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 a 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 Mike's story in Echo. Students should identify major turning points in Mike's story such as the Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution


Mike's Story

Exposition: Mike Flannery and his brother Frankie lived in Bishop's orphanage in Philly in 1935. They had a loving mother who died while they were young and were raised by their grandmother until she too fell ill. She sent them to Bishop's because it had a piano that they could play. However, the headmistress was the unscrupulous and corrupt Mrs. Pennyweather.

Conflict: Mrs. Pennyweather planned to send younger orphans away, preferring older boys who could work so she could pocket the money. Mike was afraid he and Frankie would be split up. Their luck changed when a lawyer, Mr. Howard, arrived looking for a boy who could play piano. Mike was a prodigy and he and Frankie wowed the lawyer. Mr. Howard adopted them on the spot for the wealthy Mrs. Sturbridge. But Mrs. Sturbridge seemed very upset by the idea.

Rising Action: Mrs. Sturbridge ignored the boys despite their best efforts. Mr. and Mrs. Potter, the grounds and housekeeper, helped care for them. Mr. Potter taught them to play harmonica after Mr. Howard bought them one. Finally, the truth was revealed that Mrs. Sturbridge was being forced to adopt the boys because of a wish in her late father's will. She had tragically lost her own son and was still grieving. Mike begged her to adopt Frankie. He would audition for a famous harmonica band so she wouldn't have to worry about him.

Climax: Mrs. Sturbridge appeared to agree to Mike's deal to adopt Frankie. They began bonding, calling her Aunt Eunie. She even played the piano again, something she stopped after the death of her son. Mike auditioned for the band and impressed them with his talent. However, he found a letter to Eunice revoking the adoption! Mike was devastated and decided to run away with Frankie in the middle of the night so that they wouldn't be separated. In their attempt to flee, Mike fell from a high tree!

Falling Action: It turned out Mrs. Sturbridge did want to adopt both of the boys. She burned the letter to prove it. They all moved in together with Mr. Howard and Mr. and Mrs. Potter and lived happily. Mike made it into the Harmonica Band and played with them for a year. Then, he decided to concentrate on piano and gave his harmonica to a group that was collecting them for the poor. Mike felt it was his duty to pass the special harmonica along.

Resolution: Mike pursued his dream of being a concert pianist and was accepted at the prestigious Julliard after high school. During WWII, he joined the army but after his tour, he returned to music. At the end of the story, in 1951, Mike plays a piano solo at Carnegie Hall in New York city with his supportive family, Aunt Eunie, Frankie, and Mr. Howard in the audience cheering him on.

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 for Mike's story in Echo.

Student Instructions:

  1. Separate the story into the Title, Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.

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/W/6/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.
  • [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.

Image Attributions
  • 3611562 • mohamed_hassan • License Free for Most Commercial Use / No Attribution Required / See for what is not allowed
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