Planning to teach story elements gets trickier as kids move into upper elementary and middle grades. As much as they still need to fully understand the elements that make up the stories they love, many have still just scratched the surface when it comes to fiction-reading skills. They may remember what characters, setting, and plot are, but as language arts or reading teachers, we know that’s just the beginning! The kids, or course, may just see it as they’ve been there and done that. Finished.
So planning fresh new lessons with the in-depth content they are starting to need plus something to catch their interest in a seen-before topic can definitely be a planning challenge. Since story elements is such a big topic in language arts class, it’s a great one to plan ahead of time. Having ideas ready in advance for NEW characterization or theme lessons can be a big boost when the time comes for teaching them. Having a stash of new, ready-to-use materials is a big help too.
When selecting new materials for middle grades story elements, look for those that build on what the kids already know. A little review is good, but to get kids really interested in the content, SOMETHING NEW is needed. Maybe its just new stories, or maybe it’s new and more detailed content about the story element, or maybe it’s new activities.
To start with just for a bit of a new look, here’s a set of free story element posters that you can download now! In addition to the one about all story elements, there is a separate poster about each element – characterization, setting, plot,conflict, and theme.
The story element resources that I’ve created for Classroom in the Middle now include sets of task cards for each individuals story element as well as the the set of activity sheets and graphic organizers for any novel. This set includes an introductory slide presentation and and has been a steady seller in my store for some time now.
There are links to the bundles below, but here you can see a few sample cards from the plot and theme task card sets.
Here’s a look at the activity sheets or graphic organizers.