An engaging rap song for teaching characters, setting, and plot to students. Includes fun worksheets and multiple versions of the song to assist with scaffolding.
“Characters, Setting, Plot” helps students learn about stories. The song covers book characters and literary characters, the themes of setting in literature, the analysis of a plot in writing and film, and how to write short stories by teaching through music, rhyme, and memorization. The teaching materials, including games and worksheets, help teachers and homeschool parents create lesson plans for the song topics.
This Language Arts song is suitable for teaching writing to advanced elementary school (3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade), middle school, high school, and home school students.
We’ve got the characters, the setting, and of course the plot
It’s the elements of fiction that I’m talking about
In any decent story, you’ve got to have characters
The people in it, and they can be generic or
They can be complex, interesting, unique
Like a girl who walks on her hands and writes with her feet
The protagonist, the main character, the good guy
In most works of fiction, is usually opposed by
The antagonist, the bad guy, the villain
“But what about the other folks, are they just chillin’?”
Nope, not really, though some of them are static
So they’re flat, one-dimensional, nothing real dramatic
And people with the drama are called dynamic characters
Like if they start out calm and get hysterical
Or if they start out in love and end up not
That’s the motion and emotion that propels the plot
“What’s that?” Fear not, I’ll tell you in verse III
Here’s how it goes writing fictional prose
For the setting of a story, you need to know when it occurs
Like 7:30 in the morning on November the first
It doesn’t always have to be that specific
For instance, if the characters are using hieroglyphics
Then you know you’re in ancient times, not the present day
But if somebody’s driving up in a Chevrolet
You’re in the present or the future or the recent past
But there’s another setting question that we need to ask
And that’s “Where?” Location, it can be narrow
Like 57 Main Street, Rio de Janeiro
Or it can be broad, not specific at all
Like somewhere in Canada, north of Montreal
So there you have it, the time and the place
Even if it’s in the future or up in outer space
Make up a fundamental element of fiction: the setting
Now here’s the hook again so you don’t forget it
Now, the plot unfolds in five different phases
I’ll try to get you through it in just a few phrases
Take you all the way from beginning to end
But you’ve got to listen close or rewind again
Before action happens, we’ve got the exposition
Where the author can establish or begin a definition
Of the characters, the setting, and yes, the point of view
And once that’s all established we can move to phase two
The rising action. A period of conflict and crisis
This part is unpredictable, it’s full of surprises
So open up your eyes as wide as they can possibly be
After this we’re gonna hit phase three, which is the
Climax, the high point, a moment most intense
A turning point, a major culmination of events
After that, there isn’t really much more
We gotta end the story, let’s go to phase four
We’ve got the denouement, that’s what we call the falling action
And hopefully it leaves you with a sense of satisfaction
‘Cause phase five is the end, it’s called the resolution
Tying it all together, and we’ve come to the conclusion
Literary Elements and Devices
This website has detailed definitions for several literary terms including character, setting and plot. It also has links to other resources. Good teacher resource.
Applying Character/Setting to Play Readings
This classroom activity asks students to identify two elements of a play (character/setting) in the text of a book. Uses “Ira Sleeps Over” as the book.
Grades 3-5, 6-8
Character in a Bag
Partners use clues from a bag to cooperatively develop a mystery character and produce a PowerPoint about that character.
This activity asks students to use characters, settings, and plots to write original stories.
Mapping the Mockingbird
After reading To Kill a Mockingbird, students participate in a case study about how the setting of this book affected the plot.
Stir Up a Character Analysis Recipe
This lesson challenges students to discover the right “mix” of ingredients (characteristics) in a real or fictional character. A fun activity. Adaptable to any age group.
Writing a Character Sketch
This activity asks students to write character sketches about people they already know. Adaptable to any age group.
Developing Story Structure with Paper Bag Skits
Paper bags containing five unique props are distributed to each group; these props provide the impetus for the development of creative skits. Students then use online tools to outline the story elements in their skits.