October 10, 2016
by Lily Jones

Lesson plan

Dissecting Stories: Analyzing Story Elements

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Students will be able to describe the elements of a story and use them when planning their writing.

(5 minutes)
  • Ask your students to tell you a story. Call on a volunteer and have them tell a story to the class.
(10 minutes)
  • After the student tells the story, have the other students turn to each other and retell the story.
  • Come back together to make a list of the important parts of the story. Label the parts of the story (introduction, problem, resolution/conclusion) on the board.
  • Tell your class that stories generally follow the same "plot roller coaster." There is setup at the beginning, followed by a rising action, problem climax, falling action, and resolution/conclusion.
(20 minutes)
  • Have another student tell a story aloud to the class.
  • This time, ask your class to visually represent the events in the story using paper and crayons/markers.
  • Instruct your students to label the parts of their representations to match the parts of the story.
  • Ask your students to share their representations with a partner and get feedback.
(25 minutes)
  • Tell your students that they will be using their knowledge of story elements to plan their own stories.
  • Ask the class to sketch out the general flow of their stories using the elements of the plot roller coaster.
  • Give students time to write their stories.


  • Challenge students to write clear rising actions and falling actions leading up to/following the climaxes of their story.
  • Ask students to analyze written stories using the plot roller coaster, then use what they learned about the structure of the stories to inspire their own writing.


  • For students who are struggling, focus only on problem and solution. Have them create stories around the idea that all stories have a problem and solution. Don't worry about the ideas of introductions and conclusions or rising/falling actions.
  • Encourage students to write their stories on Google Docs, where their peers can also leave them clear comments.
(5 minutes)
  • Notice how students' plot roller coasters match their stories. Are they representing each element of the roller coaster in their stories?
(5 minutes)
  • Have students read their stories to each other. After listening to a peer's story, ask each student to describe the overall structure of the story (introduction, problem, resolution, conclusion).

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