Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Karin Friend
Leon County Schools


This activity has students creating a story map identifying the complex elements of plot, after reading the novel [The Cay].


The student creates a graphic organizer that represents the complex elements of a plot in a literary text.


-Copies of the novel [The Cay] for each student
-Overhead projector with screen
-Overhead markers
-Overhead transparencies of the plot lines and rubric (see attached files)
-Copy of blank plot line and rubric for each student (see attached files)


1. Gather materials for activity.
2. Make transparencies.
3. Make copies of plot lines and rubrics for students.
4. Review key elements of plot in literary text.


Note: Prior to this lesson, the students should have completed reading [The Cay] and should have discussed elements of plot as related to this novel.
1. Review the complex elements of plot in literary text by oral questioning.

2. Relate key elements of plot to the progression of a hurricane ( ex. how it is formed, its path, building strength, making landfall, and the destruction it can cause).

3. Discuss how a climax is not always a huge event, as not all hurricanes are of the same strength and size. Discuss how a climax can be a quiet realization in some instances, just as some hurricanes end up as rainstorms.

4. Use the labeled transparency to identify key elements of plot located on a plot line.

5. Explain to students that they will be creating a story map based on the elements of plot as discussed throughout the class reading of [The Cay]. Pass out a copy of the rubric to each student and discuss the criteria for assessment.

6. Model by filling in the blank plot line transparency to create a story map, using the example of a hurricane as discussed previously as well as the criteria addressed in the rubric.

7. Engage student participation after modeling the first couple of elements in the story map by using guided practice techniques such as asking questions and asking for help in filling out the story map (i.e. ask them to describe what might be the climax of a hurricane, the falling action, etc.).

8. Compare levels of climax in terms of a powerful hurricane vs. a weaker storm.

9. Give students a copy of the blank plot line and have them create their own story map using details from [The Cay] to identify elements of plot in literary text. Remind them to use their rubrics as a guide.


Use rubric (see attached file) to formatively assess students' ability to identify in correct order the key elements of plot and create a story map based on details from a novel ([The Cay]).

The rubric in the attached file includes the criteria for a successful performance.


-As an extension to this activity, the teacher may allow students to participate in a peer review activity in which they are checking each otherís story maps according to the rubric. This score could be averaged with the teacherís score depending on the studentís experience with using rubrics in the past.

- The teacher can also have students create their own graphic organizers for creating story maps. (i.e. symbols or lines may change, height may vary according to climax, etc.)

-Allow ESE and ESOL students to have a copy of the labeled plot line to use as a reference when filling out their story map. Based on level of disability, teacher may also include vocabulary of elements of plot. More time may also be given for completion of assignment.
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