As students work on literature circles, I try to introduce ways of thinking about a text that can apply to multiple novels. One fun chart that we've been using lately is a chart that shows changes in a character's emotions. This kind of chart creates a neat visual summary of the emotional journey of a book. (Note: I didn't come up with this idea. I totally forget where it came from! I couldn't find any charts online, so I made a new one)
First we read the story Shortcut by Donald Crews. If you don't have this book on your mentor text shelf, it's certainly worth it! It works on many levels--as a personal narrative, a model of creating mood and suspense with sentence variety, and, as in this activity, a quick read aloud.
emotion word charts to do this! We created a map that showed the different emotions of the children in the book. (A few students decided to illustrate it during indoor recess.) If you've read Shortcut, you'll see that this really represents what happens--the kids start out happy and playing, are terrified as the train approaches, and end up relieved and subdued.
You can download the initial chart for Shortcut, as well as a blank form for any story, here at Slideshare.