As we know, the Story Grammar Marker®’s design reflects the research connecting language and literacy. The icons represent the components of narrative discourse, an underpinning of literacy. Teaching the SGM® icons and their meanings will provide students with a scaffold to organize their thoughts in a meaningful way to communicate orally and in writing.
Continuing with our setting ideas, today we offer one to reinforce the Star icon which represents the Setting, the where and when a story takes place. For those of you new to using SGM®, the Star was chosen as the icon for the Setting because sailors, when they’re lost at sea at night, look to the stars to determine their location and direction. From the simplest picture books to complex novels, the setting is a central element to understanding a story. The setting involves more than the time and place but also all the typical things that can happen in that setting. A Kick-Off, or Initiating Event, occurs in a setting causing events to unfold in a positive or negative fashion.
Download the numbered star and setting handout. Note that the points of the star are numbered 1-5 and correspond to the student handout that also has a star in the center labeled “Where?” and “When?” with the points numbered 1-5. The points lead to three-line groups, also numbered.
Collect various seasonal pictures; outdated calendars are a wonderful resource for this.
Note: I have laminated star icons (and pictures) so that I am able to tape them onto setting pictures and easily remove them later to use with other setting pictures. You may want to give children their own laminated setting icons to take home or to use with stories they are reading.
Continuing with our seasonal theme (this time Fall), place the star icon on the picture. Ask the children to describe what they see at the end of the point of the star with the #1. As the example shows, possible responses: Mountain, trees, fall colors-red, yellow, orange, green. make a list on the student handout. go onto point #2 and follow the same procedure (possible response: Field, brown dirt, flat). Continue around to each point until completed. Review the descriptive words the children chose. Then, put the words into sentences. You may want to go from point to point and have the children Turn and Talk about each area and then elicit sentences from the students. This could be written out as a group activity on chart paper and read orally to complete the activity.
The icon and accompanying handout template for the students may be used in a variety of ways — together or separately — and with many different materials! Please feel free to share your ideas for using these materials on our Facebook page!
Also, check out a previous blog, Story Grammar and the Classroom Curriculum: The Five Senses (May 16, 2015) that relates to these Setting blogs. Our Braidy the StoryBraid Teachers’ Manual contains many more ideas to reinforce the SGM icons.