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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.



Plot Diagram - The Watsons Go to Birmingham

Exposition

The "Weird Watsons" are introduced. Byron, the juvenile delinquent, gets his lips stuck to the frozen mirror.


Conflict

Byron is constantly causing problems. Mr. and Mrs. Watson resolve to bring the family to Alabama.


Rising Action

The Watsons drive to Birmingham, Alabama and meet Grandma Sands. Byron's behavior improves, while Kenny becomes more mischievous.


Climax

The bombing at Joey's church leaves Kenny in shock; he sees what he thought was his sister's body buried under the rubble.


Falling Action

The Watsons return to Flint, Michigan. Kenny is traumatized by the church bombing and spends much of his time behind the couch.


Resolution

Byron and Kenny discuss what happened in Alabama. The brothers become closer as Byron consoles Kenny.



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 Watsons Go to Birmingham.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  3. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  4. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.

Lesson Plan Reference

Switch to: Common CoreArizonaCaliforniaColoradoFloridaGeorgiaIowaKansasMarylandMassachusettsNebraskaNew JerseyNew YorkNorth CarolinaOhioOklahomaPennsylvaniaTexasUtah

Rubric

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)


Plot Diagram Rubric for Middle School
Create a plot diagram for the story using Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Proficient
33 Points
Emerging
25 Points
Beginning
17 Points
Plot Images
Cells include images that convey events in the corresponding stage of the plot. The images represent an important moment and exemplify the descriptions below them.
Cells include one or two images that convey events from an incorrect stage of the plot. Most images represent an important moment and exemplify the descriptions below them.
Cells include three or more images that convey events from an incorrect stage of the plot. Images depict minor and inimportant moments or do not reflect the descriptions below them.
Plot Text
The storyboard correctly identifies all six stages of the plot. The text for each of the six cells correctly breaks down the plot events into appropriate stages. The text gives a logical overview of the plot and includes the most significant events of the book.
The storyboard misidentifies one or two stages of the plot. The text for each of the six cells breaks down most of the plot events into appropriate stages. The text gives a logical overview of the plot, but may omit some significant events of the book.
The storyboard misidentifies three or more stages of the plot. The text for each of the six cells does not correspond to the events of that stage. Overall plot description is not logical.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar is exemplary. Text contains few or no mistakes.
Text contains some significant errors in spelling or grammar.
Text contains many errors in spelling or grammar.


How To Discuss the Main Conflict Present in “The Watsons Go to Birmingham”

1

Discuss the Concept

Explain the concept of literary conflicts to students and ask them to identify the main problem or obstacle that drives the story. In "The Watsons Go to Birmingham," the family's struggles with their family dynamics and encounters with racism serve as the central sources of tension. Students can highlight any conflicts they observe in the story and discuss them as the story progresses.

2

Analyze the Types

Take into account internal conflicts—fights a character has with their thoughts or emotions—that feed into the primary conflict, as well as external conflicts—those that occur between characters or with outside forces. Teachers can first explain these concepts to the students with the help of examples and then ask them to separate the identified conflicts according to their types.

3

Connect With Themes

Encourage the students to think about the overarching concepts that the conflict raises. Race, familial ties, and resiliency are all major themes in "The Watsons Go to Birmingham," and they are all intimately related to the main struggle. Students can analyze the development of themes and conflicts as the story progresses and highlight their connection.

4

Examine the Impact on Characters

Examine how the conflict affects the characters' traits and show their progress throughout the story. For instance, how do the characters react to each conflict and can we track their progress through their reactions?

5

Foster a Creative and Interactive Environment

Help the students perform different engaging and interesting activities that will develop their interest in learning. Teachers can give some flexibility on creative projects such as the students who like to write can perform activities related to creative writing and the students who like to draw can make visual storyboards.

Frequently Asked Questions About “The Watsons Go To Birmingham” Plot Diagram

In what ways does the novel's plot structure represent its themes?

The topics of racial inequity, familial ties, resiliency, and personal development are all represented in the plot diagram. It demonstrates how the protagonists overcome obstacles and eventually turn to their connections for support. The structure also helps in tracking the progress of the characters and their connection with different aspects of the literature.

How does the story come to a conclusion?

The Watson family finds strength in their love, support, and solidarity for one another in the story's ending. They accept what has happened and develop both as a family and as individuals. Byron tries to improve himself and be a better sibling to Kenny and the other members also try to develop an understanding.




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