“Autumn Gardening” Plot Diagram
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 9-10
Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)
Type of Assignment Individual or Group
Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative ArcsCommon Core Standards
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise
Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a novel with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell have students create a scene that follows the novel in the sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Example “Autumn Gardening” Plot Diagram
Mariko goes out into her yard in November to do some chores. She has received a letter from her friend Mitsuye who has asked her to come to an anniversary event of the Hiroshima bombings to tell her story.
Mariko is hesitant to agree to Mitsuye’s request. She has a lot of lingering survivor’s guilt, and she does not want to make her status as a survivor known. She’s afraid of losing her health insurance.
As Mariko sits in her yard, she remembers how she and her best friend Mitsuye had been on opposite sides of Hiroshima that day. Mariko blames the scarring on her face for why she never got married, and she feels a flood of fresh guilt at having survived.
Mariko almost trips over a garden rake her brother left in the garage and is overcome by emotions. She flashes back to that fateful day in August 1945, when she was a nurse and had to frantically triage victims of the bombing with dwindling supplies. Eventually, she had to choose between victims who looked like they could be saved, and those who could not.
Mariko continues reading the letter and a phrase stands out to her: “We can speak for the dead.” Mariko begins to wonder if that is why she survived, so she could give a voice to all of the people she watched die that day.
Mariko decides to weed out the garden beds for the spring, and to bear witness alongside Mitsuye next year. This opportunity, she feels, has given her a new purpose in life, just like the flowers will have new life in the spring.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)
Create a visual plot diagram of “Autumn Gardening”.
- Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
- Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
- Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.
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