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Five Elements of a Story

"Five Things"

This song covers the five main elements of a story: setting, plot, characters,
conflict and theme. Whether youre studying a short story, a novel, an epic
poem, a play or a film, if you dont find these five elements, youre not
looking hard enough. With a catchy chorus thats hard to forget, this five
elements of a short story rap will get you or your students hooked.

Setting, that's like where it's going down,

Could be the train compartment, a castle or a town,
Could be the Arctic winter - like To Build a Fire,
The temperature's dropping, excitement is getting higher,
Setting sets the scene so the scene seems set,
Could be the Italian restaurant where we met,
Setting gives us the where and the when,
Could be modern day, the future, or way back when.

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,

Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting x2

Plot is the action, the quest for satisfaction,

What's going down, what's going to happen.
Four men at sea in an open boat,
Rowing and hoping that they can stay afloat. The plot:
They have to make it to the beach,
But the waves are big, and the shore seems out of reach,
Plot is a series of events... like Lemoney Snicket,
It could be crazy, wild or straight wicked.

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,

Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting x2
Knock knock, who's there? Oh, it's the characters,
The people in the story who carry out the action.
Characters can be pretty, tiny or clean,
Characters can be silly, whiney or mean,
Juliet is a character, and so is Romeo,
Pokemon has characters and so does Yu-gi-oh,
Characters could be dogs, lions, or hippos,
JK Rowling chose Harry Potter. "Why?" Who knows!

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,

Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting x2

Uh-uh! Put your snack back in your backpack we're not finished!
Something gone wrong! That's the conflict kids,
A struggle in the plot, now who's on top,
Could be a fight for money, like some robbers and cops,
Could be an internal conflict - a struggle inside,
Like I don't want to tell the truth but I don't ever want to lie,
Flick something in your eye, now you're conflicted,
What created drama? The conflict did.

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,

Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting x2

The theme of the story is the main idea,

The central belief or the topic that's in there,
It's usually something abstract like sacrifice,
Isolation or resurrection: we're back to life,
Like don't lie, don't practice libel,
The theme of To Build a Fire is survival,
Survival on your own like Fievel Moskowitz,
Flocabulary's something that you HAVE TO GET...

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,

Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting x2
About this Interactive
Introduction | Goals | How to Use This Site | Credits

Elements of a Story is an interactive Web site where students can learn about different literary
"ingredients" that make up a story. After watching and listening to an interactive version of
"Cinderella," students will learn about various elements that are common to all stories: setting,
characters, plot, exposition, conflict, climax, and resolution.

This site features an interactive explanation of each literary element, which is then followed by a
series of activities to enhance students' understanding. Students will be asked to put plot
developments into the correct order, select appropriate settings and characters, and sort events and

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According to the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), all students should have the
opportunities and resources to develop the language skills they need to pursue life's goals and to
participate fully as informed and productive members of society. In order to develop these skills,
students should engage in a variety of activities, including:

reading a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of
themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world. Among these texts are
fiction, nonfiction, historic, classic, and contemporary works.

applying a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.
Students will draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers,
their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and
their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure,
context, graphics).

using a variety of technological and informational resources (e.g., libraries, databases,

computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and
communicate knowledge.

Elements of a Story has been created with these standards and activities in mind. After completing
this interactive, students will be able to:

identify literary elements and plot components of a familiar folk tale;

describe the different literary elements of a story, including characters, setting, and sequence
of events;

define literary plot components, including exposition, conflict, climax, and resolution.

For grades 2-5, the Elements of a Story interactive will help teachers assess what the student needs
to understand in order to write a complete story, as well as assess the student's level of
comprehension when reading a story. The first step in understanding what is read is to understand
what plot is. Elements of a Story will teach students these literary elements and reach out to auditory
and visual learners as well.

To assess what the students have learned, students will write their own short story and then map
each part for the literary elements. Then they will be partnered with a classmate to peer review each
other's stories.

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How to Use This Site

Elements of a Story consists of eight sections and an assessment.

The first section is an interactive version of the classic folktale "Cinderella." Users can read along with
the text that appears onscreen beside the illustrations; the site also reads the story aloud. Mute
buttons are on each page of the site and can be used to turn the audio off. Unless the site is paused,
the narration will continue to run silently. If the mute buttons is unselected, the narration will have
advanced. The narration will remain mute in the following site sections, unless the mute button is
unselected. The story elements section is designed to allow users to navigate in chronological and
non-chronological fashion. The next and back buttons can be used to advance or return to previous
sections. However, if users click on the next button before finishing an interactive testing section, they
will advance without being given the correct answer for that section.

The next seven sections each focus on individual story elements: setting, characters, sequence of
events, exposition, conflict, climax, and resolution. In each section, a brief explanation of the element
is included, followed by an activity. Students will be asked to identify characters from the story, put
the pieces of the story into the correct order, identify passages from the text, and recognize elements
that apply only to "Cinderella."

At the end of the "Resolution" section is an assessment in which students can check their knowledge
by taking a quiz that relates to all the different elements of a story.

While the story used in this interactive is easy to understand and will not take long to discuss,
teachers may need extra time to discuss literary terms mentioned. . Any terms that students do not
understand can be looked up in the Glossary.

This interactive can be used as a basic lesson about literary elements. While watching the interactive,
students can also review a handout with all the literary elements listed. They can match parts of the
story to the correct literary element. Each time they think they have figured out an answer, they
should write it on the handout under the proper literary element.

Before using this interactive, teachers can teach what the literary elements are and ask students to
give examples, using different stories for clearer understanding.

Technical Requirements

1. Browser using Internet Explorer 5 (and higher) and Mozilla 5 (and higher)

2. Flash player 7 minimum requirement

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Production Credits
Elements of a Story is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York. Copyright 2007, Annenberg Media. All
rights reserved.

Content Production
Christopher W. Czajka, Writer
Christopher W. Czajka is the Associate Director of the LAB@Thirteen, which creates, supervises, and
executes community and educational outreach initiatives associated with Thirteen/WNET's national
broadcast and online productions. Czajka supervises the creative development of Thirteen's outreach
projects and creates workshops, online resources, and support materials associated with local and
national initiatives.

In addition to his outreach work, Czajka served as a historical consultant for Thirteen's smash hit
series Frontier House, and as the educational consultant for Broadway: The American Musical, Colonial
House, and Texas Ranch House. His work on the Web-based educational interactivities for Colonial
House was recognized by Entertainment Weekly's "Must List," a first-ever achievement for a PBS
production. Czajka also developed substantial Web-based resources associated with Slavery and the
Making of America, The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, and Extreme Oil, as well as online interactives for
productions such as African-American Lives, What's Up in Finance?, the upcoming Power of Art, and
the kid-friendly news and current events site, News Flash Five. Czajka has taught at the Idyllwild
School for Music and the Arts and at Arizona State University. He holds a B.S. in Performance Studies
from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. in Theater for Young Audiences from Arizona State

Lisa Weinberger, Copy Editor

Interactive and Broadband Unit

Anthony Chapman, Director of Interactive and Broadband
Christine McKenna, Producer
Shannon Palmer, Flash Programmer
Radik Shvarts, Designer and Flash Animator
Brian Santalone, HTML Implementation