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 Glass Menagerie Plot Diagram Example


The play is narrated by Tom, who is remembering the events as a memory. It opens with Amanda Wingfield, a former Southern socialite, obsessing over the idea that her daughter, Laura, should be prepared at all times for a gentleman caller. While Amanda’s husband abandoned their family, she hopes for bright and successful futures for her two children. She is afraid that Tom will get stuck in his warehouse job, and Laura will become an old maid.


Laura is a very shy girl, with her social anxiety amplified by the slight limp she acquired after a childhood illness. Amanda discovers that Laura dropped out of her business classes at the Rubicam Business College because of her severe anxiety. Tom is tired of having to carry the family with his shoe warehouse job because he likes to write poetry and he thinks the world is moving on without him. He believes he is missing out on something. Amanda is determined to find the perfect gentleman caller for Laura.

Rising Action

After a disruptive fight between Tom and Amanda, Tom apologizes, which prompts Amanda to ask him to find a suitable man at his warehouse to bring home to meet Laura. After some resistance, Tom agrees. Laura previously confessed to her mother that there once was a boy named Jim that she liked in high school; however, that was six years ago now and he’s probably married. Tom eventually tells Amanda that he is bringing a friend home for Laura, a man named James O’Connor.


It turns out that James is the Jim Laura used to know, and she becomes paralyzed by fear during their dinner and has to be helped to the sofa. Tom confesses to Jim that he’s paid his dues in the Union of Merchant Seamen rather than the electricity bill that month, and he will be leaving soon. Jim and Laura spend some time together and he begins to bring her out of her shell, eventually dancing with her and then kissing her.

Falling Action

With that kiss, Jim realizes he’s gone too far because he’s already engaged to be married to a woman named Betty, whom he loves. He tries to let Laura down easily, but her quiet despair is palpable. She gives him the tiny glass unicorn he accidentally broke while dancing as a souvenir. Jim quickly makes an exit after hastily explaining his engagement to the also-disappointed Amanda.


Amanda turns on Tom, accusing him of making this evening a joke for his poor sister. She continues to yell at him as he flees the house. Tom, alone again, speaks to the audience about how he traveled to many different places in his life, but he is always reminded of his sister. He feels constantly pursued by the guilt of leaving her behind.

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 Glass Menagerie.

  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.
  4. Save often!

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-12

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

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 Glass Menagerie

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