Story Themes

Brittany Zae

This lesson is designed to help students understand “describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.” -CCSS

Grade Level: 1 - 3rd

Subject: English/Language Arts

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

Common Core Alignment

CCSS: ELA-LITERACY.RL2.3 - Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

Objectives & Outcomes

Students will be able to analyze characters and interpret how they respond to an event by recounting stories and answering such questions as who, what, where, when, why and how to demonstrate key details in a text.

Materials Needed

  • The Only Club by Jane Naliboff
  • construction paper
  • glue
  • tape
  • markers


Opening to Lesson

Pre-Reading and making predictions: Look through the cover, illustrations, title, table of contents etc. Talk about the idea of a club and brainstorm ideas of clubs students are in, or know about or want to make. (CFU: Listen and write different types of clubs as students tell you. Continuously challenge and ask follow-up questions as you add to the board bubble map.)

Body of Lesson

Direct Teaching

Read The Only One Club aloud to the class. (CFU: Check for understanding after every idea or step, continuously ask to clarify vocabulary or repeat words throughout reading.)

Guided Practice 1

Teach descriptive qualities and character traits by writing traits about myself on the board. Ask students what I am doing and aid them to the answer of “describing myself” or “writing traits about me. Have students read the listed descriptions and decide as a class which ones make me ‘unique’ and eligible for ‘the only one club.’ (CFU: continuously aid students to the correct answers, while challenging them to think further and more in depth about each description I have written about myself.)

Guided Practice 2

Review the simple idea of uniqueness. “I’m the only one wearing heels… so that makes me unique! I am the only one who has lived in Czech Republic… so that also makes me unique!” Give students a small piece of paper, and have them create a sentence about themselves to describe their uniqueness. Then have students write one thing about themselves they feel is different from others in the class. Have the students crumple it up, stand in a large circle around the classroom and have student throw it to the center box I placed. (CFU: rotate around the class as I answer questions, help students brainstorm ideas, or assist in writing their sentence.)

Independent Practice

Have students go to the center of the classroom and choose a ‘snowball’ of crumpled paper.  Then have students work independently and create a badge for their classmates with what was written on their chosen ‘snowball.’


Choose students at random to present their badges, and either have students guess who it belongs to, or simple have students stand and accept their new badge when it is presented by their classmate.

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Assessment & Evaluation

Through guided questions, close monitoring and informal observation; the teacher will be able to assess student’s ability and understanding of the subject being introduced. Through individually assessing during independent practice and reviewing during guided practice the teacher will be able to evaluate students.

Modification & Differentiation

Students may work in groups or individually in order to complete their assignments. In order to accommodate for all students, allow extra time to review for lower students and extra worksheets to occupy the time of advanced students.

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