Creating a plot diagram not only helps students learn the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and helps students develop a 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. In this activity, students will create a visual plot diagram of major events in Where the Red Fern Grows. Students should identify major turning points in the novel such as the Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Exposition: Young Billy has always dreamed of having two hunting dogs, but his family cannot afford it. Billy works odd jobs for two years in order to save enough money to buy his dogs. When he has enough money, he walks into town and purchases two pups, who he names Old Dan and Little Ann.
Rising Action: The dogs are natural hunters and become well known in the area. Billy enters the dogs in a raccoon hunting contest and they win money as a prize.
Climax: After the contest, Billy and the dogs are hunting and come across a mountain lion. The dogs save Billy’s life by fighting off the mountain lion, and Old Dan is very badly injured.
Falling Action: Old Dan dies from his injuries, and Billy is devastated. Little Ann is heartbroken and refuses to eat. She loses her will to live and dies while lying across Old Dan’s grave.
Resolution: The family is able to move further into town due to the money the dogs won from the hunting competition. Before they move, Billy visits the dogs’ graves and sees that a sacred red fern has grown in between them.
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Objective: Create a visual plot diagram of Where the Red Fern Grows.
Grade Level 6-8
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual
Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative ArcsCommon Core Standards
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
Cells include images that help to tell the story and do not get in the way of understanding. Descriptions match the images.
Descriptions do not always match the images.
Descriptions are missing or do not match the images.
Each of the six cells represents a different part of the story. The cells are in order from beginning to end.
Two cells or fewer are out of order, or the storyboard is missing important information.
Important information is missing and/or three or more cells are out of order.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar is mostly accurate. Mistakes do not get in the way of understanding.
Spelling is very inaccurate and hinders full understanding.
Text is difficult to understand.