Saturday, April 4, 2009

Post #18 - Plot Points

This is a great, simple activity you can use to talk about plot. It's especially good when teaching a dense text such as Shakespeare. Obviously, you want students to dig deeper than just regurgitating plot points, but when you have something like Shakespeare, you want to make sure they at least get the foundation before moving on into more abstract discussions!

Plot Points
Objective: To understand plot development
Materials: Previously printed & cut plot points

Preparation: Choose 1-15 important events in your text and recall them in single sentences. Print them out and cut each sentence into a strip. Place events 1-15 in a zippy-bag or an envelope. Repeat until you have enough for as many groups as you may need.

1. Divide students into groups.
2. Give each group a set of plot events.
3. Inform them that each sentence recalls some aspect of the plot you are reading. They are to put these sentences in the correct order.
4. The group that finishes first wins! Have them read aloud the plot points in order so the other groups can correct theirs.

You can use this as review, a during-reading dissolution activity, or instigation for discussion.

For example, ask students: If you had never read this story before, what clues could you use to help you put these in order? Have them point out transition words, cause/effect phrases, etc.

Helpful hint: To enable you to check their sentences quickly, you could put a bullet in front of each sentence, but color each one differently. Then when you go around to check, you can just look for color-order. You could also number/letter each sentence...just make sure you don't number/letter them in order! You will also need to emphasize that the numbering/letter is for your checking purposes only. They should ignore it when putting sentences in order.

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