Cluster 1: Key Ideas and Details

General Information
Number: LAFS.6.RL.1
Title: Key Ideas and Details
Type: Cluster
Subject: English Language Arts
Grade: 6
Strand: Reading Standards for Literature

Related Standards

This cluster includes the following benchmarks.

Related Access Points

This cluster includes the following access points.

Access Points

LAFS.6.RL.1.AP.1a
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly.
LAFS.6.RL.1.AP.1b
Use specific details from the text (words, interactions, thoughts, motivations) to support inferences or conclusions about characters, including how they change during the course of the story.
LAFS.6.RL.1.AP.1c
Use the specific details from the text to support inferences and explanations about plot development.
LAFS.6.RL.1.AP.2a
Select key details about a character and relate those details to a theme within the text.
LAFS.6.RL.1.AP.2b
Determine the theme(s) of a story, drama or poem, including how it is conveyed through particular details.
LAFS.6.RL.1.AP.2c
Summarize a text from beginning to end in a few sentences without including personal opinions.
LAFS.6.RL.1.AP.3a
Describe how the plot unfolds in a story.
LAFS.6.RL.1.AP.3b
Analyze a character’s interactions throughout a story as they relate to conflict and resolution.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this topic.

Lesson Plans

Narrative Writing: A Lesson Learned the Hard Way in “Thank You, M’am”:

In this lesson, students will read Langston Hughes’ short story “Thank You, M’am,” analyzing the impact of plot and character in developing the story’s theme. After reading the story, students will use details gathered from the text to write a narrative that predicts/portrays what would occur if the characters met again.

Type: Lesson Plan

Narrative Writing: Climate Change and “The Sand Castle”:

In this lesson, students will view a video about climate change, read and analyze a short story depicting the effects of climate change, and write their own narratives sending a message to their readers about the impact of climate change.

Type: Lesson Plan

Views on Freedom: Part 1 of 3:

This lesson is the first in a series of three focusing on the importance of freedom. In this lesson, students begin with a journal entry about freedom. Students then read two poems - "Words Like Freedom" (originally titled "Refugee in America") by Langston Hughes and "Sympathy" by Paul Laurence Dunbar - analyzing each poem according to literary and poetic elements. Text questions, a poetry chart, sample answer keys, and a PowerPoint are included.  

Type: Lesson Plan

"The Scribe": A Close Reading Lesson:

This close reading lesson focuses on identifying theme in the short story, "The Scribe" by Kristin Hunter. The lesson incorporates information on the Great Depression and allows students to make a cross-curricular connection between history and language arts. Students will define unfamiliar words using context clues, analyze story elements, and identify stated and implied themes.

Type: Lesson Plan

A Close Reading: An Excerpt from A Corner of the Universe:

In this lesson, students will conduct three close readings of an excerpt from A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin. This lesson will engage students in a thought-provoking text that will challenge students to explore how a character's point of view can influence how events are described and shape a text. In conjunction with point of view, students will have opportunities to use context clues to define selected vocabulary words within the text. Upon completion of the close reading activities, students will practice their narrative writing skills by creating an original dialogue between the main character and her mother. A rubric specific to the writing task is included along with guided reading questions and sample responses.

Type: Lesson Plan

Philosophical Chairs with Tom Sawyer:

In this lesson, students will close read a short section (chapter 23) of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, gathering and organizing evidence to collaboratively defend a position with textual support in a debate-style activity. They will use this experience to assist with the creation of an extended written response addressing the development of theme in Twain's novel, this time citing evidence in writing to support their assertions.

Type: Lesson Plan

Action Is Character: Exploring Character Traits with Adjectives:

Students gain a deeper understanding of characters from a novel they have read by creating charts linking characters' actions with the characters' traits. Then they explore adjectives that describe character traits using a variety of resources. Next, students use their analysis of the characters and their knowledge of adjectives to create descriptive lists for three other characters from the point of view of one particular character. Finally, they play a game in which the class tries to identify which character is described by the students' adjective lists. This activity is effective using any story with rich characterization.

Type: Lesson Plan

Action is Character/Exploring Character Traits with Adjectives:

This lesson allows students to explore characters and their traits through a series of exercises using text evidence. Both printed materials and online organizers are provided. The final culminating activity asks students to "become" a character and describe himself/herself as well as describing other characters. Students then guess which character is being described.

Type: Lesson Plan

Book Talks for Beginners:

In this lesson, students will learn how to create and present a PowerPoint about a personal novel selection. Students will use their background knowledge about story elements to create an advertisement about a book they have read or are currently reading. A rubric will serve as a checklist for the creation and evaluation of the PowerPoint.

Type: Lesson Plan

Childhood Rememberances: Life and Art Intersect in Nikki GIovani's "Nikki-Rosa":

In her poem "Nikki-Rosa," Nikki Giovanni describes specific moments from her childhood. The images she recalls are more than biographical details; they are evidence to support her premise that growing up black doesn't always mean growing up in hardship. Adapted from Carol Jago's Nikki Giovanni in the Classroom, this lesson invites students to explore what Jago calls the place "where life and art intersect" by carefully reading and discussing Giovanni's poem. They explore their own childhood memories using an interactive tool and then write about these memories, using Giovanni's poem as a model.

Type: Lesson Plan

"Breaking the Code" to Central Idea:

This lesson challenges students to use strategies of "chunking" and "text coding" to identify the central or main idea of passages, both informational and literary. The end result is a written summary that explains the processes they used.

Type: Lesson Plan

Narrative Retelling: The Enchanted Raisin:

This three-block lesson includes an interactive collaborative vocabulary activity, a guided read of the short story "The Enchanted Raisin," and culminates in a narrative storyboard planning activity and creation of a picture book with the goal of retelling the story to a younger audience.

Type: Lesson Plan

A Room with a View: Which Characters Reached their Peak Potential in The View from Saturday?:

In this lesson, students will compare two characters from the novel, The View from Saturday, analyzing how many of their physical and emotional needs were met by the time the story ends. This determination will be reached by using Abraham Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" as a guide. Students will also explore the influence of gender on how many human needs are reached in someone's lifetime. As a summative assessment, students will compare two characters from the novel, identifying the needs each character fulfilled and interpreting their findings in the form of a written analysis. Students will use their analysis and comparison as the basis for an informal class debate.

Type: Lesson Plan

Conflict Drives the Plot:

The objective of this lesson is to review and reinforce the elements of a short story. The importance of the conflict is emphasized to show how it fuels the action of the story to keep it moving toward the resolution. The setting and characters are also important elements that affect what happens. The students will use a variety of illustrations, sentence descriptions, and a quote from the story to portray the action chronologically in a plot diagram. The students will also write a paragraph explaining how the conflict drives the plot toward the resolution using support from the text.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Secret Life Continues: An Analytical Extension of the Secret Life of Walter Mitty:

Students read James Thurber's short story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." They will read closely to analyze text structure. The lesson will culminate with them creating their own daydreams for Walter Mitty.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reciprocal Teaching Strategies in Poetry: "The Copper Kettle Sweetheart":

In this lesson, students will use the four core reading strategies of predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarizing to develop comprehension skills through the use of poetry.

Type: Lesson Plan

A Poignant Passage about the Middle Passage:

In this lesson, students will explore what makes a passage poignant by analyzing an important chapter from the historical fiction novel, The Slave Dancer, by Paula Fox. In cooperative groups, they will use their knowledge of figurative language, conflict, theme, and characterization to identify a passage that has high emotional impact, while better understanding one of the most tragic human experiences: the journey along the Middle Passage during the slave trade. As culminating assessments, students will present their group's textual analysis to the class and write an extended response to the text.

Type: Lesson Plan

Storm Window Treatments:

Students will be asked to analyze a given set of data to determine the best storm window treatments for a local company to use when building a new homes. Students will be asked to write a letter to the company explaining how they ranked the storm window treatments.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Close Reading Exemplar: "The Great Fire":

The goal of this three day exemplar is to give students the opportunity to use the reading and writing habits they've been practicing on a regular basis to explore the historic Great Fire of Chicago. By reading and rereading the passage closely combined with classroom discussion about it, students will explore the historical truths related to poverty, city construction, and city services that led to the disaster. In this reading, students learn about historical disasters, but they may not fully comprehend causes or how human actions, nature, or even luck contributed to them, rendering history a flat subject to be memorized rather than explored. When combined with writing about the passage and teacher feedback, students will better understand the dangers inherent in cities and the government role in mitigating that danger.

Type: Lesson Plan

Counting down from 11: Analysis of Point of View in "Eleven" by Sandra Cisneros:

In this lesson, students create their own definitions of a child and a tween and use their definitions to guide their reading of the short story "Eleven" by Sandra Cisernos. After collecting text evidence, students will develop their own argument about the point of view of the narrator in the story through discussion and writing. In the closing activity, students will also write a found poem.

Type: Lesson Plan

Discovering the Central Message through Paul Revere's Midnight Message:

Students will demonstrate their understanding of the central message of "Paul Revere's Ride," (ATOS 5.7) through the skill of taking marginal notes. The summative assessment will entail students selecting three quotes from the poem, illustrating them, and then providing a written explanation of each quote and its significance to the central message of the poem.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Rise of the Mongoose: Analyzing Character Confrontations in "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi":

In this lesson, students will study the short story "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" by Rudyard Kipling. Students will analyze the confrontations that drive the story's plot, noting what happens and who is involved, how Rikki's character is developed through each confrontation, and how each confrontation helps develop the plot. A copy of the story is included with the lesson, as well as a text discussion guide for teachers, comprehension questions, a vocabulary key, a graphic organizer and key, and an optional rubric for the summative assessment. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Twisted Predictions:

Using the short story "The Elsewhere Boutique" by Neal Shusterman, students will stop at various points during the story, compose a prediction and cite their evidence from the text. After discussion with peers, students will hang on tight through this twisted story to find out if their predictions were correct!

Type: Lesson Plan

Views on Freedom: Part 2 of 3:

In this second part of a three-part unit, students first read a nonfiction article by Nelson Mandela about freedom and fill out a rhetorical triangle and an outline to help them understand and process the key points and supporting details. Students will also read and analyze the folk tale "The People Could Fly" for its use of figurative language and literary elements using a chart similar to the poetry chart from Lesson #1. Text-dependent questions for both texts have also been included. In the closure activity students will compare and contrast these texts with a poem they read in the first lesson in the unit as to how each text approaches the topic of freedom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorials

Understanding Plot: Part 2:

In the second part of this 2-part tutorial series, you'll analyze the plot of Cinderella in order to review the parts of the plot diagram. 

Make sure to complete Part One before beginning Part Two. Click HERE to launch "Understanding Plot: Part One."

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Understanding Plot: Part 1:

In the first part of this two-part tutorial series, you'll learn about the parts of the plot diagram. In Part Two, you'll use this information to help you analyze the plot of the story of Cinderella.

Make sure to complete both parts of this series. Click HERE to view "Understanding Plot: Part 2."

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Analyzing Events and Characters in the Beginning of Stargirl:

Learn how characters' actions and responses develop the main characters and advance the plot during key events in the beginning of the novel Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli with this interactive tutorial.

 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

A Crooked Election: Character & Story Development:

Read a story called “A Crooked Election" and learn to describe how the plot of a story unfolds in a series of episodes. In this interactive tutorial, you will also explore how the characters change and evolve throughout the plot of a story.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

A Closer Look: Understanding Themes in Poetry:

Practice identifying themes in poetry and how they're conveyed to readers. In this interactive tutorial, you'll practice identifying the examples of imagery and diction within several classic poems. These include "The Guest House" by Rumi, "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost, and "Take Home a Smile" by Edgar Guest. You'll examine how authors use both imagery and diction to help express their intended theme.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Stand Tall: Using Evidence to Support Your Answers:

Learn how to analyze what a literary text states directly and indirectly. In this tutorial, you will learn how to support conclusions based on what is directly and/or indirectly stated in a text.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Mission Possible: Finding the Theme:

Learn the difference between summarizing a story and describing its theme. In this interactive tutorial, you'll practice summarizing the important details of a fiction text. Then, you'll practice describing the theme of the text in your own words.  

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Teaching Idea

The Lightning Thief Novel Study:

This is a complete unit covering The Lightning Thief. It includes a chapter by chapter study with a strong emphasis on vocabulary and detail.

Type: Teaching Idea

Tutorials

Hero's Journey:

In this tutorial from ReadWriteThink, you will learn about the hero's journey, an ancient story pattern that can be found in texts from thousands of years ago to newly released Hollywood blockbusters. This interactive tool will provide you with the background of the hero's journey and give you a chance to explore several of the journey's key elements. Also, you can use the tool to record examples from a hero's journey you have read or viewed or to plan out a hero's journey of your own.

Type: Tutorial

Literary Elements Map:

In this tutorial from ReadWriteThink, students will use a set of graphic organizers to focus on the key elements of literature, such as character, setting, conflict, and resolution development for the text they are reading. After completing individual sections or the entire organizer, the student will also have the ability to print out the final versions for feedback and assessment.

Type: Tutorial

Unit/Lesson Sequences

Using "The Bully" by Paul Langan to Teach Tolerance:

This unit plan uses the book "The Bully" by Paul Langan, which is from the Bluford series, to teach tolerance. There are a plethora of resources and activities including graphic organizers, reflective journals, and reader's theater. Students work together to gain an understanding of the effects of bullying and an awareness of this important issue.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

A Study of "America Street: A Multicultural Anthology of Stories":

This is a sixth grade unit using the collection of short stories in "America Street: A Multicultural Anthology of Stories" by Anne Mazer. Students will examine point of view, multiple perspectives, character development, and setting in these varied texts. This unit includes a complete packet with graphic organizers, a pacing guide, and an assessment with answer key and possible student responses.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Investigating a Mystery in "Chasing Vermeer":

This sixth grade unit is based on the mystery novel Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. Students will analyze clues and motives, study plot, and make predictions while learning about the artist Johannes Vermeer. It includes a complete packet with creative activities, graphic organizers, a pacing guide, and an assessment with answer key and possible student responses.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

A Study of Science and Fantasy Fiction in A Wrinkle in Time:

This is a sixth grade unit on the sci-fi novel A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. Students will examine the characteristics of scientific and futuristic fiction including vocabulary, setting, and plot development. This unit includes a complete packet with graphic organizers, a pacing guide, and an assessment with answer key and possible student responses.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Exploring Verse Novels with "Keeping the Night Watch" and "Chess Rumble" :

This is a sixth grade unit on the verse novels Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith and Chess Rumble by G. Neri. This unit explores narrative and lyric poetry, figurative language, author's purpose, voice, and symbolism. It includes games, graphic organizers, and a complete student packet, and includes a pacing guide and assessment with sample student answers.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Figurative Language and Author's Purpose in "Home of the Brave" by Katherine Applegate:

This is a sixth grade unit on the verse novel Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate. This unit explores narrative and lyric poetry, figurative language, author's purpose, voice, and symbolism. It is rich with games, graphic organizers, and a complete student packet and includes a pacing guide and assessment with sample student answers.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Drawing Conclusions and Solving Mysteries in “Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy”:

This is a sixth grade unit on the mystery novel Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy by Wendelin Van Draanen. Students will analyze characters, study the plot, make predictions, and draw conclusions to solve a mystery in this forensic-themed unit. This unit includes a complete packet with graphic organizers, a pacing guide, and an assessment with answer key and possible student responses.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Analyzing Characters and Making Predictions in "Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief":

This is a sixth grade unit on the mystery novel Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen. Students will analyze characters, study the plot, and make predictions in this forensic-themed unit. This unit includes a complete packet with graphic organizers, a pacing guide, and an assessment with answer key and possible student responses.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

"The House on Mango Street": A Short Story Unit Examining Point of View, Perspective, and Plot:

This is a sixth grade unit using the short stories in The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros to identify point of view, interpret a character's perspective, and utilize plot elements to retell a story. This unit includes several graphic organizers, an assessment, and an answer key with sample responses.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Analyzing the Mystery Novel "The Westing Game" by Ellen Raskin:

This is a sixth grade unit on the mystery novel "The Westing Game" by Ellen Raskin. Students will analyze the character's motives, identify clues to solve the mystery, make predictions about the conclusion, and identify 'red herrings'. This unit on detective fiction includes a complete packet with graphic organizers, a pacing guide, and an assessment with answer key.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Original Student Tutorials

Understanding Plot: Part 2:

In the second part of this 2-part tutorial series, you'll analyze the plot of Cinderella in order to review the parts of the plot diagram. 

Make sure to complete Part One before beginning Part Two. Click HERE to launch "Understanding Plot: Part One."

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Understanding Plot: Part 1:

In the first part of this two-part tutorial series, you'll learn about the parts of the plot diagram. In Part Two, you'll use this information to help you analyze the plot of the story of Cinderella.

Make sure to complete both parts of this series. Click HERE to view "Understanding Plot: Part 2."

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Analyzing Events and Characters in the Beginning of Stargirl:

Learn how characters' actions and responses develop the main characters and advance the plot during key events in the beginning of the novel Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli with this interactive tutorial.

 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

A Crooked Election: Character & Story Development:

Read a story called “A Crooked Election" and learn to describe how the plot of a story unfolds in a series of episodes. In this interactive tutorial, you will also explore how the characters change and evolve throughout the plot of a story.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

A Closer Look: Understanding Themes in Poetry:

Practice identifying themes in poetry and how they're conveyed to readers. In this interactive tutorial, you'll practice identifying the examples of imagery and diction within several classic poems. These include "The Guest House" by Rumi, "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost, and "Take Home a Smile" by Edgar Guest. You'll examine how authors use both imagery and diction to help express their intended theme.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Stand Tall: Using Evidence to Support Your Answers:

Learn how to analyze what a literary text states directly and indirectly. In this tutorial, you will learn how to support conclusions based on what is directly and/or indirectly stated in a text.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Mission Possible: Finding the Theme:

Learn the difference between summarizing a story and describing its theme. In this interactive tutorial, you'll practice summarizing the important details of a fiction text. Then, you'll practice describing the theme of the text in your own words.  

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Tutorial

Hero's Journey:

In this tutorial from ReadWriteThink, you will learn about the hero's journey, an ancient story pattern that can be found in texts from thousands of years ago to newly released Hollywood blockbusters. This interactive tool will provide you with the background of the hero's journey and give you a chance to explore several of the journey's key elements. Also, you can use the tool to record examples from a hero's journey you have read or viewed or to plan out a hero's journey of your own.

Type: Tutorial

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this topic.