I don’t subscribe to many blogs, but I am in love with Ms. Noren’s My Life As a Fifth Grade Teacher.  She always has a fresh idea she’s using in her classroom that gets me excited about education all over again.

Love Heart rainbow

Recently, she featured a strange acronym for helping kids follow the trail of a story’s plot.  It’s called


It stands for






And it’s a great little mnemonic for remembering these questions:

Somebody… (Who is the main character?)

Wanted…  (What are they trying to achieve?)

But….  (What stands in their way? What conflict or obstacle must be overcome?)

So…. (How did the character solve the problem?)

Then… (How was the story resolved?)

I created this little guide sheet to hang up and remind students what questions to ask…

(You can click on the graphic to go straight to the download)

We’re using this in our “Let’s Talk Lit” year-long study of genres, and on our book summary bookmarks to help keep track of the plots of books we read.  Let me know how you incorporate SWBST in your teaching!



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