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Activity Overview

Creating a plot diagram not only helps students learn the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and helps students develop greater understanding of literary structures. Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. In this activity, students will create a visual plot diagram of major events in Beyond the Bright Sea. Students should identify major turning points in the novel such as the Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

Beyond the Bright Sea Plot Diagram Example

Exposition: Set in the early 1900s on one of the Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts, this story is about a 12 year old girl named Crow. Set out to sea on a small boat as a baby, Crow was taken in by a solitary man named Osh. She is determined to learn about her past, her family, and herself.

Rising Action: Osh gives Crow the ring and the note that was attached to her when he found her as a baby. The note gives clues to her past. Crow, Osh, and Miss Maggie go to Penikese Island where Crow was born to try to learn more. Crow sees the gravestone with lamb on it and the name Morgan.

Climax: After reaching out to the doctor and the nurse who worked with the lepers on Penikese Island, Crow learns who her parents are and that they said she was stillborn. She also learns she has an older brother named Jason.

Falling Action: After learning that there is treasure on Penikese that was buried by her mother, Crow, Osh, and Miss Maggie dig up the lamb gravestone and find a trunk of jewels, gems, and jewelry. Crow hides them in different locations and they are robbed.

Resolution: The robber, Mr. Kramer, is caught, and Crow is at peace knowing about her past. She realizes the importance of the family that she does have, and feels grateful for her life.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a visual plot diagram of Beyond the Bright Sea.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Separate the story into the Title, Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  3. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  4. Write a short description of each of the examples in the plot diagram.
  5. Save and exit when you're done.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/3] Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/4/2] Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/2] Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/5] Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Plot Diagram Rubric
Create a visual Plot Diagram that summarizes the story. The storyboard should have six cells: Title, Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. Below each cell, type in a description of that part of the story.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Cells include images that help to tell the story and do not get in the way of understanding. Descriptions match the images.
Descriptions do not always match the images.
Descriptions are missing or do not match the images.
Each of the six cells represents a different part of the story. The cells are in order from beginning to end.
Two cells or fewer are out of order, or the storyboard is missing important information.
Important information is missing and/or three or more cells are out of order.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar is mostly accurate. Mistakes do not get in the way of understanding.
Spelling is very inaccurate and hinders full understanding.
Text is difficult to understand.

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