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Tell Me More: Characters, Settings, and Events
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Students will be able to select and describe characters, settings, and events in detail, using specific examples.
- Gather the students together.
- Write "character," "setting," and "events" on the board.
- Talk through each, asking students to explain what they are and why they are important for reading.
- Remind your students that a character is an actor, such as a person or animal in a story. Tell your students that a setting is where and when the story happens, and an event is something that happens in the story.
- Provide and post student-friendly definitions in English and L1 of the following words: "character," "setting," and "event." Include images when applicable.
- Show students pictorial or real examples of characters, settings, and events in familiar stories.
- Allow students to Think-Pair-Share with a partner before contributing to the whole-class discussion.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(20 minutes)
- Tell your students that the focus of today's lesson is on choosing one character, one setting, and one event to describe in detail from the stories they are reading.
- Read aloud a book of your choice, preferably one with a strong character, setting, and event to pull out.
- Once you are finished reading, show the three anchor charts from the worksheets.
- Model completing each one, sharing your thinking aloud.
- Choose a story with a manageable linguistic load for Beginner ELs, such as a simple and familiar fairy tale (e.g., "The Three Little Pigs" or "Little Red Riding Hood").
- Choose a text you can mark up while modeling how to complete the table. Highlight parts of the text that contribute to your understanding of character, setting, and events.
Guided Practice(25 minutes)
- Have students work in groups or pairs to read the short story "Jack and the Beanstalk" together and verbally fill in the Describing Characters, Settings, and Events worksheet together.
- Have students share out their work with other groups or pairs.
- Explain the meaning of any unknown words in "Jack and the Beanstalk" in English and L1 if applicable.
- Provide sentence frames for ELs to use as they verbally fill out the worksheet, such as: "The character, ____, makes me feel ____ because ____. This setting is important to the story because ____. It reminds me of ____. When ____ (the event) happened, it made me think of ____. It is an important part of the story because ____."
- Allow ELs to complete a partially filled out Describing Characters, Settings, and Events worksheet. For example, choose the character most conducive to analyzing and fill out the first two sections of the chart.
Independent working time(25 minutes)
- Pass out the Describing Characters, Settings, and Events charts.
- Instruct your students to use the books that they are reading.
- As students work, provide support as needed.
- Read aloud the chosen story to a small group of ELs and guide them through identifying characters, setting, and events.
- Allow ELs to complete the Describing Characters, Settings, and Events worksheet with a partner, orally discussing the details in each section before writing.
- Instruct your students to choose a scene from the story to illustrate. In this drawing, have them circle the items that depict the setting and character.
- Have your students come up with their own stories, and instruct them to exchange these stories with partners. Direct the partners to identify the major characters, settings, and events from the story.
- Write the paragraph frame on the board and have students complete it on a half sheet of scratch paper:
- "Characters are ____. Settings are ____. Events are ____. I know how to describe characters, settings, and events by ____. It is important to be able to describe these story elements because ____."
- Provide a partially completed paragraph frame for students to complete in a small teacher-led group.
- Pair ELs strategically and have them discuss the paragraph frame together before writing it on their own.
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Ask your students to share why they think it is important to think about characters, settings, and events. Make sure they understand that it helps improve their overall comprehension.
- Invite student volunteers to read one section of their completed worksheet (choose character, setting, or event) aloud to the whole class.
- Allow students to share their work in L1 with other ELs who speak the same home language.
- Give ELs a chance to share one section of their worksheet with a supportive non-EL partner first before sharing with the larger group.