ALEX Lesson Plan


Identifying the Elements of Plot in a Short Story

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Alicia Driskill
System: Huntsville City
School: Challenger Middle School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 6991


Identifying the Elements of Plot in a Short Story


Students become motivated readers as they read, comprehend, and interpret a short story. Students present plot diagrams in slideshows and additional information about the author in a brochure.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
TC2 (6-8)
2. Publish digital products that communicate curriculum concepts.
Examples: Web pages, videos, podcasts, multimedia presentations
TC2 (6-8)
5. Use basic features of word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software.
Examples: word processing—reports, letters, brochures
spreadsheets—discovering patterns, tracking spending, creating budgets
databases—contact list of addresses and telephone numbers
presentation software—slideshow
TC2 (6-8)
6. Select specific digital tools for completing curriculum-related tasks.
Examples: spreadsheet for budgets, word processing software for essays, probes for data collection
ELA2015 (6)
2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments. [RL.6.2]
ELA2015 (7)
2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.7.2]
ELA2015 (8)
2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.8.2]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will analyze the elements of plot. Using an assigned short story, students will create a sequential diagram illustrating the elements of plot: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will design a short story slideshow presentation. Students will research the author of their assigned story and present this information in a brochure.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Copies of a variety of short stories (as multicultural as possible), copies of the attachments provided, media center access

Technology Resources Needed:

Computers with Internet access, printer, presentation software (such as PowerPoint), desktop publishing software, TV scan converter or other digital projection device


Students will need a basic working knowledge of word processing and slideshow software.

1.)The teacher will lead a discussion on the importance of the short story as a literary genre.

2.)The teacher will present the five basic elements of a plot diagram using a slideshow presentation such as PowerPoint (see attached). Students will copy the notes as they are written on each slide of the PowerPoint presentation.

3.)The teacher will present the possible short stories for the assignment (attached). The teacher will write the title and author name of each short story on a small sheet of paper. The teacher will then put the 25 short story titles in a hat. Students will draw a sheet of paper from the hat. Each student will have a different short story for his/her project.

4.)The teacher will then hand out a sign-up sheet (attached). Students will print their names, write the title of their short stories, and then sign the form. After all students have signed the form, the teacher will keep the sheet for his/her records.

5.)Students read their assigned short stories.

6.)Students create their own plot diagram using an activity sheet (Rough Draft Activity Sheet attachment). Students should write legibly, using complete sentences.

7.)Using the rough draft of their plot diagrams, the students will create a PowerPoint presentation (see Creating the Student PowerPoint attachment).

8.)Upon completion of their slide shows, the students will design a brochure based on their short story (see Creating a Short Story Brochure and Student Brochure attachments). This part of the assignment requires students to find additional information about their author and his/her works.
(Alabama Virtual Library)
Excellent age appropriate databases for research

9.)Each student then presents his/her short story to the class using the PowerPoint presentation and the brochure. Although students may be given the opportunity to volunteer to present first, drawing names from a hat works well. The teacher will use the rubric (attached) to grade each presentation.

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Assessment Strategies

The students will be evaluated on the following: following directions, accuracy/completeness of work, grammar/spelling. A rubric is attached.




Students may use graphic organizers to categorize the various elements of a plot diagram.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.