Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Outline and Shine

Candace Culberson
Santa Rosa District Schools


Use the note taking strategy of outlining to reinforce an understanding of setting, character, plot, and theme.


The student writes notes, outlines, comments, and observations that reflect comprehension of seventh grade level or higher content from a variety of media.

The student knows the primary conflicts and explains their resolutions in a variety of text types.


-Short story from literature text (Suggestion: - Three Skeleton Key - in the Holt Rinehart Winston text, ELEMENTS OF LITERATURE, First Course, ISBN# 0157175006)
-Blank outline handout
-Overhead transparency of a blank outline


Become familiar with the short story chosen.
Prepare the overhead transparency of the outline form.
Prepare the blank outline form for students.


Prior knowledge - The short story is read and discussed. The four elements of setting, character, plot, and theme are discussed.
1. The students have read and discussed the short story in a previous lesson.
2. Put a transparency of a blank outline on the overhead.
3. Hand out copies of the outline to each student.
4. Explain that the note taking skill of outlining is one that helps students keep study material in an easily revisable format.
5. Explain also that this note taking technique allows students to focus on the most important and pertinent information in a text.
6. Notes are organized from most important information to least important information.
7. Begin with Roman numeral I. Instruct the students to fill in the name of the short story and author there. Then move to subtopic A. Place -setting- by the letter A. Instruct the students that setting has two major elements, time and place.
8. Add the numbers 1. and 2. under the letter A. Ask the students to fill in that information with time and place.
9. Proceed to subtopic B. Ask the students to list at least two main characters from the story and give brief descriptions of each.
10. At subtopic C, they write -plot.- Remind students that plot consists of conflicts. Require the students to list at least two conflicts, numbers l and 2, from the story under plot and give brief explanations of each conflict.
11. At subtopic D, they write -theme.- Reinforce what theme is. The students will list under theme at least two possible themes in the reading, numbering them 1 and 2.


Pair and share:
Have students select partners. They evaluate each other's outline based on the following criteria: 1. Is the outline correctly formed? Roman numerals, capital letters, numbers, proper spacing. 2. Is information organized from most important to least important? 3. Does the outline list the subtopics of setting, characters, plot, and theme? 4. Does each subtopic have at least two supporting details? Yes or no answers are given from each question. If an answer is no, the evaluating student explains what needs to be corrected. Students get their outlines back, make the necessary corrections and turn in the outline for teacher evaluation. Students who do not satisfactorily complete their outlines should receive feedback from the teacher and have additional time to make changes.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.