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Lesson 1: Introducing the Elements of Fiction

Lesson Details

Subject: English/Languages Arts
Learning Level: Middle School
Author(s): Bonnie Frazier & Brian Grisetti
Submitted by:


The focus of this lesson is the definition and identifcation of the elements of fiction, how the elements improve a story, and what would happen if an element is weak or underdeveloped.

Lesson fundamental understandings:
Essential Questions:

a. The elements of fiction are theme, character, setting, and plot.
b. A plot has a conflict which must be resolved.
c. Stories are enhanced through the use of dialogue or conversation.
d. The integration of the elements of fiction creates the framework for a story.
e. Story effectiveness is diminished when one or more of the elements are removed.


National Standards

Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiencees for a variety of purposes.

State Standards

3.6.1 Analyze the influence of setting on characters and on how the problem or conflict is resolved. 3.6.2 Make logical predictions about characterts action based on evidences of text. 5.6.3 Write narratives or short stories that include relevant and meaningful dialogue. 5.6.4 Write responses to literary selections that demonstrate an understanding of character motivation and development. 6.6.2 Organize ideas through activities such as categorizing and outlining.


Prerequisite Skills

Prior to the unit students have an understanding of the writing process, and have been introduced to the elements of fiction (i.e. story elements) and the proper use of Standard English. This lesson will reinforce the elements of fiction as they relate to the writing process.

Teacher Information/Situations/Setting/Time

Time Frame: 1 2 days (50 minute class periods)

Materials/Resources: Collection of Pacific Northwest Raven tales, found in plentitude on the Internet.

Pre-lesson preparation: Become familiar with the legends of the raven, as well as some characteristics of the Native Americans of the Northwest and the actual bird:
For additional resources, using a search engine, type in keywords Native American Raven

Two Trade Books that are excellent are:
Rainbow Crow retold by Nancy Van Laan & illustrated by Beatriz Vidal
Raven: A Trickster from the Pacific Northwest by Gerald McDermott


Student journals will be checked for completion of elements of fiction and tree maps.

Student Activity/Tasks

1. The students listen to a tale about ravens read by the teacher. (See Teacher Information for suggested sources).
2. The students will create a reenactment of a tale about ravens.
3. The students will discuss in small groups and list in their journals the various elements of fiction, including theme, characters, setting, plot (including introduction, conflict resolution, and conclusion), and dialogue.
4. As a whole class, the students will discuss the question, "How would eliminating one or more of the elements affect the story?"
5. After finishing the discussison, each student will create a Tree Map in their individual journals, branching each element of fiction and citing examples from the story.

Enrichment/Alternate Activity:

Students may rewrite the story, changing one or more elements, which may change the ending. Students tape-record their rewritten story. Students dramatize their rewritten story within a small group.


Reading & Science

Technology Requirements/Tools/Materials

Pencil, paper
Tree Map overhead
Variety of tales of the raven from the Pacific Northwest Native American tribes
   (collected by the author)


"Rainbow Crow" retold by Nancy Van Laan & illustrated by Beatriz Vidal
"Raven: A Trickster from the Pacific Northwest" by Gerald McDermott

Additional Resources

Main URL:

Related Lessons

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