Elements of a Fictional Story using Top Down
Topic Webs and Two-column Notes in Grade 4
Having been recently trained in the Keys to Literacy Comprehension Routine over the past few months, we are slowly “getting our toes wet” with the routines. We are implementing the research-based routines throughout our curriculum, including ELA block with our fourth graders.
We decided to create a Top Down Topic Web (TDTW) as a teaching tool to guide our unit on the elements of fictional stories. We found that the TDTW was beneficial for both the students and teacher. It provided an organized outline of the unit that we were teaching. It also served as an anchor chart that could be referred to as we worked through the unit.
Our next step was to further explore each element of fiction. We used both TDTW and two column notes to do this. We modeled the routine as a whole class and then we incorporated the routine into guided reading groups with differentiated texts. The tasks were scaffolded for each group based on our objectives. For some groups, teacher notes/webs were provided. For others, partially completed notes/webs were provided.
We found that after modeling, it was easier for students to apply the routine to a differentiated book. The shared experience gave the students an example to look back at when they were trying it on their own.
Here are some examples of how we did this:
Scaffolded Plot for Guided Reading
Read Aloud and Model
Two examples of using Two-Column Notes During Guided Reading