Four differentiated constructed response passages give kids the practice they need. After reading Just So Stories, students plan and write paragraphs that describe characters, settings, or events.
Each passage has been adapted for three reading levels: advanced, average, and low. Content differentiation allows you to reach all students in your class.
Created by master teacher Brenda Kovich, these activities are classroom tested and kid approved. They are also part of the Fourth Grade Literature Skills Bundle, which addresses all fourth grade literature standards.
- Notes to the Teacher – Three pages guide teachers through the metacognitive process students take to describe a character, setting or event: (1) Dissect the passage and determine which portions offer evidence. (2) Consider the evidence; look for patterns and relationships. (3) Make a generalization. Express it as a topic sentence. (4) Reevaluate the evidence. Write it in your own words. (5) Summarize or react in a conclusion.
- Guiding Questions – This one-page resource provides thought-provoking questions students can ask themselves as they prepare to describe.
- Response Checklist - A half-page checklist makes grading a snap!
- 6 Rubrics – Three different options (each available with or without CCSS RL.4.3 listed at the top) are provided. The first assesses everything: topic sentence, citing, evidence, conclusion, and clarity. The second does not assess the conclusion. The third does not assess citing.
- Generic Description Sheets – You can use these character, setting, and event description sheets for other stories throughout the year.
Stories & Response Sheets
- “How the Camel Got His Hump” (advanced, average, and low – 2 pages each) with 4 response sheets (2 character, 1 setting, 1 event)
- “The Beginning of the Armadillo” (advanced – 4 pages, average – 3 pages, and low – 3 pages) with 6 response sheets (4 character, 1 setting, 1 event)
- “The Elephant’s Child” (advanced – 7 pages, average – 6 pages, low – 3 pages for independent practice) with 5 response sheets (3 character, 1 setting, 1 event)
- “How the Leopard Got His Spots” (advanced, average, and low for assessment – 2 pages each) with 5 response sheets (3 character, 1 setting, 1 event)
- Six Ways to Cite – A mini poster shows different ways to cite the text.
- Transition Terms – A one-page list gives dozens of words showing similarities, differences, cause/effect, examples, sequence, and conclusion.
- Steps for Describing a Character, Setting, or Event – A second mini poster guides students through the process.
- Student Response Sheets – Each themed page lists the steps at the top, presents the prompt in the middle, and provides lines for writing at the bottom. Several character prompts, a setting prompt, and an event prompt are provided for each story.
Like each of my fourth grade literature skills units, this resource is available in three formats:
- PowerPoint – for teachers who want a clear introduction to the standard
- Practice (this resource) – for teachers whose students need extra work on the standard
- Unit – *best value* for teachers who want a complete learning cycle: direct instruction, guided practice, independent practice, and assessment (PowerPoint, practice, additional resources, companion website, and paperless Google option included)
You can choose the format that best fits your needs.
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Just So Stories, written by Rudyard Kipling and illustrated by Joseph M. Gleeson, was published by Doubleday Page and Company in 1912 and is now in the public domain.
- CCSS RL.4.3 – Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).
- Alaska Reading Standard for Literature Grade 4 – Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).
- Florida CPALMS LAFS.4.RL.1.3 – Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).
- Indiana Academic Standard 4.RL.2.3 – Describe a character, setting, or event in a story or play, drawing on specific details in the text, and how that impacts the plot.
- Nebraska English Language Arts Standard LA 4.1.6.c – Identify and describe elements of literary text (e.g., characters, setting, plot, point of view, theme).
- Oklahoma Academic Standards for English Language Arts 4.3.R.3 – Students will describe key literary elements (setting, plot, characters).
I’m committed to continual improvement. This product was updated and enhanced on June 26, 2017.