Setting Graphic Organizer
- Identify the text or portion of a text that you want students to read. You should select something that has a clear and well-elaborated setting. It can be effective to select something in which the setting contributes significantly to the meaning of the story.
- Create a graphic organizer labeled “Setting,” with two sides. The Time side should contain boxes with the following labels: “Time(s) in history” “Season(s)” and “Time(s) of the day” “Senses,” “Associations,” and “Moods/Feelings.” The Place side should contain boxes with the following labels: “Where in the world,” “Where locally,” “Spaces,” “Senses,” “Associations,” and “Moods/Feelings.”
Teacher briefly reviews the concept of setting: where and when a story takes place. Teacher displays a model completed graphic organizer based on a familiar and easy text, and clarifies what belongs in each box.
Prepare to display the model graphic organizer while students work. You may want to fill it out based on a very simple and familiar story, such as a fairy tale.
Teacher displays a short text on a slide or projector. Teacher models reading aloud from the text, identifying/highlighting textual cues, and completing each box in the graphic organizer.
Teacher distributes blank graphic organizers. Alone or in pairs, students prepare to read the text.
You may want to ask students to read the text once before attempting to fill in the graphic organizer.
Students complete the graphic organizer as they read.
Students identify when in historical the story takes place, and describe this in the “When in history” section.
Students identify the season(s) in which the story takes place, and describes this in the “Seasons” box.
Students identify the time(s) in the day when the story takes place, and describes this in the “time(s) of day” box.
Students think about the sensory information associated with the time of the setting. They describe this in the “Senses” box on the Time side of the graphic organizer.
Students think about the memories, connotations, or associations related to the time(s) of the story. They record their ideas in the “Associations” box on the Time side of the graphic organizer.
Students think about the moods or feelings evoked by the time(s) of the story. They record their ideas in the “mood/feelings” box of the Time side of the organizer.
For example, spring can be associated with feelings of energy and hope, night can be associated with fear or mystery.
Students flip over their graphic organizers and return to the text to consider the place(s) of the story. First, they think about the geographical location(s) of the story (continent(s), country/ies), and describe it in the box marked “Where in the world
Next, students think about setting on a smaller stage, considering the type of town/city/habitat the story takes place in. Students describe this smaller locale (or locales) in the “Where locally” box on the Place side of their graphic organizers.
Students think about the smaller stages of the text’s action: the spaces where most of the action takes place. They describe these in the “Spaces” box on the Place side of the organizer.
Students think about where the story takes place, and they think about the senses associated with the place(s). They record their ideas in the “Senses” box of the Place side of the organizer.
Students think the ideas or words associated with the place(s) of the story. They record their ideas in the “Associations” box of the Place side of the organizer.
Students consider the feelings or mood evoked by the place(s) of the story, and they describe these in the “Mood/Feelings” box of the Place side of the graphic organizer.
Students reflect on their learning alone or individually, orally or in writing.
Students should respond to questions including:
- How can setting inform the meaning of a text?
- How can you most effectively analyze the setting of a text?
- How can you tell what aspect(s) of a setting are important for a story?
- When might this activity be most useful to you?