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Lesson Plan

Unwinding A Circular Plot: Prediction Strategies in Reading and Writing

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Unwinding A Circular Plot: Prediction Strategies in Reading and Writing

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Overview

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

Circular stories follow a “round” pattern—they begin and end in the same way. Like the cycle of seasons or the life cycle, circular stories follow a predictable series of events that returns to the starting point. Building on students’ existing knowledge of plot structure and of cycles in other content areas, this lesson invites students to use a circle plot graphic organizer to explore the structure of this type of story. The cyclical nature of the stories is an excellent match for discussion of prediction and sequencing skills. After exploring the features of circular plot stories and reading a model story, such as Laura Joffe Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, students write their own stories individually or in small groups.

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FEATURED RESOURCES

Circular or Cyclical Books: This sheet provides a list of circular stories that can be used as models before students write their own circular plot stories.

Circle Plot Story Rubric: Teachers can use this rubric to evaluate the plot, creativity, sentence structure, and conventions of students' circular stories.

Interactive Circle Plot Diagram: Using this online tool, students can label and describe the plot events of a circular story. Finished work can be printed.

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

In Literary Discussion in the Elementary School, Joy Moss explains that "Since prediction is an important strategy used in the reading process, the teacher can demonstrate this strategy by stopping at significant points [in the story] and asking, What do you think will happen next? As children internalize this question, they develop an anticipatory attitude toward print, making predictions as they read or listen to a text in order to generate meaning as the story unfolds" (67).

Circular and cyclical plot stories are excellent resources for introducing student prediction strategies because of their repetitive nature. This repetition encourages students to predict events with more success. By introducing and supporting prediction strategies, teachers encourage students to "learn to construct a working interpretation of the story based on the clues they gather and to revise or refine this interpretation as they find new information in and generate new meaning from the unfolding text" (Moss, 67). Eventually, students "internalize these strategies and use them on their own to make sense of texts they listen to or read independently" (Moss, 68).

Further Reading

Moss, Joy. 2002. Literary Discussion in the Elementary School. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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Ray, Katie Wood. 1999. Wondrous Words: Writers and Writing in the Elementary Classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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