Writing the plot for their story of “Stone Cake,” was simplified for two reasons:
- We were learning about plot in our reading lessons
- Their story was based on the original story of Stone Soup
In our reading workshop, I introduced the idea of aPlot Mountain, but without the different elements of Introduction, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action and Resolution. Instead of giving them the order of events, I handed them the colored cards, and asked if they could figure it out. I modeled (with their input) where to place the Introduction card. I was glad to see some heated discussions emerge from this process, but ultimately they came up with the correct order (with only a hint of guidance).
Once they came to an agreement, we tested our Plot Mountain on Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (a favorite of our picture books), identifying the different stages as I read aloud. While I read, I showed the Magical Minds how to use sticky notes to mark the different plot stages.
Feeling confident that they had a good basic understanding of Plot Mountain, I sent the Magical Minds off with their own books. Their task: identify which stage of the plot was happening in their book. When we came back together, I was impressed that several of the kids had gone backwards to place sticky notes in the introduction and rising action. A few of the kids chose some picture books for their independent reading, which they were able to finish – labeling ALL the different stages of Plot Mountain. YES!!!
Thus, when we gathered around the computer to make our own Plot Mountain for Stone Cake, the Magical Minds were prepared. Certain aspects of the plot are easy to identify and describe, namely the introduction. But some significant and meaningful discussion arose while discussing rising action and the climax. I am grateful we were using Popplet to create a visual map of our events. This allowed us to move the bubbles around, shifting them around as our ideas/conversation shifted. This is our final result.