The Elements of Fiction: Creating a Story Map
Students will be able to explain the key elements of setting, characters, and plot of a fictional text through story mapping.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Gather students to the rug for the start of the lesson.
- Ask students if they know what fiction is and allow a few students to share out. Answers might include things like, "Fiction is about something pretend/imaginary/not realistic."
- Ask students what nonfiction is and allow a few students to share out. Answers might include things like, "Nonfiction is about something real, it is sometimes called informational text, you learn something from it," etc.
- Say, “Today we are going to learn how to understand the different elements of a fictional text through story mapping. We’ll learn how to identify the setting, characters, and plot and share what we know with a friend.”
- Ask students, “Why do you think we might want to identify the different elements of a text?” Answers might include, "To learn about the characters," "Tto keep track of what we read," "Tto help us pay attention to what we read," "To share a story with others."
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- Read The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas (or a similar grade appropriate fiction text) aloud.
- As you read, pause to think aloud. You can say something like, “It seems like this book has a few main characters, the three wolves and the pig. Hmm.”
- Continue to read, pausing to point out key elements within the text.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)
- Project the Mapping Out a Scene from a Book worksheet on the whiteboard/smartboard so that you can write on it and the class can easily read as you write.
- Fill in the beginning of the worksheet quickly (title of the book, author’s name) while telling the class what you are doing and showing them where you found the title/author information on the text.
- Under the section titled “Characters," ask the students who they think the main characters were and who the supporting or secondary characters were. Repeat with setting. Ask the students if they know what the word “plot” means. Have them pair-share with a partner and then share out. Say, “A plot is what happens within the story, and each part of the story works together to create the plot.”
- Next, ask the class to think about one of the main characters. Ask students what they think the character was feeling in the story. Call on 3-5 students to share out. Record.
- Ask the class if they would recommend the story to others and why and choose one or two answers to record.
- Explain that you just created a story map and that now students will get to practice creating their own story map using a fiction text of their choosing.
Independent Working Time (25 minutes)
- Show the students a variety of grade-appropriate texts.
- Project the Mapping Out a Scene from a Book worksheet that you filled out in the previous section and explain that now you will pass out a worksheet to each student and they will complete the worksheet independently after reading their text.
- For students who need more scaffolding to complete the Mapping Out a Scene from a Book worksheet, create a strategic student pair to work together or bring a small group to work with the teacher.
- For advanced students, after completing the Mapping Out a Scene from a Book worksheet, provide advanced students with additional time to read texts and create an additional story map using their own format.
Assessment (5 minutes)
Collect the Mapping Out a Scene from a Book worksheets and assess whether students were able to accurately identify and record each part of the story.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
After the independent work time has concluded, ask students to return to the rug and place their finished worksheets in front of them. Ask for a few volunteers to share out parts of their story maps with the class (for example, asking for a student to share one of their characters, the setting, etc.) Note what students did well. Highlight each part of the story map as students share to review with the whole class. Discuss student questions as needed. Close by saying, “A story map is a great tool to use when you want to better understand the different elements of a fictional text.”