Basic Plot Structure – Overcoming the Monster

Booker's Overcoming the Monster

Christopher Booker’s book The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories outlines seven plots. One of these seven is ‘Overcoming the Monster.’ In this plot, the main character sets out to defeat the evil bad guy. This antagonist usually harms others that get in his way. This selfish character sometimes causes a threat to the hero’s homelandThe selfless hero rescues others such as a princess or destroys a terrifying beast.

Plot Description

Continue Reading

Permanent link to this article:

Novel Study Feedback

Novel Studies Feedback

I am continually looking for ways to improve my novel studies. Because I of this, I am searching for ten volunteers who would like to provide feedback on one of my novel studies in exchange for the free novel study unit plus a $10 TPT gift certificate.

Here’s What You Do

  1. Look through my novel units on TPT. This link will take you to ninety-five choices. Select any unit except the three free units I offer that you plan to teach in the upcoming school year.
  2. Fill out the form below that tells me your name, e-mail address, and first three novel choices. I will try to give everyone their first choice.
  3. As you teach the unit with your students, spend no more than five minutes at the end of each day and jot down notes that you think would help me to improve the unit. This may include the following:
  • typos/mistakes that need to be corrected
  • instructions that are unclear
  • questions students didn’t understand
  • things that went really well (This would be helpful to me when I create future units.)
  • basically any advise would be greatly appreciated

4. When you finish the unit, e-mail me the notes, and I will send you the $10 TPT gift certificate. Continue Reading

Permanent link to this article:

Basic Plot Patterns in Literature

Basic Plot Patterns in Literature

Several researchers have attempted to categorize basic plot patterns in literature. William Foster-Harris thinks stories can be sorted into three basic patterns. Ronald B. Tabias theorizes 20 Master Plots. Georges Polti writes about The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations. Kurt Vonnegut  argues that all stories can be outlined into one basic shape. Christopher Booker’s book The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories outlines seven plots. 

So just how many basic plots are there? Everyone has a different opinion. Continue Reading

Permanent link to this article:

Teaching Ideas to Promote Growth Mindset

Teaching Ideas to Promote Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck is a psychologist working at Stanford University. Over 30 years ago, she became interested in attitudes versus achievement of students. She studied the success in individuals and compared it to mindset. Her findings are extremely important in the area of education. Dweck divides people into two different groups: fixed and growth mindsets.

A Fixed Mindset

People with a fixed mindset assume everyone has a restrictive aptitude. They also have a specific personality and a certain moral character. Creative abilities and intelligence are static. People with a fixed mindset wonder. — “Will I look smart?” “Will I succeed?” Due to this, they avoid difficult tasks that might show limitations. A person with a fixed mindset avoids tasks that seem challenging. The thinking is if a person avoids difficult tasks, the person won’t make mistakes. People with a fixed mindset feel the need to prove themselves over and over again. Continue Reading

Permanent link to this article:

I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980 Teaching Ideas

Teaching Ideas and Book Unit Samples for I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980

Weeks go by. Mount St. Helens sends up puffs of steam. The police block the road leading up to the mountain. After about two months, Mount St. Helens has calmed down. The road block is removed. Mr. Rowan wants to go back to his fishing cabin to get his fishing pole that he left behind. Jess is excited that she now has a way to get her father’s camera before her mom finds out that she took it.

When Jess and the boys reach the shack, they find the camera intact. Jess packs the camera safely in her backpack. As they leave the shack, Jess smells sulfur. Because of Dr. Morales’s information, she knows Mount St. Helens is about to erupt. In just seconds, they hear a loud Kaboom! Continue Reading

Permanent link to this article:

Amal Unbound Teaching Ideas

Teaching Ideas for Amal Unbound

Aisha Saeed in her book Amal Unbound tells the fascinating story of a twelve year old girl who becomes a servant for the evil Jawad Sahid, the son of the Khan family.

After Amal’s mother had a fifth girl, she became depressed and wouldn’t get out of bed. Amal had to leave school to take care of the house and her younger sisters. One day when she needed a few minutes to herself, Amal went to the market. She was feeling glum about leaving school, so she bought a pomegranate as a special treat just for herself. When leaving the market, a car hit Amal. A man got out of the car and started yelling at her. He then wanted to take her pomegranate as a treat for his mother. Amal refused to give it to him and ran home. Continue Reading

Permanent link to this article:

Teaching the Greek Myth Arachne the Spinner

Free Mini Lesson for Arachne the Spinner

The Greek myth Arachne the Spinner is perfect for teaching a number of Common Core literature standards. Read the myth. Then enjoy the mini-lesson covering vocabulary, comprehension questions, and writing. Look for a link to the handout at the bottom of the post.


A young girl named Arachne learned how to weave from the nymphs who would leave their groves and fountains to come and watch her work. Arachne’s weavings were not only beautiful, but watching her twirl the spindle with a skillful touch was a rare treat. One day Arachne boasted, “Let the goddess Minerva try to weave as well as I do. If she beats me, I will pay the penalty.”
Continue Reading

Permanent link to this article: