The plot diagram can be hard for students to understand. As a result, I try to make it interesting and fun, but also I give them visuals that will help them remember each stage of the plot, and I do this by showing a video of a local roller coaster that my students can relate to the pyramid. After introducing the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution, my class watches the video for fun the first time. Next, I show it, again, and we switch into discussion mode. I ask my students where each part of the plot diagram is located on the roller-coaster. Then we make up a scenario/examples for each step of the way. My students really love this visual, and it helps them remember the elements. You can find this PowerPoint by clicking here.

After using this visual to teach plot, I model for my students using a familiar fairy tale such as Little Red Riding Hood to help them identify the elements. Next, we read a picture book or another fairy tale to identify the five elements as a class. The following day, I have the students complete a plot diagram sort which is an excellent way to determine if your students really understand the elements of plot. It will also help you determine which elements are a class weakness and strength. For example, after completing the sort, I realized my students did not really understand the rising action and climax.

Another great way to review plot with your students is to have them underline each element in a short story as a different color. For example, exposition (character, setting, background information) will be red, rising action (the conflict and the events that lead up to the climax) in blue, the climax (turning point) in orange, the falling action (the conflict is resolved ) in black, and resolution (the ending) in green.

The last stage before the post-test in my class is having the students read a longer short story and identify the elements of plot in the story on a large poster board or bulletin board paper in a group. Then they take a post-test quiz on plot to make sure they understood each element.

Looking for all things plot! You can find them below by clicking on the image:

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