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The Curse of the Flying Frogs

Context for this Lesson

School District: 
School or Organization: 


Topic:  Drawing Conclusions: Story Structure in Fiction writing

Grade: 1st Grade

Focus Questions:

Subject: English Language Arts



§110.12. English Language Arts and Reading, Grade 1

(b) (9) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Fiction. Students understand, make inferences and draw conclusions about the structure and elements of fiction and provide evidence from text to support their understanding. Students are expected to:

(A) describe the plot (problem and solution) and retell a story's beginning, middle, and end with attention to the sequence of events; and

(B) describe characters in a story and the reasons for their actions and feelings.

§117.16. Theatre, Grade 1                   

(1) Foundations: inquiry and understanding. The student develops concepts about self, human relationships, and the environment using elements of drama and conventions of theatre. The student is expected to: (B) develop spatial awareness in dramatic play using expressive and rhythmic movement.

Common Core State Standards:

Reading Standards for Literature Grades 1-2

Key Ideas and Details:

  • Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.


"Let’s imagine that we are members of a creative story team. Our job is to create stories based off of pictures sent to us from all over the world. We just received some pictures the other day, and I’d like to show you one. Our job is to look at it and use the details we see to draw conclusions about what story the picture is trying to tell."

"I have a picture with me today that I would like to show you. So when you look at a picture, what kinds of clues can we find that might help us figure out what is happening? In other words, what do you see? What are the details? For example..."where does this picture take place?" Point to the people. "Who are they? How can we tell? What are they doing? What might all of these characters be feeling? Therefore.....what might be happening in this picture?"

Write down these ideas under the categories: Location, Characters, Action, Feelings. These categories are for groups to pull from later.

"I put our ideas into four groups: 'Location', that the "where," 'Characters,' that's the "who," 'Action' that's what the characters are doing, and 'Feeling.' Let's keep these categories in mind." Make sure visual images accompany the words, location may be a drawing or image of a house, characters may be an outline of a cat etc..

"In a moment we are going to create our own version of this image with our bodies. We are going to make a frozen image – also called a stage picture or tableau. If we were to create a frozen image with our bodies of this picture, what details would we need to make sure we have? Let's quickly popcorn out ideas. "

"These are great details!" Be sure to notice any details mentioned that fall into the categories above as this comes into the image work later in the lesson. 

Ask for three volunteers. Count them in, meaning invite one student to join the image at a time with a 2-4 second count in between them. Have students create an image of the illustration. Pull out similarities between the brainstormed list/illustration and the frozen image.

Transition: "Thank you for playing. Now we know what a frozen picture is. In just a moment I will divide you into three groups. When I call your name you will sit with your group and get a picture. Your first job is to look at the picture together and to try and figure out what is happening in the image, just like we did."



Ask the class:

"Now that you've looked at your picture what are the most important details that you want to build with your bodies?" Have them come up with 4-6 details.

"Now, I’m going to give everyone in your group a number, and you are going to build each image one person at a time. We are going to do this simultaneously, so each group will build their image at the same time."

Assign numbers to each student and count the students in. Remind students as they enter in to look at what the image is, and what is missing. Once the image is built, tell them this is the middle image.

"You've just created the middle of your story. Now let's pretend that we can rewind a little bit.  Let’s go back in time and create another image, our first image. Use the clues from the image to help guide you. I'm going to give you a moment to decide what you think your character/object might've been doing five minutes before. Ready? Number 1's get into your pose......."

Side coaching:

  • "Is this really what your character would be doing?"
  • "How can you make this look more real?"
  • "Look back at this picture, what does this image reall look like?"
  • If a group is struggling you can have a number from each group step out and act as director for each image giving verbal tips

"I'm seeing some really clear details. We are going to make one last image, this will be 5 minutes into the future. Again, take a moment and think about what your character would do 5 minutes after the first picture that you made."

After students have created their last image. Have them review all three. Choose another # to serve as director to revise the image. "Let's go over all of the images together in our groups. This is your before image. Let’s see you move from the before image to the middle image. Great. Everyone relax. Now let’s go forward in time and create the “after” picture." Count them in one at a time.

Rehearse the three images in order simultaneously as needed.


Have each group show their sequence to the group. "When I say “blackout” the audience will close their eyes while the actors get into place for image number one. When I say “lights up” the audience will open their eyes. Actors, wait till I say “blackout” to change to your next image. Are there any questions about how this will work?"

4. Process each image

Ask the group what image they would like to see again.


  • What do you see in this image?


  • Based on what you see, what could be happening in this image?


  • What title would you give this image?







  • "So creative story team, what did we do in our work together today?" (encourage them to name the steps they took to create their stories)
  • "Which details, or clues in the picture did your group find most useful in creating your story." (In the discussion emphasize how they drew conclusions based off of what they saw.)


  • "We got to see two different versions of the same sort of story today. How were they different? How were they similar?"


  • "How might paying attention to the details we find in a story help us understand the beginning middle and end?" 
Extensions/Applications : 

Scribe a sentence for each B/M/E sequence of the of each "Tuesday" picture. To use as a resource in a writing lesson follow up where students write their own stories based on the tableau's they created.