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Somebody Wanted But So Then Activities

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Somebody-Wanted-But-So-Then is a summary structure that enables students to carefully review the details of a story. These activities will give you a chance to engage elementary students with one another as they learn and apply this summary strategy.

Somebody-Wanted-But-So-Then Activities

Elementary students may struggle with creating succinct but complete summaries. The Somebody-Wanted-But-So-Then (SWBST) summary structure is a great place to start developing this important skill. Scaffold the instruction by using activities that engage students with the material and with their peers to help them apply their knowledge. In addition, each activity can serve as an informal assessment tool so that you know if students are ready to move forward with the next concept.

Mix and Match

Before guiding students through the process of creating their own summary, engage them in this activity to help them understand and apply the concept to familiar stories.

  1. Select a short story or fairy tale that students may already be somewhat familiar to students.
  2. Ask students to share with partners or teams a quick summary of the story details from memory.
  3. Read the story to students or have them read with a partner.
  4. Show students the SWBST organizer and explain how to complete it.
  5. Provide students with sentences that fit into each of the organizer sections.
  6. Have student teams place the sentences in the correct location on the organizer.
  7. Check student work and provide additional support or explanation, if needed.
  8. Assign student partners and then repeat the steps with a short, unfamiliar story to ensure understanding.
  9. If necessary, repeat the steps with a third story to provide students an opportunity for independent practice.

Note: Consider utilizing pictures instead of word answers for primary grades.

Materials: three short stories or fairy tales, SWBST graphic organizers, answers on separate strips of paper

I Am Somebody

The ''somebody'' portion of this summarizing structure may seem like the easiest one. However, most stories have several ''somebodies'' to choose from. Support student understanding and application by incorporating this interactive activity.

  1. Split students into five separate teams.
  2. Provide each team with a different short story summary paragraph and an SWBST organizer.
  3. Have teams identify all the characters in their summary. Have them use markers to write the character names in random order on a sheet of paper with letters a, b, c, d or numbers 1, 2, 3, 4.
  4. Ask teams to identify the character that should be placed in the ''somebody'' column on their graphic organizer. Check to ensure they have the correct response before moving onto the next step.
  5. For each story, do the following:

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