Playing with Setting: Literacy Foundations

While exploring different genres in the Reading Adventureland exhibit, students will analyze the importance of using detail to describe a story’s setting. They will then work in small groups to create stories comparing key literary elements: setting, character, and plot. Students will perform their stories amidst colorful exhibit backdrops and discuss their findings with their peers. Students will leave with new inspiration to continue writing back at school!

Lesson Eextensions for Before or After Your Visit

The following activities are designed for your class to enjoy before or after your museum visit.  Familiarizing students with the lesson concepts can enrich your museum experience.

Explore Settings

Explore the importance of setting with students by discussing the variety of settings that students encounter during a typical school week. For example: the library, karate class, a restaurant, at home, at a friend’s house, the store, or a relative’s house. Discuss how a person’s actions can be different in different settings; for example, imagine the difference between sitting on a couch at home and sitting on a couch at a new friend’s house.

Where-Am-I Charades

Play a game of where-am-I charades using a few classroom chairs. Set up the chairs to face the class. Have students take turns (working alone or in pairs) walking into an imaginary setting using action clues that tell others where they are. You may have to model a few examples for students to catch on. Provide a list of settings to choose from to let students plan ahead. For an added challenge, see if students can offer clues as to when the story takes place. Ask students to discuss which settings they like best and why.

Out of Context

Select images from magazines that represent a variety of settings. Then choose images of characters from a story that all students are familiar with (for example, characters from a favorite class story or a popular fairy tale). Have students make a collage using scissors, glue, photo-copied pictures of the selected characters, and a setting of their choice. Have students give their picture a title. Post collages in the classroom and share observations together of how a setting can change a story.

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