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Elements of a Story- “Where The Wild Things Are”


Language Arts  


K, 1, 2  

By- Deborah Szabo

St. Joseph College



Students will be able to identify passages that indicate setting, characters, problem (events), and solution in a story.



  • The book, “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak.
  • Several large sheets of paper (2 each, labeled: Characters, Setting, Problem, Events, Solution)
  • A monster shaped cut-out for each student. Printed on it will be “When I feel ________, I ________and then ___________.”
  • Emotions chart (optional)



Introduce the book to the children. Read the author and title. Show the cover and first few pages of the book. Ask the children what they think the story might be about.


Activities and Procedure:

  1. Read the book, inviting those students who may know it well to read along whenever they want to.
  2. Ask, or suggest, if this is a “good story”, and “interesting story”, a “well-written story”. Explain that we will now look at the elements (or parts) of what makes up a good story.
  3. Put up a large paper entitled “Setting” and explain that the setting is where and when the story takes place. Ask the students to tell the setting of the book. For each response, refer back to the book saying “how does it tell us that?” and help the students remember a passage or phrase. Write down what the students give you for the setting. Repeat the process for “Characters”, “Problem”, “Events”, and “Solution”.
  4. Tell the students that you’re going to leave the papers up, that it helps for our reading and writing to know what makes up a good story.



Remind the students that Max was feeling wild and that caused a problem and some events to happen in the story. Ask what are some other ways we can feel? Refer to an emotions chart if necessary. Single out a response. Say- could we take that feeling and make up a story like Mr. Sendak did? Ask- what do we need for a good story? When responses have included setting, characters, problem, events, and solution, begin with the second set of large paper with these titles, and brainstorm ideas for each. Write down everything the way students say it. They can be quite “copycat” from Sendak, it doesn’t take away from their comprehension.



Ask again when Max was feeling wild, what did he do? (Acted wild, yelled at his mother, wore his wolf suit, etc.) Have the students fill out their own bulletin board cut-out, a picture or shape stating: “When I feel (emotion), I (action) and then (this happens).” They are putting together in a very simple way, the beginning elements of an original story. Either now, or when the bulletin board is up, you can individually ask students to come up with an idea for a solution. If you need a simpler activity, limit it to “When I feel wild, I ______”.


Follow up:

Depending on the grade level, you could either write together as a class the copycat story which you “mapped” with the students. Or each student could turn their emotion/action shape into a copycat story with him or her as the main character.



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