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Activity Overview


Students can make a plot diagram of the events from a novel. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of a plot, it also reinforces major events and helps students develop greater understanding of literary structures, like five act structure.

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 the sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.



The Outsiders Plot Diagram Example

Exposition

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ponyboy Curtis (Greaser), the main character, is introduced as he is going to the movies when Socs, members of a rival gang, jump him. He is saved when a group of fellow Greasers come to his rescue.


Conflict

There is a rivalry between two major gangs: the Socs and the Greasers. The Socs are wealthy, while the Greasers are poor.


Rising Action

Johnny kills a Soc to protect his friend. This forces Johnny and Ponyboy to flee. While they are gone, tension mounts between the gangs. Johnny and Ponyboy take refuge in an old church. One day the church catches fire with young children inside. Johnny attempts to save them, but is badly injured.


Climax

Johnny dies from his injuries.


Falling Action

A major battle between the gangs happens, and Dallas dies. Ponyboy was knocked unconscious and wakes up after several days, at home. He then reconciles with his brother Darrel.


Resolution

In the end, Ponyboy recovers from the emotional and physical trauma that has occurred. The novel ends with Ponyboy writing the opening line.



Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of The Outsiders.


  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

Switch to: Common CoreArizonaCaliforniaFloridaGeorgiaKansasNebraskaNew JerseyNew YorkNorth CarolinaOhioOklahomaPennsylvaniaTexasUtah

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.


How To Teach Organization Through a Plot Diagram

1

Discuss Major Events in the Story

As you read a story in class, discuss the major events with your students. Some students can be confused by the high action in this book or about who does what in the storyline. Talking it through as a class will help all students succeed.

2

Review Plot Elements

This is a good time to review the plot elements of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution with your students. You can use a matching game or a pyramid game to review. Understanding this vocabulary will help them exponentially with the next step.

3

Assist Students With Matching Up Events with Plot

Students will learn organization by matching up the events of the plot that you reviewed with the plot elements like exposition and rising action. Scaffold for students who need it.

Frequently Asked Questions about The Outsiders Plot Diagram Activity

What is the purpose of a plot diagram?

The plot diagram is an organizational tool that helps students understand the action of a story. This starts with the introductions of setting and character at the beginning of the story, to the action getting rolling to the climax, and then back down the other side to resolve the story.

How can you differentiate when teaching about the plot diagram?




Image Attributions
  • Georgian Terrace_6372 • hoyasmeg • License Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)
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