August 30, 2018
By Jasmine Gibson

EL Support Lesson

Who are the Key Characters?

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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Play It AgainLesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Play It AgainLesson plan.

Students will be able to retell stories through plays they have written, including key details.


Students will be able to retell the key events, characters, and details from a fiction text with grade level words using visual and written supports.

(2 minutes)
  • Ask students if they have ever played the game charades. Explain that in charades, you are trying to get people to guess what you are acting out.
  • Invite three students to the front of the class and quietly pass out one of the pre-written cards to each student (reading the cards to each of them). Then have each student (in order) act out their card.
  • Have the rest of the class turn and talk to a partner to share what they think their peers were acting out.
(5 minutes)
  • Celebrate the student actors and explain that they just demonstrated how to act out the beginning, midde, and end of a basic story. Tell the class that while the acting was great, the story wasn't very interesting. It was missing some important elements, like the key details, events, and characters.
  • Display the tiered vocabulary words using the vocabulary cards and glossary.
  • Engage students in defining the new vocabulary by asking them to relate it to a well known story, such as the Three Little Pigs (e.g. What are the main events? Who are the key characters?)
  • Explain that today students will get to practise identifying the key characters, details, and events in a story by acting out a story in a group!
(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud the text Goldilocks and the Three DinosaursBy Mo Willems.
  • As you read, pause to note what events are happening in the story, the key details, and the key characters.
  • Ask students to think about the beginning, middle, and ending of the story and share the key events in each section with a partner.
  • Write the words Beginning/Middle/End in three columns on chart paper or a whiteboard to record key events and key characters for each section.
  • Record student thinking on the classroom chart for students to reference.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that now students will get to work in a small group to act out the story, making sure to include the key events and key characters in the beginning, middle, and ending.
  • Put students into groups of 4–5 and have them work independently to rehearse and act out their story.


  • Work with a small group of students to retell a familiar story such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Assign roles and support students as they identify the key characters, events, and details within the story.


  • Have students complete the (Re) Tell About it worksheet using complete sentences to practise sharing their ideas in a written format.
(8 minutes)
  • Have students perform their retelling of the story in front of another group (or the whole class if time allows). Encourage students to share the key events and key characters they chose to focus on in the beginning, middle, and ending of the story.
  • Collect exit tickets to further assess student understanding.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class and have them turn and talk to a partner to share their favorite key event from the story.
  • Pass out the index cards and have students record their favorite key event and where it took place in the story (beginning, middle, ending) as an exit ticket.
  • Share out some of the exit tickets as time allows.

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