Shared Reading or Read Aloud time is one of my favorite times of the day. However, I admit when it came to teaching my students their “story elements” I was struggling. I had a bunch of different mini-anchor charts that I would pull out from our easel each time we needed to learn a new element or review a previous one. The students would learn the different elements, but I didn’t feel like they were making connections to text as they should. Every time we had a featured story of the week we would make a Story Map on a Chart paper, then throw it out, and start a new one. It just wasn’t exciting or engaging for me or my students.
I started brainstorming different ways I could make story features and elements more engaging. When I thought about the words “Story Map” it occurred to me that you use a map when you go on a Road Trip. And that’s how the concept of our Road Trip Story Map was developed.
It’s known that students need visuals and consistency, however sometimes as teachers we aren’t always making sure that we are providing the right kind of visuals and consistency. I wanted to make our “Road Trip Story Map” a bulletin Board that the students would not only understand how to use, but would also be able to help me record the information needed. I knew we would need anchor charts for all of the fiction and nonfiction elements outlined in our curriculum, but I didn’t want to just smack a couple of Anchor charts on a wall. I needed something to direct us through the map, so what goes on a road trip? Cars, of course! I decided I could put numbers on the cars as a way to guide us through each step on the map.
As we go from one stop to the next, we review each element or concept. I then ask the students to make their text connections and tell me, for example “the setting” in the story. I then record their answers on the dry erase pockets I have attached to the board. When possible, I will draw pictures for my non-readers and write their oral response. Since I teach Kindergarten I record the information for my students as they respond. However, older students would definitely be able to record the information on their own or with guided help.
I keep all of the anchor charts handy so when I need to switch out a couple of the fiction for nonfiction elements I just is a pushpin to hang it right on top of whatever was there in that step. For example; if the week before we read a fiction book, but we then needed elements for a nonfiction book I may just pin the anchor chart for “photographer” right on top of the anchor chart for “illustrator”. That’s about as much prep or work that it takes from me once the Bulletin Board is set up for the year. I knew I needed something I would be consistent with and something I wouldn’t have to change or fuss with too much. I also keep a dry erase marker and eraser right on top of the board so I don’t have to walk to the other side of the room to get a marker and eraser (it took me a few times to finally learn that lesson).
To make it easy for all of my teacher friends out there, I have included everything needed for this Bulletin Board set in this Road Trip Story Map resource; anchor charts (full and half page), numbered cars, road cut outs, stop light cutouts, and Bulletin Board Letters. Click the image below to check out this resource in my TPT shop.
Thanks for stopping by and please if you use this resource in your class I would love to see it! Tag me on IG @thehappyteacherspalette