Thursday, October 2, 2014

a harvest of freebies blog hop: plot problems

Hello and welcome to BigTime Literacy! I'm Michelle and I'm so excited be be working alongside some amazing Reading Specialists and Literacy Coaches for this fall-themed blog hop!

So teaching plot is something we all do - I taught it in middle school and now, as a Literacy Coach, I see teachers across the elementary school teaching it in various forms: Beginning, Middle, and End in the younger grades, and then with the same plot line I used in middle school in the intermediate grades!

When I first started teaching, I ran into a few roadblocks with the plot structure. First, the rising action. Kids wanted to list *ALL* events of the story on the rising action. I didn't know how to stop this! I knew there had to be a better way....and then I find, there is!

Another problem was determining the climax. When I began teaching, I always would say that the climax was the "most exciting part" of the story. Well - one kid's most exciting part does not always equal another's. I knew there had to be an answer to this  burning plot predicament, and when I came across this book, I had found it!

Grand Conversations (Peterson & Eeds) is a great book about authentic book clubs that work with fiction texts, including great tips for teaching plot (that I'm about to share with you here!) I highly recommend this book if you are interested in book clubs!

Here are two quick tips for teaching plot with your kiddos - young or older!

Rising Action: Points of Tension
When you think of the rising action and what should be put on that list and what should be left off, think about tension. Any event that causes the conflict to become more intense, that's tension, and that should be added to the rising action. If the event causes tension, add it to your plot diagram. If the event doesn't cause tension, leave it off.

Climax: The Turning Point
Telling kids that the climax is the most exciting part of the story simply does not work. Instead, teach it as the turning point, or the part of the story when the conflict is no longer a conflict. It's the moment in the story that makes the conflict cease to exist. It might be a line of dialog or a characters inner monologue. It might be a fight or a handshake. Whatever it is, if it turns the conflict, it's the climax.

Maybe I was just late to the game, but these two pointers really helped me focus my instruction on the plot structure for fiction text. Hopefully they are new to some of you out there as well!

Before I get to my freebie, I also wanted to share a great read aloud for kids young and old: The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey:

This book, written by the same author as the Captain Underpants series, is a cute story about a little wiener dog named Oscar who doesn't want to hurt his mom's feelings when she wants him to dress up as a hot dog for Halloween. Filled with tons of plays on words (a wiener dog named Oscar, anyone?) and super cute drawings, this book will make you laugh and also share a great message.

I've read this book to kinders and to 7th graders and they all love it. The older kids can easily do a plot structure on this book, and, with the two tips I shared with you today, it will be a breeze!

Download my freebie - a spiffy-clean plot diagram - to use with this text or any of your choice!

Aaaannnnndddd.... if you like what you've read here, be sure to follow me on Bloglovin!

Now it's time to head on over to Comprehension Connection to hear about another great freebie from my friend, Carla!

In the rush to get everything done in your classroom this month, don't forget to slow down and enjoy all the splendor of the season:  the leaves changing colors, the crisp air, and an abundance of Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Happy fall!


  1. You're an amazing literacy coach and person, Michelle. Kudos to you on your post and thanks for the freebie! ;)
    Literacy Loving Gals

  2. So simple but so effective - the best combination - thank you so much for this really useful and informative resource :-)
    Special Teaching at Pempi's Palace

  3. I will have to check out the Grand Conversations book! Thanks.
    The Meek Moose

  4. I definitely need to check this book out! Thanks for the great post. I LOVE Halloweiner!

  5. I love that book Halloweiner! I haven't read it out loud yet but someone my kids have gotten their hands on it and are loving it!
    Reading and Writing Redhead

  6. Excellent discussion , I am thankful for the details ! Does anyone know where my business could grab a template Scholastic Plot Diagram form to fill in ?

  7. I am big fan of such lovely little things that smell so good. I have numerous aromatic candles at home! It helps me to relax after my working days Instant Assignment Help


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...