Saturday, November 2, 2013

Mastering "The Plot Line" For Middle Grades

RL.6.3: Describe how a particular story's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

EQ: How to determine and label the plot line of a story?

Curiosity Killed The Cat: An idiom meaning that curiosity can get you into trouble. Unless, you are in Mrs. Farmer's class! Ha! I have realized curiosity is the surest way to keep my students' adolescent minds going for 100 minutes plus everyday. The trick is not to give it away all at once. 

So, on Monday, I'm handing each of my  6th grade students a different kiddie book/picture book as they walk into class. They will say, "What's this for Mrs. Farmer?" And I will say, "Don't worry about it just keep it on your desk. You'll find out."

We will start the day with silent novel reading time. After we've spoken briefly about their independent reading, I will show a book trailer of Out of The Dust to transition them into the class novel.


I will remind them of the geographical location of The Dust Bowl.

We will read from pages 14-34, and discuss the elements of the book so far, such as form and imagery. However, then my focus will turn to the meat of the lesson which will be standard RL.6.3: Describe how a particular story's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

We will discuss the setting, and how the author set up the story, and any initial conflicts. This will now tie into the picture books.

<I find that it is difficult to teach plot with a large novel. Kids get lost in it. So, the students will read the picture book, and fill in a plot line diagram, while also answering questions concerning the introduction, rising action, conflicts, climax, falling action, and resolution.>

Side note: I will probably model one for them first. I'm thinking The Three Little Pigs might be a good one.

Once they have finished with their book, filled in the plot line and answered the question, they can discuss their book with a partner, and even switch books and complete another plot line.

Link to worksheet:

My goal is that the students can feel accomplished in mastering this standard, so as we continue with the novel, Out of the Dust, they will remember this lesson.

Using the baby books is just a little bit unusual or silly, and sometimes that grabs their attention.

1 comment:

middlegradesteacher said...

This lesson went well overall. My low class has struggled with it the most, because some had trouble reading the books. Also, it takes a bit of critical thinking to outline a plot. My students had to determine the conflicts without prompting, so they had to wrestle with it for a little bit.

I ended up using the book, Dumbo, as an example. I worked along side my first class. I used it also as a model for my second class. It helped to have the example.

I think the most difficult task is knowing when the climax occurs, many of my students were having difficulty with that element.
I also realized that most do not know the difference between an antagonist and protagonist, so we will review that. We will also review conflict.
I do believe my students do know the parts of a plot line from this lesson: introduction, rising action/conflict, falling action, and resolution.