SOS: Secret Story Recipe

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

Secret Story Recipe
PDF Version
*For a link to all the PDFs in this series click here.

Graphic organizers are great visual communication tools that allow teachers and students to use pictures and/or words to map out and express ideas and concepts. “Most graphic organizers form a powerful visual picture of information and allow the mind ‘to see’ undiscovered patterns and relationships.” (Instructional Strategies Online) They can be utilized before, during, and after instruction to assist in the learning process.  Using a graphic organizer when teaching story elements allows students to clearly break out the important story components.


  • Introduce this strategy by wearing an apron and having a big cooking pan and spoon.  “Today, we are going to learn the secret ingredients to any great story!”  Explain that a story is like a good recipe- different ingredients that combine to make a delicious experience.
  • Out of the pot, pull out a card with the word “characters” on it.  Characters are who the story is about!  Have students name the characters in your favorite class books.
  • Next, pull out a card with the word “setting” on it.  “Setting is when and where the story happens.” Have students name settings of your favorite class books.
  • Last, pull out card with the word “plot” written on it.  “Plot is what happens in the story.”  Have students share the plot of their favorite stories. Spend time focusing on the beginning, middle, and end of the plot, as well the problem and solution.
  • Explain to students that they will now be watching a digital version of a book called The Three Little Pigs (CDN Subscribers) and completing the graphic organizer of the story elements.
  • As the students watch the video, pause every two minutes and allow students 60 seconds to write at least 1 important supporting fact in each section of their graphic organizer.
  • When the video is complete, have students pair share to compare their organizers.  Highlighting what is most important and crossing out what’s not as important.
  • Have students work independently or in pairs to create 1-3 summarizing sentences for each story element.
  • Pro Tip: This video comes with the transcripts.  Use the transcript along side the video to look for clues for characters, setting and plot.


  • Find a video that contains great story elements.  You may wish to do an advanced search for videos published by  “Scholastic” or “Weston Woods”
  • Review important parts of story elements.
  • Watch video, pausing to allow students to pull out the ingredients to the character, setting, and plot.
  • Have students write a summary of each ingredient.

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.



Related posts


  1. Pingback: DEN Connects: September – DEN Blog Network

  2. social media news release said:

    Generally I don’t read post on blogs, but I would like
    tto say that this write-up very pressured me too
    try and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me.
    Thanks, quite great article.

Comments are closed.