Narrative arcs and the prototypical “Plot Diagram” are essential for building literary comprehension and appreciation. Plot diagrams allow students to pick out major themes in the text, trace changes to major characters over the course of the narrative, and hone their analytic skills. Lessons emphasizing these skills meet many Common Core Standards for English Language Arts (CCSS.ELA-Literacy). The concepts not only give students a fuller understanding of classroom texts, but also their favorite books and movies.
The exposition is the introduction to a story, including the primary characters' names, setting, mood, and time.
The conflict is the primary problem that drives the plot of the story, often a main goal for the protagonist to achieve or overcome.
The rising action of the story is all of the events that lead to the eventual climax, including character development and events that create suspense.
The climax is the most exciting point of the story, and is a turning point for the plot or goals of the main character.
The falling action is everything that happens as a result of the climax, including wrapping-up of plot points, questions being answered, and character development.
The resolution is not always happy, but it does complete the story. It can leave a reader with questions, answers, frustration, or satisfaction.
By plotting simple narrative arcs in three-cell storyboards, or more complicated stories in six-cell boards, teachers can easily assess students’ understanding of important story components. Combined illustrations and text can enliven difficult concepts like “rising action” and “climax”.
Making storyboards that explain a plot bring students' understanding to life! It's an engaging and fun way for students to interact with the texts they read in class. The details and characters featured in students’ storyboards allow instructors to immediately determine whether students comprehend the scope of the objectives. For narrative arcs for younger grades or other plot diagram templates, make sure to check out "Four Innovative Ways to Teach Parts of a Story".
Some fun ways to teach this lesson using Storyboard That:
Analyzing a literary work with a plot diagram fulfills Common Core ELA standards for many age groups. Below are only two examples of ELA standards for different levels. Please see your Common Core State Standards for grade-appropriate strands.
Within special education there are varying degrees of abilities, including students who may have disabilities that have a minimal impact on their cognitive abilities. Those students for whatever reason may still be in a special education setting but won’t necessarily need significant modifications on something like a plot diagram. For the students that require minimal assistance, a blank plot diagram with very little or no information completed may be the way to go. As the creator of the storyboard, the teacher can control just what information is provided and decide how much he wants to guide his students. Use the templates above as they are, or make slight adjustments to the templates.
Some students will need a little more guidance when it comes to a plot diagram. Students who struggle with reading comprehension may have difficulty picking out the different parts of a story. Often times details of the story can be lost in translation, so to speak. That is where a plot diagram with some leading information can be helpful. Incorporating the visual aspect into the storyboard prior to asking the students to complete the plot diagram gives them “clues” as to what they are looking for when completing the diagram. The visuals act as context clues for students so they can focus their energy on the appropriate information, as seen in the Holes Plot Diagram.