Identifying and understanding the plot (key events) of a story is not an easy task. Therefore, besides some worksheets for practice after your lesson, some plot task cards can help reinforce the skill. Teachers love task cards because they are flexible, reusable, and fun.
Before I pull out a small group, I always want to make sure the other students are on task. Then, the small group of kids easily get bored while waiting for me and start chatting…Now, with these task cards, I can tell them to work on the task cards first to warm up, so they won’t waste any time. The same for my early finishers.
In this post, I am going to share some task cards relating to the plot reading skill. I have created three types of plot task cards for differentiation purposes. I also used the story mountain graphic organizer to help students identify the plot of a story.
Plot Task Cards With Matching Questions
Instead of asking students to identify the key events in a story first, these task cards provide the key events of a short story and the elements in the story mountain graphic organizer.
All students need to do is matching each key event to the correct element in the story mountain graphic organizer.
For example, in plot task card #1, the five elements in the story mountain are on the left side, and the key events in a story are on the right side. So students need to read the events carefully and decide the place of each event in the story mountain.
They can match by either drawing lines (as shown in the picture), or they can write the numbers in front of each event on the recording sheet that I am going to address later.
Task Cards With Short Stories
Each of these task cards contains a short but complete story. That is, you can identify all five elements in the story mountain graphic organizer in each story.
The elements include introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
For example, in plot task card #16, we can identify the following:
- Introduction: Maggie went apple picking with her class during the day.
- Rising Action: When she got home, she took out two apples and showed them to her mom. Her mom asked if she could have one.
- Climax: Instead of replying to her mom, Maggie quickly took a bite of each apple, chewed, and swallowed.
- Falling Action: Her mom thought Maggie refused her, so she felt a little disappointed. However, Maggie then passed one apple to her and said that one was sweeter.
- Resolution: Mom felt very happy.
Task Cards With Pictures
Among all three types of task cards, this type is the most difficult one because now students need to “produce”. There are two ways to use these cards: 1. For speaking; 2. For writing.
For speaking, simply show your students a card, and ask them to brainstorm and come up with a short story relating to the picture on the card. Remind them that in their story, they should try to include as many elements in the story mountain graphic organizer as possible.
For writing, let the student pick one picture task card, brainstorm, and write a story about it. Same as speaking, ask the student to show the five elements in their story. Underline each element using different color pens is also a good idea to help them keep track.
Recording Sheets & Answer Keys
Recording sheets and answer keys are included in the end.
As mentioned above, for the matching cards, students can simply put a number in each box, so they can save time writing the events. This also makes the cards reusable and saves teachers time when checking. Teachers just need to refer to the answer key and circle the wrong numbers.
For the story cards, students need to write the key events in the boxes. For picture cards, students can do their work in a writing notebook or a piece of paper, so recording sheets are not provided.
If you choose to let students check their own answers, you can share the answer keys with them or their parents, so they can work independently.
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