have both positive and negative qualities to make them seem realistic. Good authors do not simply list character traits. They show the personalities of the characters through actions. Continue Reading

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The Lemonade War

The Lemonade War

The Lemonade War features two protagonists in alternating chapters. The Treski siblings have been super close until this summer when a major event changes their lives. A letter arrives at soon-to-be 9-year-old Jessie and 10-year-old Evan’s house telling the brother and sister they are going to be in the same class in school next year. Jessie is skipping the third grade because of her advanced skills. While this is terrific news for Jessie, it is not so good news for her brother Evan. Evan struggles in school. He is super embarrassed that his little sister is going to ‘shine’ and cause everyone to think he is stupid. These balled-up emotions lead to war in the form of who can make the most money selling lemonade during the last few days of summer…

Jessie finds Evan with Scott getting ready to sell lemonade. She is upset that they don’t want her to help especially since Evan doesn’t even like Scott. [Plus setting up a lemonade stand is one of her favorite activities.] The boys tell Jessie she’s not allowed to help with the lemonade stand. Continue Reading

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How to Teach Perspective

Check out these ways to teach perspective in literature including free downloadable activities.

Although teachers often use the terms point of view and perspective interchangeably, there are differences.

The point of view focuses on who is the narrator of the story. Continue Reading

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Dear Mr Henshaw

Teaching Ideas to use with Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary

Dear Mr Henshaw uses a unique storytelling method. The entire book is a series of letters and diary entries. This means the main character tells his deepest emotions to the reader through a ‘personal means’ creating a close connection to the reader.

The book begins when Leigh is in 2nd grade. He writes a letter to his favorite author Mr. Henshaw for a class assignment. A new letter to Mr Henshaw follows each year until Leigh becomes a 6th grader. Leigh’s 6th-grade year is the focus of the majority of the novel. Continue Reading

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Story Mapping

Learn about story mapping. Check out several teaching ideas. Download this free activity for students.

Story mapping is a strategy that uses graphic organizers to help students break down the text of a novel or short story. These visual representations help students examine different components of the story. Creating a story map improves students’ comprehension because they can more easily visualize the framework of a story.

Common Core

Creating a story map helps students practice a large number of Common Core skills as well. Continue Reading

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