Teaching students to write a good narrative is an ongoing process. Begin by teaching character traits, point of view/perspective, setting, theme, plot development, and so on. Students need a basic understanding of story elements before they begin writing. I have created a series of blog posts that cover these topics. Links to these posts are at the bottom of the page.
After students understand story elements, writing a good story can begin. This post is a general overview of ten things to remember when writing a narrative. You’ll find links scattered throughout this article that go to posts that zero in on specifics. Continue Reading
Teaching students to summarize text can be one of the most difficult skills you tackle during this school year. This post offers six summarizing strategies to try. It also contains some general rules for students to follow as well as stem questions to look for on tests.
Be sure to download the free printable resources to teach summarizing strategies. Continue Reading
Teaching students to find the theme of a book can be both fun and frustrating. Some students understand the concept immediately. For others, it can be a real challenge.
General Summarizing Rules
This anchor chart hangs in my classroom when I first introduce a lesson on finding the theme. The steps are really simple, but I often hear students quoting the 4 ideas for finding themes, so I know it is helpful. You’ll find these 4 ideas in the printable.Continue Reading
Save Me a Seat centers around two characters that are in the same 5th-grade class at Albert Einstein Elementary School in Hamilton, New Jersey. Ravi is “just off the boat” from Bangalore, India. His dad has been transferred. Joe is all American. He has APD (Auditory Processing Disorder) which causes him to not be able to filter out noises to concentrate on his school work. APD is also the reason Joe doesn’t have friends. The story is told in alternating chapters between these two characters.
The problems for both boys begin to escalate. Since Joe’s mother gets a job as a lunchroom monitor. She completely embarrasses Joe on the first day of school by blowing him a kiss across the lunchroom. Ravi tells his family that his teacher thinks he needs extra help because no one can understand his English.Continue Reading
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
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
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
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.
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