Story Episode Lesson
Creating a story or an episode portrait is a creative way for students to show understanding of the author's message or main idea in a particular chapter or scene.
Teachers should select a novel or short story for this lesson. The episode or story portrait allows the teacher to assess the students' understanding of the author's message of a particular episode or scene chosen by the teacher. Teachers can also allow students to choose a variety of episodes from the novel as a culminating activity for the story or novel.
Story Portrait Lesson Items Needed
Class novel or short story, unlined paper, lined paper, markers, colored pencils, scissors, and old magazines
Procedure for Completing an Episode or Story Portrait
Step 1 -- The teacher needs to choose a chapter that the students have read. Students need to think about the message or the main idea that the author is attempting to convey to the reader within the chapter, episode or scene. This is not the plot or the events of the episode or scene. It could be the theme, a moral taught, the author’s purpose, the character’s motivations or feelings, etc.
Direct students to do the following:
Step 2 -- Draw a border around the outside of the portrait paper that encompasses the most significant or important idea from the chapter. The border may consist of words, pictures, symbols, magazine clippings, computer generated art, etc.
Step 3 -- Inside the border, draw a symbol for the main idea or message of the chapter, scene, or episode. This symbol will represent the student’s interpretation of the episode or scene.
Step 4 -- After coming up with a symbol that shows the “big idea” of the episode, write a phrase or sentence within the border that describes the symbol or tells how the symbol relates to the story.
Step 5 -- Find a quote that fits with the symbol and write it somewhere on the portrait to complete the picture. The page number should be included.
Step 6 -- Write a three-paragraph explanation of your episode portrait. Make sure to include an introduction that includes the title of the story, the author's name and a focus statement. Explain the border, the symbol/picture, the quote and how it works with the symbol. Last, write a concluding sentence.
Create a Rubric to Assess the Episode Portrait
Create a rubric to grade the episode portrait. Students could be assessed on the creativity, content, required elements, and use of class time. An exemplary portrait would be pleasing to the eye and establish the meaning of the episode or scene. The content of the description would be a complete essay that explains the border, symbol and quote in detail.
The episode or story portrait is a nice assessment to use in the middle of a novel to assess understanding. It is creative and offers a writing component.