Do We Create Plot Diagrams?
How can we create a plot diagrams for short stories?
Students will learn the different parts of a plot diagram,
and apply their knowledge of story structure into a poster.
They will then present their story/book to the class.
Exposition, Rising Action, Climax/Turning Point, Falling Action,
by Akiko Minaga
Location: Louis D. Brandeis High School
Grade: High School
Subject: Special Education
Akiko Minaga is a second year, Special Education high school
English teacher at Louis D. Brandeis High school. She also
teaches SETSS and Keyboarding.
First, the teacher will provide students with the definitions for
the vocabulary/key terms. The teacher will then read aloud a fairy
tale, legend, folktale or short story. If possible, students should
also have the text to follow along during the reading. Then, either
on the board or on chart paper, students will be guided through
the structure of a plot diagram. The teacher will guide students
in how to label a plot diagram using the story that was just read
to them. Key vocabulary will also be introduced at this time. The
final product of this model should be posted in a visible place
where students may look and refer to it.
Now that students have been exposed to the structure of a plot diagram,
students will be divided into groups of 2 or 3. Students will be
assigned a book that they have already read this past semester.
If this lesson is being done at the beginning of a semester, students
will receive either a short children's book, or a short story (ex:
works by Dahl, or Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes). Students will be
in charge of filling out their worksheet (that asks students to
summarize the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action
and resolution), and creating a large poster on chart paper, using
markers, that illustrates these concepts in a plot diagram.
The different groups will orally present their projects to the rest
of the class. Students will be expected to take notes on their classmates'
Students will write a paragraph on another group's presentation.
They will summarize the plot of the book and identify the different
parts of the diagram.
Students will be graded based on the following:
- On-task behavior
- Working cooperatively
- Quality and neatness of final product
- Presentation preparedness
New York State Standards for English Language Arts
Standard One: Students will read, write, listen and speak
for information and understanding.
Standard Four: Students will read, write, listen and speak
for social interaction.
This lesson is designed for Special Education and ELL students.
The best part of this lesson is the modifications. By introducing
key vocabulary right away, and reading a story out loud, all students
are introduced to the material, even if only some are familiar with
certain aspects. This way, all students have the same amount of
background knowledge. When dividing students into groups, reading
material can be leveled according to students' reading abilities.
Students can also be grouped so that reading levels are similar,
or so that stronger readers are paired with people who need help.
The poster helps visual learners, and the oral presentation in the
end helps auditory learners.
Be sensitive to the material that is selected. Students will not
want to work on material that can be seen as too babyish, even if
it is appropriate for their reading level. If you desire to use
children's books, have EVERYONE use a children's book.