Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mr. Giso's Room to Read's Bright Idea #10

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Make a Story Necklace

You may have seen this idea before.  I've created a new graphic organizer to get the most out of my students this year, as shared on Classroom Freebies, Manic Monday.  I had such great results, I wanted to share.  Like usual, I selected three books for my guided reading book groups.  Each one is fiction with a predictable narrative structure.  Check them out in this photograph.

Next, I had a group of students read "A Job for Clown" with me, another group read "Spider's Web" with my fabulous student teacher and a third group read "The Chick and the Duckling" by themselves.  I was thrilled to have an extra adult for support.  Her job was to check in with the group reading independently.

After reading was completed, we each did a minilesson on what it means to retell the important parts of the story.  We made sure to stress that you need to pick the three most important events.  A trick I like to say is pick how it began and how it ended.  THEN, pick one thing you found interesting in the middle.  This works great with my first graders.

For the next step, each child got 4 index cards.  They completed the following.
•Card 1:  Write your name, title, author, illustrator
•Card 2:  Number it "1" and draw how the book began
•Card 3:  Number it "2" and draw an event from the middle
•Card 4:  Number it "3" and draw how the book ended

Check this out!  "A Job for Clown"

Here's another example.  "Spider's Web"  How fun!  Can't you tell Spider's despair by the look in Spider's eyes in illustration #2?

Next, students used the illustrations to help them record on a graphic organizer what happened in the beginning, middle and end.  This was the new part for me.  They wrote the retelling rather than simply using the pictures to do an oral retell.  After these were checked over, the students recorded this information on the back of the matching index card (using the lines).  See. . .

Lastly, we punched holes in the cards and tied them using a ribbon.    When this was complete, I paired students up with a buddy that read a different book.  Each student read the book over to his or her buddy using a reading wand (for fluency, of course!).  Then, students used their necklaces to retell what was read for each other.  My first graders liked this part the best.  They love sharing good books with friends.  Here's my Bucket O' Reading Wands.

This project ended up taking me two days.  Click here to printout the directions and the graphic organizer.  Enjoy this month's freebie.   I'd love to hear how this works out in your classroom.  


  1. I can totally see what MY kids are doing next week. ADORABLE! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  2. P.S. Forgot to tell you that I found you through Manic Monday!

    1. Thanks Cyndie. I hope your kids enjoy making these necklaces. Happy Manic Monday!


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