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.
Why not start with something free! Here’s my free foldable fill-in-the-blanks bookmark, a convenient way for kids to keep track of story elements as they read a novel. You can download it now, or anytime from my TPT store, Classroom in the Middle.
The story element resources that I’ve created for Classroom in the Middle now include sets of task cards for each individuals story element – characterization, setting, plot, and theme. There is also a 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.