School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 5

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Advanced/Gifted and Talented: An advanced/gifted and talented tool is an idea for a complex, multi-step instructional task that requires students to apply knowledge and skills of multiple objectives that support one indicator. Tasks require students to interpret, analyze, and evaluate text at an appropriate level of complexity and embed a variety of differentiation strategies to challenge advanced readers. Many of these strategies and activities can be adapted for use with all students.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 3. Analyze elements of narrative texts to facilitate understanding and interpretation

Objective e. Identify and explain relationships between and among characters, setting, and events

Other Objectives Addressed

b.Identify and explain the events of the plot
c.Identify and describe the setting and the mood and explain how the setting affects the characters and the mood
d.Analyze characterization
f.Identify and explain how the actions of the character(s) affect the plot

Instructional Task

Students will use the elements of narrative text to create a mock trial for a character. Students will assume the roles of judge, jury, witnesses, defendant, prosecutor and defense attorney. Trial participants must establish the guilt or innocence of the character based on their understanding of the narrative elements (synthesis).

Development of Task

  • Students will read text of an appropriate level of complexity and use graphic organizers to map the story elements (Objective b).
  • The teacher will introduce the concept of mock trial with a question such as, "Which events in the story might be considered crimes? Which characters might be accused of those crimes and put on trial?"
  • Students will determine which events could be considered crimes and select one crime as the basis for the mock trial.
  • Students will select a role to play: judge, jury, witnesses, defendant, prosecutor and defense attorney (kinesthetic/tactile learning style). The students will prepare for their roles by developing questions, answers, alibis, rebuttals, evidence, etc. based on the narrative elements.
  • Depending on their self-selected roles, students will complete the following analysis to prepare for the trial (choice):
    Defendants will:
    • Analyze the characters to determine who might be accused of the alleged crime (Objective d).
    • Determine which character to put on trial, justifying their choice.
    Attorneys (prosecution and defense) will:
    • Analyze character traits, events, and dialogue to describe what might arouse suspicion (Objective f).
    • Develop questions based on the conflict, events, mood, setting, actions and characterization to ask the defendant and witnesses (Objective c).
    Witnesses will:
    • Analyze character relationships to select possible witnesses, and create testimony and alibis (Objective e).
    The jury will:
    • Determine possible motives and the cause-and-effect relationships of the characters' actions (Objectives d,f).
  • The jury must base its verdict on which side (prosecution or defense) presented the most convincing case based on the narrative elements (evaluation).
Resources for Objective 3.A.3.e:
Lesson Seeds | Sample Assessments | Public Release Items | ADVANCED/G-T |