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Activity Overview


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.


The Scarlet Letter Plot Diagram Example

Exposition

In 17th-Century Puritan Boston, Hester Prynne is on trial for adultery. She has a 3-month old baby named Pearl, and Hester refuses to name the father. As punishment, Hester must wear a scarlet “A” on her chest for the rest of her life.


Conflict

Hester’s long-lost husband “Roger Chillingworth” has finally made it to Boston, and he is angry. He dedicates himself to finding out who Hester’s lover is so that he can exact his revenge. He swears Hester to secrecy. Meanwhile, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is suffering from an unknown ailment which seems to come from an internal struggle. Chillingworth poses as a doctor to help the ailing minister.


Rising Action

Hester, Pearl, and Dimmesdale reconnect when Pearl is seven, and they decide to run away together to Europe, after Dimmesdale’s final sermon, to be given on Election Day. Dimmesdale is slowly becoming more ill with each passing day, and holds his hand over his heart in pain. Chillingworth discovers the family’s connection and plan. Hester finds out that he has booked himself a ticket on the same ship with them.


Climax

Arthur Dimmesdale delivers his Election Day sermon with fervor and new-found energy - many say it’s the best sermon he has ever given. He ends it by calling Hester and Pearl up to the scaffold with him, where he indirectly with words, but directly with actions, acknowledges his part in Hester’s adultery and his guilt for not stepping forward as Pearl’s father seven years before. He tears open his shirt and reveals an “A” engraved into his skin, and then he dies.


Falling Action

The townspeople cannot believe what they have seen; some even outright deny that Dimmesdale had the “A” on his chest. Chillingworth dies within a year of Dimmesdale and leaves his entire inheritance to Pearl, making her very rich. Pearl and Hester leave New England for Europe soon after.


Resolution

Many years later, Hester Prynne returns to Boston and again lives in the little cottage she and Pearl once shared. She still wears the scarlet “A” even though she doesn’t have to, and women in the town come to her for advice and respect her. She dies in Boston, and is buried near Dimmesdale.


Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-10

Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group

Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative Arcs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise


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 The Scarlet Letter.


  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.



Rubric

(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.
Proficient
25 Points
Emerging
21 Points
Beginning
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.
Grammar/Spelling
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.
Plot
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.




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