Lesson plan

Actions and Reactions!

Help your students tweak their narrative writing while working on the reading skill of predictions! In this integrated reading and writing lesson, students will use narratives to generate predictions about characters’ reactions.
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  • Students will be able to identify characters’ actions that can be used to make a prediction.
  • Students will be able to predict characters’ reactions.
  • Students will be able to construct a narrative that includes characters’ actions and reactions.
  • Students will be able to work cooperatively with each other to construct a complete narrative.
(5 minutes)
  • Display a picture, photograph, or scene from a book that includes one or more characters.
  • Ask the students to make observations about the picture.
  • As needed, prompt the students with questions such as, “What is the character doing?”
  • Tell the students that they will be learning about predicting characters’ reactions using actions from the story.
  • Explain that a character’s reaction could include something the character says. It could also include a character’s body language (if needed, show examples of body language). A character’s reaction could also include another type of response or action.
(10 minutes)
  • Within the modeling section, you can either select your own text or use the sample text as follows, written on a piece of chart paper or displayed on the smartboard: “Jessica loved the sound of the piano and really wanted to take lessons. When she was six years old, her mom finally agreed to buy a keyboard and register her for lessons. At the first lesson, Mrs. Wilson told her the names of the keys and helped her play her first song. It was so difficult and Jessica was very discouraged! At the next lesson she almost burst into tears, but Mrs. Wilson encouraged her to keep trying. As she practiced, it got easier and easier. She was determined to learn how to play the piano, even though it was not as easy as she had thought!”
  • Model the process of finding evidence that could help you make predictions and write the second part of the story, including potential reactions of the characters in the story.
  • List these clues on a sticky note and think aloud as you post the details.
  • Model the process of writing your own ending, using the clues from the text. Demonstrate the process of elaborating and extending sentences, using the first part of the story as the foundation for the second part of the story. Demonstrate how to make predictions and complete the story, showing the reactions of the characters.
(15 minutes)
  • Tell the students that they will now practice creating their own story as a whole class.
  • Guide the students in writing the first half of a suspenseful story in a shared writing experience (One suggestion for this shared writing is to write half of a story about a boy who wanted to run a marathon, but faced challenges).
  • Invite students to make suggestions as you write the story with them.
  • Distribute one sticky note to each student. Challenge the students to consider how the character may respond at the end of the story. What will he say? How will he react? What will he do?
  • Ask the students to list clues from the shared writing that could help them predict the end of the story.
  • Invite students to participate in writing the end of the story as you add it to the first part of the story.
(20 minutes)
  • Pair students or assign them to a group so that all students have a partner or are in a group.
  • Give each student a piece of notebook paper and direct them to write half of a story, using lots of details that could help their partners make a prediction about the ending. Give students about 10 minutes to write.
  • After 10 minutes, direct the students to swap their papers within the group, either trading papers or passing papers clockwise to another person in the group.
  • Have the students read the new story and think about how the story could end, making a prediction and including a character’s reaction in the story.
  • Ask the students to underline clues in the story that will help them predict and write an ending.
  • Give the students about 10 minutes to write an ending to the story they have just received. Each story will be created by two different students. The first half will be created by one student and the ending will be created by another student.
  • Ask students to share their work with their small groups and get feedback from their peers. If a protocol for feedback has not been established, model the process of giving kind and constructive feedback prior to the independent work section.


  • Have students consider multiple characters and compose a story that focuses on the reactions of more than one character. Have students predict how multiple characters might respond.


  • If students have difficulty getting ideas for the narrative writing section of the lesson, provide a word bank of suggested settings or plots. (This could be written on a large piece of chart paper and posted at the front of the classroom.)
  • Have students use a digital camera to record or take pictures of students acting out parts of a story. Invite other students to predict what could happen next.
  • Have students swap their stories in a digital format rather than a paper format. Use the “comment” features on Google Docs for students to add on to stories and give each other feedback.
(10 minutes)
  • Using a leveled text or students’ writing from the independent work time, have the students complete the Actions and Reactions worksheet in which students respond about another way the character in their story might react.
(5 minutes)
  • Invite students to share their stories from the independent work time, including the collaborative writing.

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