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Activity Overview

Learning to summarize a story is a skill students will use throughout their life. Starting with the Beginning, Middle, and End, students will learn to identify important scenes in stories in a way that creates an easy to understand summary. In this activity, students will create a 3 cell storyboard that summarizes Underground to Canada. Teachers may choose to ask students to illustrate a traditional plot diagram as a way to differentiate this assignment for ambitious students, having them separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

BME Example

Beginning: When the readers first meet Julilly, she is enslaved on the Hensen Plantation in Virginia with her mother; they have lived there since Julilly was born and are treated better than most other slaves, as far as they know. When a nasty slave trader arrives, Julilly is separated from her mother and sold to the Rileys in Mississippi.

Middle: After a long and miserable journey, Julilly and the others, including her new friend Liza, arrive at the Riley Plantation. It is a terrible place to be, but Julilly has new hope when she discovers that Mister Ross, who has disguised himself as a bird scientist, plans to help some slaves escape. Julilly, Liza, and two men named Adam and Lester begin their journey on the Underground Railroad.

End: After another long journey, being separated from Lester and Adam, several close calls, and many scary moments, Julilly and Liza arrive in Canada. Julilly is reunited with Lester and her momma, who agrees to take care of Liza.

Template and Class Instructions

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

Due Date:

Objective: Create a visual summary of Underground to Canada.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Separate the story into the beginning, middle, and end.
  3. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  4. Write a short description of each of the examples in the plot diagram.
  5. Save and exit when you're finished

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/3] Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution


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