Activity Overview

A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help 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. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

Example Moon Over Manifest Plot Diagram


Twelve-year-old Abilene Tucker arrives in Manifest, Kansas to stay with Pastor Shady while her father, Gideon, goes off to work on the railroad.


The people of Manifest seem to carry secrets with them and won’t tell her much about her father’s past in Manifest. They seem to hint that her father might not be coming back for her.

Rising Action

As Abilene gets to know the people of Manifest, she finds more questions than answers. With her new friends Lettie and Ruthanne, she attempts to solve the mystery of the Rattler, a box of trinkets, and her father's disappearance. Miss Sadie, a strange Hungarian woman, tells her about two boys, Jinx and Ned, who lived in Manifest in 1917. As Abilene learns more of their story, she becomes caught up in the past, convinced that it will help her understand her present.


Miss Sadie's story ends when she reveals that Ned died fighting in WWI, causing a broken-hearted Jinx to run away from Manifest. All the hopes and dreams of the Manifest residents came crashing down with the death toll of the war and the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918.

Falling Action

Abilene's sleuthing causes the people of Manifest to open up about the past, bringing them healing. As they talk, the last of the book’s mysteries unravel. Abilene realizes that Miss Sadie is Ned's mother. She also learns that Jinx is her father and his fear of jinxing her, like he jinxed Ned, has caused him to leave. Abilene sends him a telegram saying that she is dying to lure him back.


Gideon returns to Manifest, and he and Abilene begin to put down roots. The townspeople come together again and decide to revive old friendships and traditions. Abilene, Gideon, and their neighbors hope to learn from the past and work toward a bright future.

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.)

Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of Moon Over Manifest.

  1. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, 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.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group

Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative Arcs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments
  • [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/6/5] Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [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/7/5] Analyze how a drama’s or poem’s form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning
  • [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
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/3] Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision


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

Plot Diagram Rubric (Grades 5-8)
33 Points
25 Points
17 Points
Design and Creative Elements
Creativity and imagery are used effectively (helps to tell the story). At least three Textables are included in plot diagram.
Creative elements (clipart) are somewhat distracting. At least two Textables throughout their plot diagram.
Creativity is minimally apparent, and the overall design shows a lack of effort. Clipart may be confusing and distract from the story. Student used one or fewer Textables.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling within the Textables is mostly correct (fewer than eight errors). Grammar does not hinder understanding.
Spelling within textables is somewhat correct (fewer than 10 errors). Grammar may hinder some understanding or make reading difficult.
Spelling is mostly incorrect (10 or more errors). Grammar severely hinders understanding.
Plot Elements
There are three complete slides: one for beginning, one for the middle, and one for the end. Slides explain the work of prose and are easy to follow.
There are three cells, but one or two do not depict the correct element within the work of prose (e.g. the beginning is misplaced). Story is somewhat difficult to follow.
One or more cells is missing. Only one part of the plot is represented (e.g. only the beginning). Story is hard to follow.

More Storyboard That Activities

Moon Over Manifest

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