Grade 2

Planning Your Story

Empowered Learner
Shows popplet visual map about Earth


Students should begin at a young age to plan out their stories before they write them. In second grade, students should be expected to be able to write a beginning, middle and end for their story. There are resources that make the brainstorming task engaging for students so they get in the habit of mind mapping out their story or essay. 

This activity will most likely take several class periods. 

Students will:

  • Be able to create a short story with a beginning, middle and end.
  • Be able to map out the story ahead of time. 
  • Understand the mind mapping process.
  • Be able to explain to others the three parts using the mind map. 

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Brainstorming: Brainstorming is creative thinking to come up with new ideas. 
  2. Mind Mapping: A graphic or picture to show and organize ideas. 

To prepare for this lesson:

  • There are several very good sites for students to use to learn how to mind map their story ideas. Visit the two below and decide which one would work best for your students. 

    • MindMup - MindMup is a mind-mapping creation tool that lets you create unlimited mind maps. Everything you create on MindMup is stored online for you to access anytime, anywhere and across different devices. 

    • Popplet - (Popplet is no longer free but you can create one Popplet and reuse it) Popplet is an extremely easy to use mind mapping tool for the PC and iPad. Students can easily add text, images, videos, color and move the Popples around the screen. Watch the video tutorial to see how easy it is! Students will need individual accounts for Popplet. 

      • One thing you may notice is that the popples will have the student name on every popple. Since Popplet is a collaborative tool this lets the teacher know which student created the popple if they are collaborating together on a project. To turn this feature off go to Settings (the blue wheel)> View>hide nametags. 



See the Accommodations Page and Charts on the 21things4students website in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity:

  1. Tell the students they will be brainstorming a short story with a beginning. middle and end. 
  2. Students will use MindMup or Popplet to create a mind map to organize their story. 
  3. Students will need to create four or more bubbles to put their ideas in. 
  4. Students can create a main bubble with the title of the story and or the main idea. From that bubble, they can create bubbles to indicate what should occur in the beginning, middle and end of the story. 
    1. Beginning - Who are the characters and what is the setting?
    2. Middle - What happens to the characters?
    3. End - How are the characters different than they were at the beginning of the story?

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • The teacher can have the students print their mind maps. 
  • The students can share with a writing partner their story and get peer feedback on their mind map. 
  • Teachers can use a short rubric to determine if students have accomplished mapping out the beginning, middle and end of the story. 

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Empowered Learner 
1a. Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
1c. Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad 

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

App, Extension, or Add-on:
Popplet Lite ioS




Popplet Video Tutorial



Students mind map short stories with a beginning, middle and end. 

Students mind map ideas for an art project. 

Students mind map and organize simple science experiments. 

Students mind map historical events. 

This task card was created by Melissa White, 21 Things Project Manager, REMC Association of Michigan, February 2018. Updated October 2023.