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The Story Elements

Subject Area: Language Arts

Grade Level(s): 8

Duration of Activity: The activity will last five days

Description of Activity:

The teacher will introduce the lesson using Microsoft PowerPoint to present the different story elements, how they are identified, and what they do. At this point, Handout 1: Story Elements will be presented to the students. The teacher will distribute and use Handout 2: Microsoft PowerPoint Instructions to introduce the students to the use of this presentation software and assist students in analyzing the short story "Thank You Mam" by Langston Hughes. In cooperative groups students will write and edit a short story using Handout 3: Story Map. Students then will develop Microsoft PowerPoint presentations of their stories showcasing the story elements.

Objectives: The students will

  • identify story elements and tell what they do.
  • create presentations using Microsoft PowerPoint or some other presentation software.
  • analyze the story "Thank You Mam" by Langston Hughes through the use of a story map.
  • use selected details to create plot, setting, and characters for short stories.
  • write short stories.
  • edit the short stories.
  • publish the short stories.


  • Copies of the short story "Thank You Mam" by Langston Hughes
  • Computers with Internet access
  • Computer software clip art or clip art downloaded from the World Wide Web
  • Handout 1: Story Elements
  • Handout 2: Story Map
  • Handout 3: Microsoft PowerPoint Instructions
  • Handout 4: Storyboard Form

Prerequisites (skills or background needed):

  • Some knowledge of accessing the World Wide Web


Teacher Component: The teacher will

  1. introduce the lesson through the use of a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation
  2. distribute Handout 1: Story Elements that includes definitions and examples.
  3. assign the short story "Thank You, Maam" by Langston Hughes for class reading and use as an example for analyzing the elements in a story.
  4. lead whole group discussion of this story.
  5. divide the class into cooperative groups of approximately four students each (depending on the size of the class).
  6. assign each group a specific short story to read and analyze .
  7. create a sample story map using a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation.
  8. pass out Handout 2: Story Map, to be used in analyzing the story "Thank You Mam," by Langston Hughes
  9. allow each group time to fill in the blank story map.
  10. distribute copies of Handout 3: Microsoft PowerPoint Instructions for the students to use when creating their presentations
  11. distribute multiple copies of Handout 4: Storyboard Form for students to use in planning their presentations
  12. allow enough time to write their stories in Microsoft Word and complete Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.
  13. assist students in completing the assigned activities.

Student Activities: The student will:

  1. read the short story, "Thank You Mam," and go through the story elements with the teacher using Handout 1: Story Elements
  2. analyze the story using Handout 2: Story Map.
  3. review the Handout 3: Microsoft PowerPoint instructions with the teacher in preparation for creating their group presentations
  4. working in cooperative groups, create rough drafts of their presentations on the assigned stories using Handout 4: Storyboard Form
  5. use the rough draft forms to create Microsoft PowerPoint presentations about assigned stories on computers.
  6. as a follow-up activity, each group will create a short story using Microsoft Word or some other word-processing software.
  7. illustrate the short story using the softwares clip art gallery or clip art files downloaded from World Wide Web.


  • Students with limited computer skills will be grouped with others who are more familiar with the operations of the computer.
  • Provide peer assistance within their groups for independent activities such as editing the short stories.

Extension Activities:

  • Using the character of Mrs. Jones and the boy in the story, "Thank You Mam", students will use a spreadsheet to create a chart for comparing and contrasting these characters.
  • The students will compare the character of Mrs. Jones to a person that they admire.
  • Publish a bound copy of student short stories and distribute to classmates, teachers, administrators, and a copy to the Library.
  • The students could create Microsoft PowerPoint presentations of book reports.


  • Language Arts
  • Technology


  1. Story Elements Quiz

  2. http://palc.sd40.bc.ca/palc/Quiz/characterc.htm

  3. Teacher Observation


Curriculum Frameworks


Eighth Grade

  1. Participate cooperatively while engaging in small group activities to analyze and interpret information, to make decisions, to solve problems, and to produce a given product. (R, W, S, L, V)
    1. Work collaboratively to complete a product.

National Educational Technology Standards (NETS):

  1. Apply productivity/multimedia tools and peripherals to support personal productivity, group collaboration, and learning through the curriculum. (3, 6)
  2. Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems. (5, 6).


01 Oral Comprehension (Level 10,11)
Demonstrate both literal and interpretive understanding of passages that are read aloud.

Use writing or other means to respond to literal and interpretive questions about passages that are read aloud.

02 Basic Understanding (Level 10-21/22)
Demonstrate understanding of the literal meaning of a passage through identifying stated information, indicating sequence of events, and defining grade-level vocabulary.

Write responses to questions requiring literal information from passages and documents.

08 Writing Strategies (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate knowledge of information sources, outlines, and other pre-writing techniques.

Demonstrate an understanding of the use of topic sentences, concluding sentences, connective and transitional words and phrases, supporting statements, sequencing ideas, and relevant information in writing expository prose.

09 Editing Skills (Level 11-21/22)
Identify the appropriate use of capitalization, punctuation, nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in existing text.

Demonstrate knowledge of writing conventions and sentence structure through identifying and connecting errors in existing text and in text written by the student.

Link and Feedback to Author(s):

Lela D. Johnson, South Delta Middle School, Anguilla, MS

Handout 1:
Story Elements
Word Acrobat
Handout 2:
Story Map
Word Acrobat
Handout 3:
Microsoft PowerPoint Instructions
Handout 4:
Storyboard Form
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