Lesson 4: Using Plot Elements to Retell a Story
The House on Mango Street | 870L
- Learning Goal
- Retell a short story’s plot using the language of the plot elements.
- Approximately 2 Days (40-45 minutes for each class)
- Necessary Materials
- Provided: Plot Puzzle Cut-Outs, Example Plot Chart for “Louie, His Cousin, and his Other Cousin”, Retelling Example for “Louie, His Cousin and His Other Cousin”, Example Plot Chart for “The Monkey Garden”, Retelling Plot Chart (Student Packet, page 20)
Not Provided: Scissors, chart paper, markers, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Before the Lesson
Read and complete the Student Packet Worksheets for “Bums in the Attic” — “Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes.”
Activation & Motivation
To start the lesson, mix up the puzzle piece cut-outs and put them face-down on a desk. Ask the students to name some of the elements they remember, though they need not be in order. Explain that the pieces of the puzzle can be put back together to correctly show the elements of a plot. Tell students that they will work together to reassemble a plot organizer on the board using the plot puzzle pieces.
Ask for the first student volunteer to choose a piece of the plot puzzle and have the student place the piece of the puzzle in its correct spot on a Plot Graphic Organizer. (If students are putting their puzzle pieces on a blackboard, they may tape the piece to the board. If you prefer to use a bulletin board, remember to gather pushpins so students can reassemble their puzzle pieces.) Continue asking for student volunteers to pick a puzzle piece and correctly place it on the Plot Graphic Organizer until the plot puzzle is complete.
will explain that we reassembled a plot organizer using the puzzle pieces to refresh our memories about the elements of a plot. A good writer or narrator uses plot elements to tell a complete story, and a good reader will use these elements to retell the story to others. While a good retelling relays a story in sequence, it should do more than just list events (“and then this happened, and then that happened, etc.”). A good retelling will include an introduction to the story with details about how the story starts, identifying the problem, a description of how the action rises, what happens at the climax, how the action falls, and how the conflict is resolved.
I will retell a story from The House on Mango Street—“Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin.” To retell this story, I will fill in the plot elements on a Plot Chart for “Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin.” Then, I will use the plot chart to retell the story, using details from the book to describe what happened at each stage on the plot chart. See the Example Plot Chart for “Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin” for suggested answers.
I will retell “Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin.” I will explain that to do so, I must first identify the plot problem. By reading the story and understanding that the driver made the kids get out of the car as he sped out of the alley, I figured out that the car was stolen. This is the problem that I will write in the Problem box on my chart.
I will continue to identify plot elements in the story. The rising action in this story leads to the problem. I will look for events leading to the problem, for example Esperanza and her friends see a yellow Cadillac as they were playing volleyball in a nearby alley. I will write this in the first Rising Action box on my plot chart. Another event that can be included in the rising action is when Louie, Esperanza, and other children in the neighborhood got into the car for a ride. I will write this in the second Rising Action box on my plot chart.
The climax of the story is the part of the story when the reader figures out how the problem is solved. The climax in this story is when Louie’s cousin speeds down the alley, tries to make a left turn, and smashes into the lamppost. That is when readers figure out that Louie’s cousin will be caught. I will write this in the Climax box on my plot chart.
I will think about what happens after the climax, or what the falling action is. I will record two events that make up the falling action. After the car crashed, Marin screams and runs towards the car. Another detail for falling action is that Louie’s cousin has a bloody lip and a bruised forehead. I will write these details in the Falling Action boxes on my plot chart.
Next, I will identify the resolution. By reading through the end of the story, I learn that Louie’s cousin was arrested. I will write this detail in the Resolution box on my plot chart.
Finally, I will use the information on my plot chart to retell “Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin.” I will use my Plot Chart to write a retelling of the story, with additional detail from the text. When I have retold this story, the person I have retold it to should have a good understanding of the story. Note: You may use the Retelling Example for “Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin” as reference.
Ask: "How can I retell a short story using plot elements?" Students should answer that they can retell a short story by identifying its plot elements, such as rising action, problem, climax, falling action, and resolution. Then, they should write or tell the story using each element of the plot, and filling in the story with additional details from the text. They may retell a story orally or in a written format.
will work together to retell “The Monkey Garden.” We will identify the plot elements of “The Monkey Garden” together, recording them on chart paper. Note: Example answers can be found on the Example Plot Chart for “The Monkey Garden.”
When we have finished filling in our plot chart for “The Monkey Garden,” we will divide the class into five groups (or pairs), and each group will be assigned one part of the story to retell from our chart. We will begin retelling “The Monkey Garden” from the rising action to the resolution. Students should include additional details when retelling their assigned part of the plot. This will add to the richness of the retelling.
will work in small groups to retell “The Three Sisters.” Note: You may want to allow students choose different stories from the last section of the book to vary the oral retelling during class time. You will recall details from the story about the rising action, the problem, the climax, the falling action, and the resolution. You will record the details in the appropriate boxes of your Retelling Plot Chart. (See page 20 in the Student Packet.)
You will divide each part of your Retelling Plot Chart among your group. Each group member will be responsible for retelling their part of the story.You will present your retelling to the class. You may choose to present your retelling in an oral format, like we did for “The Monkey Garden,” or you may choose to create a play or skit that shows the various parts of “The Three Sisters.”
will read or present to the class. We will notice any differences between the retellings. Do the retellings vary from student to student? Which details did some groups include? Leave out? Why? Why might a retelling vary?
|Tier 2 Word: tame|
|Contextualize the word as it is used in the story||Esperanza states, “My mother says when I get older my dusty hair will settle and my blouse will learn to stay clean, but I have decided not to grow up tame like the others who lay their necks on the threshold waiting for the ball and chain.”|
|Explain the meaning student-friendly definition)||Tame means gentle, calm, and obedient. When Esperanza says that she decided not to grow up tame, she means that she does not want to be gentle, calm, and obedient.|
|Students repeat the word||Say the word tame with me: tame.|
|Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts||The baby was tame compared to her wild teenager. The dog was not tame. It tore up the new couch.|
|Students provide examples||Are you a tame person? Why or why not? Start by saying, “I am (not) a tame person because ____________________.”|
|Students repeat the word again.||What word are we talking about? tame|
|Additional Vocabulary Words||grumble, porcelain, sour, bazaar, trudge|
Texts & Materials
(To see all of the ReadWorks lessons aligned to your standards, click here.)