A common activity for students is to create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of a plot, but to reinforce major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.
Students can create a storyboard that captures the concept of the narrative arc in a story by creating a six-cell storyboard which contains the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in a sequence using Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
In the story of “The Birthmark”, the narrator introduces Aylmer, a brilliant scientist, and his wife Georgiana.
Aylmer loves his wife, but she has a small birthmark on the side of her left cheek that he despises.
Aylmer becomes obsessed with Georgiana’s birthmark. He seems to be the only person who finds the mark disturbing. His wife along with the rest of the townspeople find Georgiana to be beautiful. Yet, Aylmer says that her almost perfect face is what makes the mark so shocking. Eventually he wears Georgiana down and she agrees to allow him to attempt removing it.
The couple moves to his apartment where he performs his scientific experiments. As Georgiana studies the various aspects of her husband's profession she finds herself captivated by what he can do. Although, she reads his journals and finds out that all his experiments never quite reach their full goal.
Without hesitation Almyer comes up with a potion which he believes will cure Georgiana and make her perfect.
She drinks the potion and the mark fades; however, she too fades with the mark. Upon her death the reader is left with the blunt reality that man is flawed and the sin of perfection leads to death.
Grade Level 9-12
Difficulty Level 1 (Introducing / Reinforcing)
Type of Assignment Individual or Partner
Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative ArcsCommon Core Standards
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a visual plot diagram of "The Birthmark".
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
| Proficient |
| Emerging |
| Beginning |
| Try Again |
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.
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