Storyline Outlines

Storyline Outlines

1. Weslandia: A Storyline

by Colleen Vallerga

Based on the book, Weslandia, by Paul Fleischman

Grades 2-5

The story begins with Wesley, a boy who does not fit in and feels like an outcast.  He is bullied by his classmates and decides to escape the tormenting by creating his own civilization for his summer project.

As the teacher and students begin to explore the story, they observe Wesley’s magic garden come to life and create it in their classroom.  While the garden grows and Wesley begins to harvest his staple crop, the students step into the story as Wesley’s curious classmates.  They marvel at what Wesley is doing and decide to join in to help him establish his civilization. 

The classmates work with Wesley to create an economy, design a way to keep track of time, devise a numbering system, create games and musical instruments, and rename the constellations.  When challenges arise, the classmates help Wesley problem solve and find solutions. 

Finally, the classmates officially become fellow citizens of Weslandia.  Working together, the citizens create a written history of their new civilization and present it to others.

Wesley’s classmates recall what makes a civilization as they are challenged to create their own civilizations, reflecting who they are.  Students introduce their civilizations.

Total Number of Pages:  19

Curricular Focus Areas

     •Social Science:  Civics and Government,  Multicultural Studies,  Geography, Economics,  Historical Knowledge,                  Historical Thinking,  Social Science Analysis

     •Math: Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Number Operations in Base Ten

     •Science:  NGSS From Molecules to Organisms, Engineering Design, Earth’s Place in the Universe

     •Health: Promotion of Mental, Social and Emotional Health

     •Common Core Language Arts:  Reading Literature, Reading Informational Text, Speaking  and Listening, Writing,             Language

     •Oregon Department of Education Arts: Theater, Visual Arts, Music

Purchase this PDF Storyline Outline-$40

2. The Red Bicycle: A Storyline

by Colleen Vallerga (Revised 2020)

Based on the book, The Red Bicycle, by Jude Isabella      

As the story begins, a young boy named Leo is working hard to save money and buy a bicycle he admires at the local bike shop.  When he enters the shop to visit his future bike, the bike shop owner invites him to join her Bicycle Care and Safety Class for new bike owners.  She shows Leo photos of other children in his town who are also saving for a bike and taking the class. Leo decides to participate.  Students create characters for the future bike owners.  The photos and  characters reflect the diversity in Leo’s town.

Leo and the other children become friends while they are earning money to purchase their bikes and learning how to become responsible bike owners.

Leo and his friends earn the money they need and head to the bike shop to purchase their bikes. The bikes become an important part of the lives of the children. Leo’s friends describe their biking adventures and highlight the positive changes the bikes have made in their lives.

When Leo outgrows his bike, he decides to find a new home for Big Red in a place where he is really needed.  Leo’s friends explore the benefits of reuse and decide to donate their outgrown bikes.  The donated bicycles travel to West Africa to begin a new life.  Each bike finds a new owner and a new purpose in Africa.

Leo and his friends conduct simple research to learn about the new home of their bikes.  They read informational text about Burkina Faso and choose a topic that highlights the strengths and beauty of the land and people.  Leo’s friends record and share their information.

Leo’s friends follow the story of Big Red’s new life.  They tell the story of their bikes in Africa and the changes they have made in the lives of their new owners.  Leo’s friends discover how one bicycle can transform the lives of many.

Students educate others about the benefits of bicycles and the need for donated bikes. The Storyline concludes with a  bike-a-thon to raise money for used bikes.  Students donate the used bikes, locally, to a place where they are really needed.

Total Number of Pages:  21

Curricular Focus Areas

     •Social Science:  Multiculturalism, People, Places, and Environments, Global Awareness/

      Connections, Economics/Financial Literacy, Historical Knowledge, Historical Thinking,

      Social Science Analysis, Civics and Government,  Geography, Transportation

     •Math:  Money, Budgeting,  Number Operations in Base Ten

     •Science:  Motion and Stability, Forces and Interactions, Engineering Design, Earth and

      Human Activity, Reuse

     •Health:  Unintentional Injury Prevention, Promotion of Physical Activity              

     •Common Core Language Arts:  Reading Literature, Reading Informational Text, Speaking

       and Listening, Writing, Language

     •Oregon Department of Education Arts: Theater, Visual Arts

Purchase this PDF Storyline Outline-$40

3. Circus Olympus:  A Storyline

by Colleen Vallerga

Grades 1-5

Can the students help their local Ronald McDonald House raise needed money by creating a circus?  Students get to work creating a circus setting and finding a story/stories on which to to base their circus.  In this version, the Greek Myths are chosen and students begin an in-depth study of the myths.

Circus performer characters are created and needed circus skills are identified.  Daily rhythms are established and circus training begins.  Performers are trained in balance, juggling, magic tricks, and clowning.

As the Storyline continues, problems arise that the performers work to solve. 

After the circus training, the performers work in groups to combine their Greek Myths and circus skills into an enchanting circus act.  A ringmaster is selected and the acts are combined into a show.  Performers practice.  Performers advertise their circus, hoping to attract a large audience to raise needed funds for the Ronald McDonald House.

Circus Olympus comes to life.  The performers dazzle the audience with their show.  

Students donate the circus profits to the Ronald McDonald House.  They explore the value of community service as they discuss how community service benefits the givers, the receivers, and the community.

Note:  Teachers/students can choose a different community service project and/or story on which to base their circus and easily substitute the changes into their Storyline.

Total Number of Pages:  37

Curricular Focus Areas

  •Service Learning:  Community Service

  •Social Science: Social Science Analysis

  •Science:  NGSS Motion and Stability, Energy, Gravity, Matter and Its Interactions

  •Health: Promotion of Physical Activity, Unintentional Injury Prevention 

  •Common Core Language Arts:  Reading Literature, Reading Informational Text, Speaking 

    and Listening, Writing

  •Oregon Department of Education Arts: Theater, Visual Arts, Music, Dance

Purchase this PDF Storyline Outline-$40

4. My Heart is a Compass: A Storyline

by Colleen Vallerga

Based on the book, My Heart is a Compass by Deborah Marcero

Grades 1-3

As the story begins, an adventurous young girl begins a search for something that has never been found to bring to show and tell.  Rose gathers her prized possessions around her for inspiration and starts thinking.  She realizes that she needs to design her own maps to guide her as she searches for this rare treasure.  

As readers of the book, the students begin to interact with the story.  They explore Rose’s prized possessions and create a map of her face, cat, and heart.  The readers identify themselves by sharing their own prized possessions and mapping their faces, families, hearts and pets. 

As the story continues, Rose uses her imagination, with her heart as a compass, to design one map at a time and travel in search of her treasure.  In each of Rose’s lands the readers find a blueprint of her imagination alive with her favorite possessions.  The readers travel through her lands and connect with with the story as they follow her routes, make discoveries, and explore Rose’s imaginings though various drama/writing responses.  Rose’s travels spark the readers’ imaginations in thought-provoking ways.  Through out the journey, the teacher weaves in a study of mapping skills, landforms, and landmarks.  Readers practice mapping skills and create maps of their own. 

After searching high and low, Rose completes her journey empty handed.  She brings her maps for show and tell and shares her quest with her fellow students.  From their responses, she realizes that her search was not in vain. Through her imaginative mapmaking, she has happened upon the special something no one has ever seen or heard of before.  Her maps are the rare treasure she has been searching for.

As the book draws to a close, the students in Rose’s class as well as the readers are challenged with,  

“Where will you go?”  

The students accept the challenge and create their own maps designed by their own imaginations.  Maps include prized possessions, favorite animals, food, art, stories, treasures, etc.  Map features, landforms, and landmarks are incorporated.  Students compose a narrative tour of their map, telling the imaginative story of their unique land.  

Students journey, together, through each land.  Guided by the narrative tours, they explore and make discoveries along the way.

When the journey ends, guests are invited to a tour and celebration of the new lands.

Total Number of Pages:  20

Curricular Focus Areas

Common Core Language Arts:  Reading Literature, Reading

  Informational Text, Speaking  and Listening, Writing, Language

Social Science:  Geography

Science:  Compass—Magnetic Science

Oregon Department of Education Arts: Theater, Visual Arts, Music

Purchase this PDF Storyline Outline-$40

5. Old Rock: A Storyline

by Colleen Vallerga

Based on the book, Old Rock (is not boring) by Deb Pilutti.

Grades K-3

As the story begins, Old Rock’s neighbors are wondering if the life of a rock might be terribly boring.  Old Rock sets out to prove them wrong as he tells the story of his long life and many adventures. 

Old Rock’s story begins when he, and his rock friends, burst from a volcano 1.8 million years ago.  In the course of their lives, Old Rock and his friends travel through the time of dinosaurs and the Ice Age, to the years when the mastodons roamed the earth.  All along the way, students witness Old Rock’s amazing adventures and enhance the story though the eyes of their own adventurous rock. 

Science and reading inquiry centers provide the opportunity for students to investigate and extend their learning as they move through time.  Construction, art, writing, and music centers allow students to explore, create, and use their imaginations as they delve into the distinctive features of each epoch.

When students discover that the life of a rock is far from boring, they devise a means to spread this knowledge to others.  They present their findings, highlighting the exciting life of Old Rock and his rock friends.

Total Number of Pages:  19

Curricular Focus Areas

•Common Core Language Arts:  Reading Literature, Reading Informational Text, Speaking and Listening, Writing, Language

Next Generation Science:  Eight Scientific Practices, Matter and its Interactions, Earth’s Place in the Universe, Earth’s Systems, Engineering Design, From Molecules to Organisms,  Biological Evolution, Energy

•Common Core Math:  Measurement and Data

•Oregon Department of Education Arts: Theater, Visual Arts, Music

•Oregon Department of Education Social Science:  Historical Knowledge, Historical Thinking


Purchase this PDF Storyline Outline-$40