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Using Story Maps in Elementary Classrooms

Story map and kids.png

Course Name

Using Story Maps in Elementary Classrooms

Statement of Intent

The intention of this mini-course, "Using Story Maps in Elementary Classrooms," is to offer information regarding the benefits of story maps, resources on who can benefit form their use, and how to implement them into units of instruction. though teachers at any grade level can benefit from this course, the information is geared towards teachers of primary and intermediate grade children (grades 1-6). Learners will participate in interactive activities, read from various articles, reflect on learned information with their fellow learners, and develop the necessary knowledge and skill base to create their own lesson containing the creation of a story map to enhance instruction.

The topics covered will be:

  1. What are story maps and why are they important?
  2. How can story maps help students with reading comprehension and other learning disabilities?
  3. When and how can story maps be implemented in instruction?

Needs Assessment

  1. Instructional Problem: Reading comprehension is an essential skill for college and career readiness, moreover for a rich academic, professional, and personal life. Everyday, adults must comprehend the basic meaning of their cable bills, the newspaper, and the labels on bottles of medicine. Unfortunately, many students today simply lack the adequate reading comprehension skills to do what is expected of them in their everyday classroom lessons and activities (Marshall). When students do not possess comprehension skills, reading is reduced to following words across a page while sounding them out; it has absolutely no meaning. The chief goal of reading is to understand the information provided by the writer, whether that be for entertainment, research purposes, or acquiring a new skill. In the modern day classroom, teachers often focus on teaching reading fluency, assuming that the comprehension aspect will come with the fluency. However, though for few students this does occur, the majority of students must be taught various strategies and techniques in order to understand while reading. Alarmingly, research shows that almost two thirds of students who reach the fourth grade without proficient reading skills end up on welfare or in prison (Marshall). This statistic only further proves how crucial a reading comprehension skill set is. Every individual student's learning process is unique, and many students are unfortunately further inhibited by learning disabilities that result in short attention spans, lacking of repetition strategies, impairments in transferring what they have just learned to performing new skills, and long and short term memory problems. Teachers must adapt to their students' individual needs, by researching and participating in professional development to expand on their repertoire of teaching strategies in order to improve reading comprehension skills in their students (Isikndogan, 1510-1511).
  2. Nature of What is to be Learned: Learners will become familiar with using story maps to enhance multiple dimensions of their students' narrative comprehension. Story mapping is a useful and effective teaching strategy that elementary-grade teachers can add to their collection of comprehension instruction strategies (Baumann, 409). Learners will develop a knowledge base of what a story map is, what they consist of, what different types there are, and how each might improve reading comprehension in elementary age students. Learners will also be be able to explain why story maps are so crucial to comprehension skill development. Learners will understand how story maps might specifically help children with learning and reading disabilities. Finally, learners will employ their knowledge of story maps to determine how to implement them in instruction.
  3. About the Learners: This mini-course is directed towards student teachers as well as current teachers, with any range of experience, of elementary age students (kindergarten through grade 6). This mini-course may serve as professional development or as a pre-service teaching tool. Learners should have an intrinsic interest in improving their students' reading comprehension abilities. Furthermore, learners must be willing to modify their current instruction practices and adapt their lesson plans and activities to implement the new strategies provided in this mini-course.
  4. Instructional Content: Current teachers may use the materials provided and developed throughout this course to enhance their current instruction. Pre-service teachers may use the materials provided and developed throughout this course to build their own teaching profile and lesson archive. The content of this mini-course can be done completely on an online basis, with the learners using internet research tools, the provided wiki discussion spaces, and email correspondence with the instructor/course creator. This mini-course can be completely individually, though it is suggested that learners take the given opportunities to collaborate and correspond with their fellow learners. There are a few opportunities for reflecting on new material, research, and prior experiences that learners are encouraged to participate in. However, if necessary, this mini-course can be completed individually. The material can be completed at the learner's own pace, on any computer with access to the internet. The strategies presented in this course will not become outdated. It is important for learners to understand that the materials and teaching techniques provided in this mini-course are meant to enhance instruction, not be the sole basis for teaching reading comprehension.
  5. Goals: Learners will be able to understand the importance and effectiveness of the use of story maps when teaching reading comprehension skills to elementary age students. Learners will be able to adapt their current strategies to individualize instruction for each of their students' comprehension levels and abilities, to improve reading comprehension in all of their students. Learners will finally be able to implement story maps into their own instruction, creating their own lesson plans that include the effective creation of story maps.

Task Analysis

Course Purpose

  • The purpose of this course is to educate elementary teachers about the benefits of using story maps in order to enhance their students' reading comprehension as well as their overall comprehension in various contents of study.

Learning Outcomes

  • At the culmination of this mini-course, learners will be able to:
  • Identify what a story map consists of and explain the importance of using one in instruction to improve reading comprehension.
  • State what type and level of learners can benefit from story maps and why.
  • Distinguish where and when during instruction, as well as what setting (what content areas) story maps ought to be used in.
  • Determine how a story map might be used and create an example situation to use one to enhance instruction for better comprehension of a topic.

Essential Prerequisite Skills

  • In order to reach the intended outcomes of this mini-course learners must:
  • Have knowledge of how to navigate a Wiki-based course
  • Know the ability level and reading comprehension skill level of the students they will implement these strategies on
  • Demonstrate the ability to create a basic lesson plan according to state common core standards
  • Be skillful and comfortable carrying out basic computer functions, including copy and paste, saving documents, and doing research online

Supportive Prerequisites

  • For better learning and understanding of course goals and objects learners should:
  • Have a basic understanding of how various learning disabilities effect reading comprehension in young children
  • Be willing to modify their current lesson plans to include story maps
  • Be familiar with creating basic shapes and lines on programs such as Microsoft word (in order to create story maps)
  • Be open to sharing and reflecting about experiences and research with fellow learners
  • Be motivated and possess the desire to learn more about story maps and how to boost students' learning and skill acquisition using new and different teaching strategies

Performance Objectives

Unit 1

  • Learners will read from a mini-lecture of notes and view several visuals of various types of story maps.
  • Learners will explore education websites that further explain and provide examples of story maps.
  • Learners will listen to an audio story and answer comprehension questions, then listen to another story while completing a story map and answer similar comprehension questions. After comparing and analyzing the amount of correct answers with and without the completion of a story map, learners will discuss the outcomes and their initial thoughts regarding story maps on a wiki discussion space.

Unit 2

  • Learners will read from a mini-lecture of notes, then perform their own research regarding story maps and students with learning disabilities.
  • Learners will write a brief reflection about their findings regarding learning disabilities and the benefits of story mapping. If learners choose to explore additional articles aside from that provided, appropriate citation of resources ought to be provided.

Unit 3

  • Learners will read from a mini-lecture of notes, then watch a video showing a teacher give an example lesson to a class.
  • Learners will create a comprehensive lesson plan effectively incorporating the completion of a story map.

Curriculum Map

Story maps curriculum map.png


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