SOS: Story Elements Soup

Welcome to  Spotlight on Strategies Challenge!  Our S.O.S series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating DE media into your curriculum.

Story Elements Soup
(pdf version)








In order to critically think about and analyze literature, it is important for students to understand story elements.  Identification and analysis of story elements are key ingredients in language arts instruction and appear in every grade level of the Common Core State Standards. Here’s an example from grade 4:  “Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions.)” We can use the soup analogy to provide context as we help students connect with the elements of a story.


  • Show the video segment Making Connections. It includes the story Stone Soup. (You might also read another version of the story such as Soup from a Nail or Cactus Stew.)
  • Explain to the students that story elements are like making soup. Use this Board to explain.
    • Setting- the cooking pot
    • Characters- the ingredients
    • Plot- the recipe
    • Conflict- the heating element
    • Theme- the broth
  • Discuss the story elements on Stone Soup with the class asking them to make connections from the story to the story elements. You might ask them how characters have different traits like ingredients in soup.
  • Assign, or allow the students to self-select, a story of their choice.
  • Give the students time to create a drawing or a journal entry of their stories’ soup. Have them identify and explain what the cooking pot, ingredients, recipe, heating element, and broth are.


  • Have students search Discovery Education for stories. A search for “Weston Woods,” “Great Books,” or “Aesop” are great places to start.
  • Challenge the students to use the Discovery Education Board Builder to create their Story Elements Soup.
  • Share the Boards on your classroom blog or wiki.

You can take the challenge by:

  • Implementing this strategy and letting us know how it went by posting a comment below.
  • Using this strategies in your grade level planning discussions and/or professional development and reporting your events. (Remember we consider an event anytime 3 or more educators gather together… doesn’t have to be in a computer lab… could be sitting around the lunch table)
  • Photocopying the flier and distributing it in your colleague’s boxes and/or posting it to your own BulleDEN board.

To see other strategies in this series click here.  For a link to all the PDFs in this series click here.


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One Comment;

  1. Patrick Moore said:

    Hey do you have an SOS on a “Freeze Frame Lesson?”

    Watch a text/read a text that explains a cause and effect relationship involving human actors/characters…Students then pantomime the story line and “freeze frame” at the “tipping point” in the story:

    Example–read/watch about the battle of Saratoga–what was the action where it became apparent that a possible British victory became an almost certain loss?

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