The exposition introduces the school, Mr. Edgar,and the overall gloomy mood of the story which is introduced through the dead trees.
The conflict within the story is the concept of death, and the continuous recurrence of it, this is reinforced through the fact that at the beginning of the story. all the kids trees died, and afterwards it's explained that before the tree incident, all the snakes they had, died, which is said to be due to there being a "strike" going on at the school.
The rising action of the story is the listing off of the many things that died around Mr. Edgar and the children. These things being the snakes, the trees the kid planted, the herb gardens, gerbils, white mice, the salamander, tropical fish, a dog, and Kim (the Korean orphan). Mr. Edgar goes on to state even more instances of death, bringing up things such as suicides, car accidents, and even murder.
The climax of the story is when the kids confront Mr. Edgar on death, asking him where do things go when they die, and what is the meaning of death, to which Mr. Edgar essentially replies "I don't know".
The Falling action occurs when the kids change the subject by asking Mr. Edgar to make love to Helen (the teaching assistant) because they are frightened, and require an assertion of value.
The resolution of the story occurs when knocking is heard at the door in the classroom while Mr. Edgar and Helen are showing affection to each other. Mr. Edgar ends up going to open the door, only to have a "new gerbil' walk in, which is followed by the kids cheering wildly.