Lesson plan

Craft Stick Story Elements

This comprehensive overview of story elements will definitely leave students with a better understanding of author's purpose, character traits, sequence, and main idea. It features the acclaimed Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Learn Story Elements pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Learn Story Elements pre-lesson.

Students will be able to describe story elements found in a text orally with a small group and in writing.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that the lesson focus will be on certain story elements that will help them understand what happened in a story and why.
  • Read the story Leo the Late Bloomer
(15 minutes)
  • On the craft sticks write one story element: retell, author's purpose, character traits, sequence, or main idea. Make 4-5 sets of the sticks.
  • Author's purpose helps the students understand why the author wrote the story: to entertain, give information, or persuade us.
  • Character traits allow the students to understand and interpret characters' feelings.
  • Sequence helps us understand the order of what happened in the story.
  • Main idea explains what the story is all about.
  • Choose a stick from the bag and read it to the students.
  • On the chart paper, write something about Leo the Late Bloomer that's related to the term on the stick.
  • Let the students read what you have written.
  • Choose another stick and let the students help you write something for it.
  • Continue until all the sticks have been used.
(20 minutes)
  • Place the students in groups. Let them select captains for their groups. Review the rules for collaborative group conversations by creating a poster titled "Group Work."
    1. Listen to others carefully
    2. Speak one at a time
    3. Talk about the text or topic
  • Have students give a thumbs up if they can agree to follow these rules for group discussions.
  • Give each group a resealable bag that contains story element sticks and a tape recorder (with a cassette tape already enclosed).
  • Have the captains each choose a group member to pull a craft stick from the bag.
  • The member should read it to the group. Have groups discuss how the element relates to Leo the Late Bloomer.
  • When a group has a consensus, instead of writing the answer, they should record their answer on the cassette.
  • Have students continue until all the story element sticks have been used.
(15 minutes)
  • Let the students each choose a story element craft stick, read it, and return to their seats. Have them write in their journals the answer for the story element about the text.
  • Tell them to think about the answer from their group time and write it down. Remind them to stay on topic with their answer.


  • Advanced students can choose a story they have previously read. They can choose a craft stick with the story elements and work independently to write their answers for the sticks on lined paper. Have them choose at least 3 sticks.


  • Work with struggling students in small groups. Together, come up with suitable responses. Write them down and let the students copy them.
(10 minutes)
  • Let the students read what they wrote in their journals to a partner sitting next to their left elbow. Remind them of the rules for group conversations.
  • Tell students to stay on the topic of their story element and how they chose their answer.
  • Circulate and listen to their discussions. Offer suggestions where needed.
(5 minutes)
  • Review the key terms and relate them to Leo the Late Bloomer.

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