Author:
STEPHANIE HUTCHINSON
Subject:
Theater, English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
Middle School
Grade:
6, 7, 8
Tags:
  • Book Talk Aristotle Plot Point Rehearsal Performance
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Language:
    English

    Education Standards

    BookTalking with Aristotle's Plot Points

    BookTalking with Aristotle's Plot Points

    Overview

    This series of interactions and assignments covers reading, documentation, writing, evaluations, and performance.  It introduces students to Aristotle's Plot Points and helps them find those points in books they are reading.  At first this is a small part of a weekly lesson plan, then whole lesson time is devoted to writing, and, finally, students will rehearse and perform their BookTalk.

    BookTalking from choosing a book to performing the BookTalk.

    BookTalking

    This series of interactions and assignments covers reading, documentation, writing, and performance.  At first this is a small part of a weekly lesson plan, then whole lesson time is devoted to reading, and, finally, students will rehearse and perform their BookTalk.

    1. Students choose a book.  There can be a range of limitations put on the choice: over 100 pages (or some other number), only fiction, only non-fiction, only from one genre or covering one historical period, … the list of possibilities is endless.
    2. The teacher approves the book.
    3. The student and teacher agree on reading goals for each week: over 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 9 weeks, or whatever fits the class time frame.  In classroom reading time is valuable in keeping students on track to complete goals.
    4. Each week a small group of students meet with the teacher to report on their progress and get grades or incentives for meeting their reading goal for the week.  In addition, at the end of week 1, the students are introduced to Aristotle’s plot points (below).  Each student is asked what they have learned in the first section of the book that could fit under the title “exposition.”

             Aristotle’s Plot Points

    Exposition: Also called the Beginning – where the background information is given to help the audience understand the story. This sometimes continues into the story.

    Inciting Incident Big incident that gets the plot going (without it, there wouldn’t be any story) and sets up the rest of the story. It often happens at the end of the exposition.

    Rising Action The basic conflict of the story is complicated as related secondary conflicts (and obstacles that get in the main character’s way) are introduced.

    Crisis The point in the story when the audience cannot tell if the main character is going to win or not.

    Climax Also called the Turning Point – the moment that marks a change (for better or for worse) in the story when we figure out who is going to win and who is going to lose.

    Dénouement Also called the Resolution – the end of the story where all the loose ends are tied up, any questions the audience had are answered; includes all the action that happens after the climax.

    (Text from BYU Theatre Education Database (TEDb), Plot Structure Lesson; http://tedb.byu.edu/?page_id=2080.  [Email permission to use, 30 Dec 2019]).

     

    1. Each week that the group meets, a different topic is covered.  Inciting Incident, Crisis, and Climax must be covered to help the students with the written assignment later in the process.  Setting, tone, character descriptions, and so forth can also be covered if there are enough weeks or time for them.  By the time the students begin their “Written BookTalk,” they should have discussed all the items they will need to write about under number 8 on the assignment.
    2. When the book is complete, students are given the “Written BookTalk” assignment.
    3. After the “Written BookTalk” assignment is complete and graded (and maybe fixed), the students prepare for their BookTalk Rehearsal.  They will present in front of the class.  They are to do it without notes if possible.  They should know their book very well by this time and many of the items on the written form are their own opinions, which the students also know.  They need to hold their book up while they deliver the talk, so they can check it for title, author, page numbers, etc.  They can bookmark the page they are planning to read.  The only items they may need to memorize are the Lexile and the genre. 
    4. Introduce the rubric for the Rehearsal and Final Performance. Notice that everything on the Written BookTalk is listed except the citation.  After those items, items that relate to performances are listed as part of the assignment:
     

    Teacher's Grading Sheet

    Points
    Reh

    Points
    Final

    Student Evaluation Points

     

     

     

     

     

    Item

    Required Information                                     Points for Trying:

    4

    15

     

    1-3

    Stu Name (1/2); Title (1/2); Author (1/2)

    3

    6

    3

    4-7

    Number of Pages (1/2); Lexile (1/2); Genre (1/2)

    3

    6

    3

    8

    Tell the Story - Interesting?

    5

    9

    7

    8.1

    Inciting Incident

    2

    3

    5

    8.2

    Crisis

    2

    3

    5

    8.3

    Climax

    2

    3

    5

    9

    Why did you pick the book?

    2

    3

    5

    10

    What did you think of the artwork?

    2

    3

    3

    11

    Who else would like this book?

    2

    3

    5

    12

    What did you learn from this book?

    2

    3

    5

    13

    Read a short passage; Give the page # (-1 word pronunciation problems - ask before the rehearsal for help!).

    2

    3

    6

    14

    Give the book Stars & Explain - 5 for great & 1 for poor.

    2

    3

    5

    15

    Elocution (speaking the words so you can be understood)

    2

    5

    5

    16

    Body Language (Does it help? Does it distract?)

    2

    5

    5

    17

    Volume

    2

    5

    5

    18

    Speed

    2

    5

    5

    19

    No notecards

    2

    3

    5

    20

    Look up?

    2

    3

    5

    21

    Have the book; Show the book.

    2

    3

    3

    22

    Convince listeners to read the book?

    3

    8

    10

     

    Total Points Possible

    50

    100

    100

     

    Notice that the teacher only gives 50 points for the rehearsal. 

    1. Introduce the Student Evaluations of the BookTalk:  Each student fills out a separate sheet on which he/she evaluates the other students and themselves.  This is to help them discuss the performance after the rehearsals.
    2. After introducing the evaluation rubrics, give the students time to prepare for the rehearsal.
    3. In some classrooms, it will be helpful to list the items 1-14 (leaving out 5) in large print on a board that is behind the audience.  These cues will insure that even the most timid students have a chance at success in performance.
    4. After every student has done their rehearsal, the group meets to discuss what they have seen.  First everyone at the table, teacher included, tells what went well in the rehearsal.  Then everyone is invited to suggest one way to improve the performance for the “Final Performance.”  Students are no allowed to put each other down.  If they think something needs fixing, they must be ready to offer a suggestion for improvement or they should remain silent.  At the end of the discussion, the teacher collects the student evaluations.  They can be graded for fairness and reality or they can be put in the recycling.
    5. Give the students time between the conference and the “Final Performance” to work on making improvements. 
    6. Only the teacher evaluates the “Final Performance.”

    Written BookTalk:

    Directions, Example, & Grading

     

    • Read your chosen book all the way from the beginning to the end.
    • You will need your book with you for this part of the assignment.
    • This assignment is in Schoology.  You will start your work on the Google Doc template (shown on the 4th page of this document).
    • You need to provide the information requested about your book.
    • Fill in all the items listed.
    • REMEMBER:  Only the template items should be bold.
    • Everything you type should be in normal type.  You must use Cambria or Times New Roman font, size 12 in black.

    Specific Directions:  Always LEAVE the template information in place.

    1. Key in your name.
    2. Key in the title.
    3. Key in the name of the author.
    4. Type in the number of pages in your book.
    5. Citation:
      1. Go to NCWiseOwl.org
      2. Select “Middle” for Middle School Resources.
      3. Scroll to the bottom of the page.
      4. In the center column you will see “Citations.”
      5. Select “Book” from the right-hand menu and fill in the information requested in the template.
      6. Then, after you have clicked “create the citation” at the bottom of the template, copy and paste the citation onto your BookTalk document.
    6. Lexile:
      1. Go to fab.lexile.com/search/search
      2. The top of the screen in the right hand corner, look up your title in the "Quick Book Search" box.
      3. The Lexile will show in the center part of the webpage.
    7. Genres for Books in our Library Media Center:
      1. If your book has a genre sticker on the spine, you must use that.
      2. If your book does NOT have a genre sticker on the spine, select the genre that fits the book.      
    AdventureHolocaustScary
    AnimalHumorScience Fiction
    Classic LiteratureInspirational FictionShort Story Collection
    FantasyMysterySports
    FolkloreRealistic FictionWar Fiction
    Family LifeRomanceWestern Fiction
    Historical Fiction  

     

    1. Tell the story: You must include the “Inciting Incident,” the “Crisis,” & the “Climax” from Aristotle’s Plot Points.
      • The “Inciting Incident” is the event that starts the story moving; without it, the lives of all the characters would just be normal/boring.
      • The “Crisis” is the moment in the story when the ready is not sure how the story will go:  Will the hero win or lose?  Will the girl get asked to the dance or not; with the child get rescued or not?  Etc. …
      • The “Climax” is when the reader knows the direction the story is going to take.  In “Cinderella” it is when the shoe fits the girl.
    2. Why did you pick the book?  Be honest.  If you like the picture on the cover, that is the correct answer.
    3. What did you think of the artwork in the book and/or on the cover?  Once again, honesty.  Does it really reflect what is in the book?  Does it seem like it has nothing to do with the story?
    4. Who else would like this book & why? Must be a specific person or small group.  “Middle school boys” is a group with too many people in it.  The “volleyball team” would work.
    5. What did you learn from this book?  We learn from everything we interact with.  Are there lessons in this book?  Did you learn something from the way the characters related to each other?
    6. Select a short passage to read. Ask the teacher to approve the passage. Type in what page (or pages) the passage comes from. The passage typed here should be in italics. Select a paragraph or two (not more than half a page) that will make your listeners want to read the book.  Your passage should have paragraph indentations and punctuation identical to those in the book.
    7. Give the book Stars & Explain – 5 for great & 1 for poor.  Until this point in your BookTalk, you should be trying to convince people to read the book.  At this point, tell the truth.  If you did not like the book, it will not be held against you.  Remember that you must explain your rating.  It is not enough to say “I didn’t like it.”  You need at least two sentences.

     

    There is sample Written BookTalk below this page to show you the page layout. 

    Hint:  Titles must be in italics or underlined to be correct!

     

    Grading on BookTalks – Content

     

     

     

     

    Item

    Required Information & Points Possible

    Pts

     

       

    1

    Your Name

    3

     

    Grading on BookTalks – Grammar

    2

    Title

    4

     

     

     

     

    3

    Author

    4

     

     

    100 Points Possible

    4

    Number of Pages

    3

     

    BookTalk 1:

     1 or 2 pts off per error

    5

    Citation

    7

     

    BookTalk 2:

     2 or 3 pts off per error

    6

    Lexile

    7

     

     

     

     

    7

    Genre

    7

     

    This grade includes:

    8

    Tell the story with Inciting Incident, Crisis, & Climax.

    20

     

    Grammar

     

    Spelling

    9

    Why did you pick the book?

    7

     

    Punctuation

    Font

    10

    Artwork?

    3

     

    Capitalization

    Quotes

    11

    Who else would like this book? Must be specific!

    7

     

                                 & more!

    12

    What did you learn from this book?

    10

     

     

     

     

    13

    Select a short passage to read & ask the teacher to approve.

    6

     

    It also includes making your assignment

    14

    Give the book Stars & Explain – 5 for great & 1 for poor.

    12

     

    look like the example below!

     

    Total possible

    100

        

     

     

    Sample BookTalk

     ‘1. Your Name:  ___________________________________-

     ‘2. Title:  One for the Murphys

     ‘3. Author:  Lynda Mullaly Hunt

     ‘4. Number of Pages:  256 pages

     ‘5. Citation:  Hunt, Lynda Mullaly. One for the Murphys. Puffin Books, 2013.

     ‘6. Lexile:  520

     ‘7. Genre:  Realistic Fiction

    ‘8. Tell the story: You must include the “Inciting Incident,” “Crisis,” and “Climax.”

    The “Inciting Incident” is at the very beginning of the book: Carley is living in Connecticut and she is taken to foster care from a hospital after she is beaten by her step-father.  She arrives with nothing.  We learn about Carley’s background as the story progresses.  Carley is the first foster child the Murphy family has ever taken.  As she figures out how she feels about her mother and life in Las Vegas before the beating, Carley also watches closely the workings of the Murphy family.  Sometimes she lashes out because of her own fears, sometimes she melts inside because of the kindness of Mrs. Murphy and her littlest sons, and sometimes she feels hurt by attitudes and cutting remarks. The “Crisis” occurs when Carley asks to stay with the Murphy family and never go back to her mother.  In the ”Climax,” Carley learns that she must go back to her mother and many other things . . .  Carley and her friends are hard to forget!

    ‘9. Why did you pick the book?  Honestly, it is on the NC Battle of the Books list. I am trying to read all of the books on that list, but the cover is also interesting.

    ‘10. What did you think of the artwork in the book and/or on the cover?  I liked the cover picture.  It showed a girl that dresses as Carley does with a basketball and stuffed animal and grass.  But it doesn’t show her face … which is what I liked.  This way, she will always look as I imagine her looking.

    ‘11. Who else would like this book & why? Must be a specific person or small group!   

    This book would interest middle school students who feel like they are different or an outsider.  My cousin Edie would really like it because people often tell her that she acts weird.

    ‘12. What did you learn from this book?  I learned that we can choose the adult life we want.  I learned that It does not have to be just like the family we grew up in.

    ’13. Select a short passage to read. Ask the teacher to approve the passage.  Type in what page or pages the passage comes from. The passage typed here should be in italics; it should have paragraph indentations and punctuation identical to those in the book. From page 14.

    Outside, I find a basketball right away.  It’s green with shamrocks.  Can’t anything just be the way I expect around here?

    It’s cold outside.  Not like Vegas.  I can see my breath, and it reminds me of the smoke in the casinos when my mother would leave me in the lobby to wait for her.  She’d do a few of the slot machines just inside the door where she could see me waiting on the bench.  How she’d do a thumbs-up when she won, or yell “Send me luck!” when she didn’t.

    I close my eyes and turn the ball in my hands.  I say in a whisper, “Okay.  If I make this basket, then my mother still loves me.”

    Bending my knees, I shoot, watching the ball spin in the air.  It gets wedged between the board and the back of the hoop.  I know that means something, but I don’t know what.

    ’14. Give the book Stars & Explain – 5 for great & 1 for poor.  I would give this book a 4.5.  I am saving a 5 for a really life changing book.  But this is one of the best I have ever read.  The story is told in a way that makes me feel like I am in the room with Carley, seeing and feeling what she sees and feels.  I wanted to cry for her but you will have to read the book to find out why!

    BookTalk Template

    ‘1. Your Name:

    ‘2. Title:

    ‘3. Author:

    ‘4. Number of Pages:

    ‘5. Citation:

    ‘6. Lexile:

    ‘7. Genre:

    ‘8. Tell the story: You must include the “Inciting Incident,” “Crisis,” and “Climax.”       

     

     

     

     ‘9. Why did you pick the book?

    ‘10. What did you think of the artwork in the book and/or on the cover?

    ‘11. Who else would like this book & why? Must be a specific person or small group!   

    ‘12. What did you learn from this book?

    ’13. Select a short passage to read. Ask the teacher to approve the passage and tell what page or pages the passage comes from. The passage typed here should be in italics; it should have paragraph indentations and punctuation identical to those in the book.

     

     

    ’14. Give the book Stars & Explain – 5 for great & 1 for poor.