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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 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 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Plot Diagram

Exposition

Tom Sawyer lives in St. Petersburg, Missouri with his Aunt Polly, cousin Mary, and brother Sid. Tom is a mischievous twelve-year-old with a vivid imagination. He routinely skips school and chores in favor of playing pirates, robbers, and other adventures with his friends.


Conflict

During one of Tom’s midnight adventures with his friend Huck, the two witness Injun Joe murder Dr. Robinson. When they discover that Muff Potter has been arrested for the murder, they are too afraid to reveal the truth.


Rising Action

When Injun Joe disappears, Tom returns to his old ways. He and his friends run away to Jackson’s Island and return days later to attend their own funeral. Later, they spy Injun Joe returned in disguise with a secret treasure. Fascinated, Huck stays in town to watch Joe, while Tom goes on an outing with Becky Thatcher to McDougal’s cave.


Climax

Huck overhears Injun Joe’s plans to kill the Widow Douglas. He runs for help just in time to save her. Shortly afterward, Tom spots Injun Joe in the cave.


Falling Action

The Widow Douglas takes in Huck and cares for him while he is sick. Tom and Becky escape from the cave, and Judge Thatcher seals it up, unwittingly trapping Injun Joe and causing his death by starvation.


Resolution

Tom and Huck uncover Injun Joe’s treasure in the cave. Between their adventures, heroism, and newfound wealth, the two have become a celebrated pair in St. Petersburg.



Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-12

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/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
  • [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


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 Adventures of Tom Sawyer.


  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 5-8)
Proficient
33 Points
Emerging
25 Points
Beginning
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.




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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer





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