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What is Setting?


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The authors
Team Digital
What is Setting?

Basics on the topic What is Setting?

What did you learn about setting?

Setting is where and when something takes place. Sometimes a setting even changes in a story! We can find the setting in a story by looking at the picture and looking for words like when and where.

Interested in learning more? Check out this interactive video and exercises to learn more about what is setting.

Transcript What is Setting?

: "What are you up to, Ari?" : "Oh, don't worry about it! You'll find out later." : "I hope nothing is wrong." It looks like Ari is busy writing something, but what could it be... oh! it looks like birthday invitations for Zayd's surprise party! But, it looks like Ari is missing some important information. Ari needs to let their friends know when and where the party will happen, but isn't sure how. Let's help them learn about setting so that they can send these invitations to their friends! Setting is when and where something happens in a story. Did you know that a story can have more than one setting? Setting can be WHERE something happens, like your school, your house... and even a time such as fall, summer, or three o'clock in the afternoon. The setting of a story can even CHANGE... like when a story starts in the day time, but ends at night... or if it starts in the summer and ends in winter! Now that we've learned a bit about setting, let's help Ari fill out their invitation cards! First Ari needs to tell WHEN the birthday party is happening. The word 'WHEN' tells us we are talking about the time the party is taking place. Sometimes the author gives us this information, but if not, we have to guess based on the pictures and words. Based on the picture, when do you think the party will happen? The sun is shining, the calender says Saturday, and, the clock says four o'clock... so the party will be at four o'clock on Saturday afternoon. Next, Ari needs to tell WHERE the birthday party is happening. The word 'WHERE' tells us we are talking about setting with place. The author sometimes gives us this information, but if not, we need to guess using the pictures and words. Based on this picture, where do you think Zayd's birthday will happen? This picture shows a lot of trees and flowers... so Zayd's party will take place in a forest! Before we see how the party is, let's review. Today we learned about setting. The setting of a story tells us WHEN and WHERE something happens. It can be a physical place, or a time of day... and the setting can change. Now, let's see how that surprise party turned out. : "SURPRISE!!!" : "WOW! All of this is for me?" : "Yes, happy birthday! Now, blow out the candles before the cake melts." : "Ari? A little help here?"

What is Setting? exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learned? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video What is Setting?.
  • Place or Time?


    Place means where a story takes place.

    Look for locations like a school or desert, and match them to the "Place" category.

    Time means when a story happens.

    Time can be at night, in the Summer, or at 5pm on July 19th!



    • The clock reading 3:00
    • The calendar showing October 3rd
    • The sun showing daytime
    • The island
    • The house
    • The tent in the forest

  • Use the clues to find out the setting.


    The whiteboard in the image tells you where the setting takes place.

    Can you guess where it is?

    The calendar and clock in the image tells you the time and day.

    What time does the clock read? Which day is circled on the calendar?


    The correct answer is School, Morning, April 4th.

    • The clock reads 8:00 am. This tells you it is morning.
    • The whiteboard tells you the story is set in a classroom. So, the setting is at a school.
    • April 4th is circled on the calendar. So, the day is April 4th.
  • Do you know these key words?


    Remember, setting includes the time and place a story happens.

    This is an example of Time.

    Can you guess the definition of time from the options above?

    Ari and Zayn are at the beach. The beach is an example of a place!

    • The setting is where and when a story takes place.
    • The time is when a story happens.
    • The place is where a story happens.
    • The character is who the story is about.
  • What's the story?



    Say which animals you see in the photo.


    Say what's happening in the photo. What are the characters doing?


    Are the characters on a mountain? At the beach?


    Is it day or night? What season do you think it is?


    Who: penguins and a seal

    • who = the characters in the story
    What: a party
    • what = the events that happen in the story
    Where: a hut on an iceberg
    • where = the place a story happens
    When: a winter day
    • when = the time the story happens

  • Use the clues below to find the setting.


    The 1st clue tells you about the time when the story takes place.

    What does a moon tells you about time?

    The 2nd and 3rd clues tell you the place where the story happens.

    In which image would you most likely find a tree and a tent?


    The correct answer is the campfire, shown above.

    This image matches the clues: night, forest, and campsite.

  • Read the story.


    Read the story again. Look for the time and place words that describe the main event in the story.

    The story is about Sven meeting Fluffy for the first time.

    The place in the story is where they meet.

    Time in a story can be a time of day, date, or season.

    Find the words in the text that tell you when Sven and Fluffy meet.


    The setting of the story is one evening in the forest.

    The story is about Sven meeting Fluffy. In the 3rd sentence, the story tells you the time and place that they meet.

    The story has other time and place words like "everyday" and "all over the land," but these do not describe where the main event of the story takes place.