|| Plot Diagram
The Plot Diagram is an organizational tool focusing on a pyramid or triangular shape, which is used to map the events in a story. This mapping of plot structure allows readers and writers to visualize the key features of stories.
The basic triangle-shaped plot structure, representing the beginning, middle, and end of a story, was described by Aristotle. Gustav Freytag modified Aristotle’s system by adding a rising action and a falling action to the structure. This interactive version of the graphic organizer supports both Aristotle’s and Freytag’s conceptualizations of plot structures.
Visit this interactive tool at: http://www.readwritethink.org/materials/plot-diagram/.
ReadWriteThink Lessons That Use This Tool
Alter Egos and More with Avi’s “Who Was That Masked Man, Anyway?” (3-5)
Today’s elementary students bring many experiences with a variety of texts
to the classroom: print, music, online literacies, technical reading and writing,
and so on. This lesson plan uses students’ knowledge of these new literacies
to introduce them to similar literacies of the past.
Analyzing Symbolism, Plot, and Theme in Death and the Miser (9-12)
Encourage students to transfer the analytical skills that they use when
reading literature to other modalities through an exploration of the underlying meaning and symbolism in the early Renaissance painting Death
and the Miser by Hieronymous Bosch.
Audio Broadcasts and Podcasts: Oral Storytelling and Dramatization (9-12)
Audio broadcasts provide an individualized experience for listeners, who create mental images to accompany the words and sounds they hear. Orson Welles’ broadcast of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds in October 1938 provides perhaps the most well-known example of listeners’ imaginations leading to a very vivid experience. After exploring Welles’ broadcast, students create criteria for effective audio dramatizations and then compose their own dramatization of a scene from a recent reading.
Book Report Alternative: Creating a Childhood for a Character (6-8)
Students will be introduced to familiar characters, from literature and from popular culture, whom readers first encounter as adults, but whose childhood stories are only told later. Students will then create a childhood for an adult character from a book of their choice.
Developing Story Structure With Paper-Bag Skits (6-8)
This lesson engages students in an interactive, dramatic activity to enhance their understanding of story structure and story elements. Using paper bags containing props, cooperative groups create semi-impromptu skits. Students use online tools as they develop the story elements in their skits.
Exploring Change through Allegory and Poetry (6-8)
In this lesson, students explore the theme of change through allegory and poetry. Students read an example of literary allegory, review basic literary concepts, complete a literary elements map and plot diagram, create a pictorial allegory, and write a diamante poem related to the theme of change.
Exploring Satire with Shrek (9-12)
The movie Shrek, which satirizes fairy tale traditions,
serves as an introduction to the satirical techniques of exaggeration, incongruity,
reversal, and parody. Students brainstorm fairy tale characteristics, identify
the satirical techniques used to present them in the movie, then create their
own satirical versions of fairy tales.
Happily Ever After? Exploring Character, Conflict, and Plot in Dramatic Tragedy (9-12)
Students can typically forecast the horrible ending in a tragedy,
on the decisions that the characters make. By exploring the decisions points
in a tragedy, this lesson plan asks students to consider how the plot of
the story can change if the key characters make a different choice at the turning
point. Students identify the turning point, alter the decision that the characters
make, and predict the characters’ actions
throughout the rest of the now-altered play.
Id, Ego, and Superego in Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat (9-12)
Children’s literature provides a great introduction to literary analysis
in this lesson, which uses The
Cat in the Hat as a primer to teach students how to analyze a literary work
using the literary tools of plot, theme, characterization, and psychoanalytical
Teaching Plot Structure through Short Stories (9-12)
Beginning with a fairy tale that many students are familiar with, this lesson
asks students to analyze the plot structure of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” Students
then read short stories as a whole class, in small groups, and, finally, individually,
analyzing the plot of three different short stories using an online graphic
organizer to diagram the structures.
The Children’s Picture Book Project (9-12)
In this lesson students evaluate published children’s picture storybooks. Students then plan, write, illustrate, and publish their own children’s picture books.
Using Picture Books to Teach Plot Development and Conflict Resolution (3-5)
Students explore the concept of plot development and conflict resolution through focused experiences with picture books. As they learn about the connections between reading and writing, students find ways to apply the information they learn to revisions of their own writing.
Writing about Writing: An Extended Metaphor Assignment (9-12)
Using Richard Wilbur’s poem “The Writer” as an inspiration,
students examine the literary element of metaphor then write their own extended
metaphor, describing themselves as writers.