Lesson Plan

Developing Narratives: The Best Story Ever

Learning the 5 Main Story Elements and How to Develop Narrative
Carol G.
Special education instructor
Holly Hills Elementary School
Denver, United States
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My Grades 3, 4, 5
My Subjects English Language Arts, English Language Learning

Students will be able to...

  • develop an understanding of narrative story elements
  • talk about and identify the five main story elements in any narrative
  • use the main 5 elements to build unique narratives
  • answer WH questions including How and Why questions (higher order thinking) through knowledge of the 5 elements
English Language Arts
Grades 3 – 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Attention Getter

Activity: Creating

Brainstorm about your favorite story or character using a circle map or graphic organizer.  

Student Instructions

Pick a story and/or a character you really like from a story, picture-book, comic or cartoon, fairy tale, novel, etc.  Brainstorm about what you like--is it the setting (Where?) or the character(s) (Who?) or the story itself (Plot, problem, solution?).  In a circle map, take 5 minutes to record your ideas.

Now turn and talk with a shoulder partner and share your thinking.

2 Direct Instruction

Free to try

Find the video on the five main story elements of narrative writing and share it with students.

Review key ideas and have them answer questions as appropriate.

Guide students in making a tree map or graphic organizer that they will use to guide their planning in the next step.

Student Instructions

Watch this music video from Flocabulary and learn about what makes a good story.  We'll talk afterwards, so be ready to ask and answer questions!

Now that we know the elements, let's each make a tree map so that we can guide our thinking for the next step. 

3 Guided Practice

Guide students through the task of finding images and information on the character they pick, including websites dedicated to the story/character.

They will collect their ideas on Explain Everything.

Student Instructions

Find images, information, and ideas about your story or character, anything related to the five story elements on these kid-friendly websites and search engines.  For example, you may look for websites about your character or story specifically (e.g., Cinderella, Wimpy Kid, etc.)  Collect the information you find on Explain Everything.  You may choose to record thinking, or draw pictures on EE as well.

Please make sure that you are addressing all 5 elements that we listed in our tree map.  Feel free to upload or draw in that elements tree map--it will help you later!

4 Independent Practice

Free, Free to try, Paid

Use Storyboard That to create a new story or retell a familiar story using the images collected on Explain Everything.

Grading is based both on the collection in Explain Everything and the Storyboard.

Student Instructions

Now that you have collected all of your information, we will use Storyboard That to create a new story, or retell an old one in your own way.  Use your Explain Everything page for images and ideas and to make sure all story elements are there.  Make it the best story ever!

Share your story with the class!

Grading is based both on the collection in Explain Everything and the Storyboard.