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Activity Overview

A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a novel. 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, like five act structure.

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 sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

Of Mice and Men Plot Diagram Example


Off the Salinas River, in California, two migrant workers, George and Lennie, travel to a ranch for work.


Lennie and George are friends. However, Lennie is developmentally disabled, and because of his childlike mentality, the two friends often find themselves in trouble.

Rising Action

After leaving a previous job because Lennie mistakenly grabbed a woman by her dress, the two are forced to find a new ranch. Trouble seems to follow them; Curley, the boss’s son, immediately takes a dislike to Lennie and picks on him. The reader meets Curley’s wife, who creates problems by constantly seeking the men's attention. Despite these problems, the boys make friends with the ranch hands, especially Candy, who offers up a large sum of money towards getting their own farm. They feel closer than ever to achieving their dream of "living off the fatta the land".


Lennie was given a puppy by Slim and is in the barn tending it. Curley’s wife enters and they begin to talk. Without realizing it, Lennie grabs her hair, because he likes soft things. When she gets nervous and tells him to stop, he panics and breaks her neck.

Falling Action

Lennie was given specific instructions by George that if anything bad happened he should hide near the river. George meets him there.


George shoots Lennie before Curley can find him. The men cover it up. The reader feels the sorrow of George having to kill his best friend.

Template and Class Instructions

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

Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of Of Mice and Men.

  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

Switch to: Common CoreArizonaCaliforniaFloridaGeorgiaKansasNebraskaNew JerseyNew YorkNorth CarolinaOhioOklahomaPennsylvaniaUtah


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

Plot Diagram Rubric (Grades 9-12)
Create a plot diagram for the story using Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
25 Points
21 Points
17 Points
Try Again
13 Points
Descriptive and Visual Elements
Cells have many descriptive elements, and provide the reader with a vivid representation.
Cells have many descriptive elements, but flow of cells may have been hard to understand.
Cells have few descriptive elements, or have visuals that make the work confusing.
Cells have few or no descriptive elements.
Textables have three or fewer spelling/grammar errors.
Textables have four or fewer spelling/grammar errors.
Textables have five or fewer spelling/grammar errors.
Textables have six or more spelling/grammar errors.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out. Student has done both peer and teacher editing.
Work is well written and carefully thought out. Student has either teacher or peer editing, but not both.
Student has done neither peer, nor teacher editing.
Work shows no evidence of any effort.
All parts of the plot are included in the diagram.
All parts of the plot are included in the diagram, but one or more is confusing.
Parts of the plot are missing from the diagram, and/or some aspects of the diagram make the plot difficult to follow.
Almost all of the parts of the plot are missing from the diagram, and/or some aspects of the diagram make the plot very difficult to follow.

How To Help Students Create an Alternate Ending for “Of Mice and Men”


Analyze the Current Ending

Ask the students to analyze the present ending of the narrative and if it fits the narrative. Teachers can pose various open-ended questions to start the discussion such as “Would changing the ending change the overall theme of the story”, or “What message did the author want to convey through this ending?” Once the students are more clear on the meaning of the current ending they would be able to make more sense of the story.


Examine Themes

Examine the novel's main themes, which include loneliness, friendship, the American Dream, and the harsh reality of living during the Great Depression. Imagine a different ending and how these subjects could be handled.


Brainstorm for Ideas

Organize a brainstorming session where students come up with concepts for many ways the story could go. Remind them that their conclusion doesn't have to take the same route as the original and encourage innovation.


Analyze Authors Intentions

While creating an alternate ending, it is important for students to understand why the author wrote a specific ending. This will help students understand the entire essence of the story and give them a direction to connect their ending with the rest of the plot. The current ending by John Steinbeck seems to be more philosophical. Students can decide if they want to choose the same direction or go a different way.


Reflect and Discuss

Encourage the students to think back on the procedure. Ask them to write a different ending, taking into account what they've learned about the themes, characters, and narrative. Students can also share their endings with their classmates and discuss their intentions and why they went with a certain ending.

Frequently Asked Questions About Creating a Plot Diagram for “Of Mice and Men”

What is the significance of resolution in the story?

The story concludes with a resolution which ties up the loose ends. In "Of Mice and Men," George's choice and its effects are central to the story. The achievement of the American Dream and the fates of the characters are contemplated.

What is the significance of a plot diagram in comprehension of the story?

Plot diagrams provide students with a visual tool for dissecting the narrative's structure. It aids in their comprehension of the main story aspects, the way the events unfold, and the ways in which the author creates tension and settles disputes.

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