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 Fish in a Tree. Students should identify major turning points in the novel such as the Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

Fish in a Tree Plot Diagram Example

Exposition: Ally doesn’t like school. She is always getting into trouble and the work is just too hard. When she tries to read or write, the words seem to dance around and she just can’t do it. Her teacher doesn’t understand her and the mean girls make fun of her. Until one day, when her teacher goes on maternity leave, Ally’s world changes and it’s because of Mr. Daniels; he is not like the others. In fact, he is not like anyone Ally has ever met.

Rising Action: Mrs. Hall leaves to have a baby, and Mr. Daniels is Ally’s new teacher. Ally finds it more and more difficult to hide her struggles from him.

Climax: Mr. Daniels asks Ally questions about what it’s like when she reads and tells her that he’d like to have her tested for dyslexia. He begins helping Ally after school and teaches her how to play chess.

Falling Action: Mr. Daniels tells the class about the famous people who struggled with dyslexia. Ally’s classmates think it’s cool that Ally is like these famous people and everyone begins getting along - except for Shay. Ally becomes class president. Also, Albert confronts the bullies who have been beating up for a long time.

Resolution: Ally has gained confidence and Mr. Daniels offers to help Ally’s brother, Travis, learn to read.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a visual plot diagram of Fish in a Tree.

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 submit storyboard.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative Arcs

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/7/3] Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot)
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text


(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.

More Storyboard That Activities

Fish in a Tree

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