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 helps 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.

The Color Purple Plot Diagram Example


Celie is a young African American girl who has already borne two children by her father. She is worried because he seems to be setting his sights on her little sister Nettie. He wants to marry her off to Mr. (later revealed to be Albert), but she doesn’t want to leave Nettie behind. She eventually does marry Albert, and Nettie comes to live with them, but once she spurns Albert’s advances, he kicks her out.


Celie is miserable in her life and marriage, raising Albert’s children and trying to avoid his beatings. Albert is in love with a singer named Shug Avery, and resents Celie for not being her. Celie has a crush on Shug as well, and when Shug falls ill and Albert brings her to the house to take care of her, Celie has a hard time hiding her feelings.

Rising Action

Shug becomes a friend and confidant to Celie, and Celie begins to find her own voice in spite of Albert. Shug uses her influence to stop Albert from beating Celie, but when Shug leaves, both Celie and Albert are heartbroken. Harpo’s wife Sofia is locked up for sassing the mayor’s wife, but they get her out to go work for the mayor’s household as a maid. Shug returns with her new husband, Grady, and Shug and Celie finally begin a romantic relationship with one another.


Through Shug, Celie discovers that Albert has been hiding letters from her sister, Nettie, who is now a missionary in Africa with Samuel and Corrine, the two people who are raising Celie’s children Adam and Olivia. Celie also discovers that her Pa is actually her stepfather. Celie is overcome by a murderous rage at Albert for hiding the letters for so many years. Nettie tells her that she and Samuel and the kids are coming back to America soon. Corrine passed away from a sickness, and Nettie and Samuel are now married.

Falling Action

Shug and Grady take Celie with them to Memphis, where Celie learns she’s a talented seamstress and begins to make pants. Pa dies, and Celie inherits his house, land, and general store because it all actually belonged to her real father, and then to her mother. She moves back to fix up the house, and Shug falls in love with a 19-year-old flute player. She takes off with him. Celie and Albert become friends, as Albert seems to have changed his ways. Both love Shug and have been left by Shug.


Shortly after Shug leaves, Celie receives word that the boat carrying her sister and family was downed by a German mine, but she refuses to believe it. Shug eventually returns, having left Germaine, and she, Albert, and Celie live a content life. Sofia and Harpo are back together, too. Suddenly, one night a car drives up and Nettie, Samuel, Adam, Olivia, and Adam’s Olinka wife Tashi get out. At the family reunion a few days later, Celie feels younger than she has ever felt before, and finally happy.

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 Color Purple.

  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 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


(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.

More Storyboard That Activities

The Color Purple

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