Creating a plot diagram not only helps students learn the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures. Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. In this activity, students will create a visual plot diagram of major events in Calico Girl. Students should identify major turning points in the novel such as the Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Exposition: Callie Wilcomb is a 12 year old enslaved girl who lives in Virginia in the 1860s. At the time, Virginia no longer had to abide by the rules of slavery, and there seemed to be hope for her family. When they learned of three enslaved men who escaped and found protection at Fort Monroe, a Union outpost not far from where they lived, Callie’s father decided it was time for his family to be free. With the Civil War going on all around them, Callie and her family make a risky yet life-changing decision to go after their freedom.
Rising Action: Hampton talks to Raleigh, the son of one of the men who escaped to Fort Monroe. He goes back to his family and takes then to the fortress, where they are treated with kindness and considered to be free.
Climax: Little Charlie dies of his illness soon after the family arrives at Fort Monroe. This is absolutely devastating to the family, especially Callie. She is unable to stop crying or get out of bed for days.
Falling Action: Mrs. Peake’s friends, Mr. and Mrs. Fowles, approach Mrs. Peake and Callie about sending Callie to a good school up North in Massachusetts. They all see amazing potential in her and want her to get the best education possible. They have already received the okay from Callie’s parents.
Resolution: Callie decides to go to school. Suse stops by the fortress and apologizes for all the times she’s mistreated Callie, and Papa and Mama Ruth have settled in nicely at Fort Monroe. The family sees a light in their future for the first time ever.
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Objective: Create a visual plot diagram of Calico Girl.
Grade Level 4-6
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual
Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative ArcsCommon Core Standards
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
| Proficient |
| Emerging |
| Beginning |
Cells include images that convey events in the corresponding stage of the plot. The images represent an important moment and exemplify the descriptions below them.
Cells include one or two images that convey events from an incorrect stage of the plot. Most images represent an important moment and exemplify the descriptions below them.
Cells include three or more images that convey events from an incorrect stage of the plot. Images depict minor and inimportant moments or do not reflect the descriptions below them.
The storyboard correctly identifies all six stages of the plot. The text for each of the six cells correctly breaks down the plot events into appropriate stages. The text gives a logical overview of the plot and includes the most significant events of the book.
The storyboard misidentifies one or two stages of the plot. The text for each of the six cells breaks down most of the plot events into appropriate stages. The text gives a logical overview of the plot, but may omit some significant events of the book.
The storyboard misidentifies three or more stages of the plot. The text for each of the six cells does not correspond to the events of that stage. Overall plot description is not logical.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar is exemplary. Text contains few or no mistakes.
Text contains some significant errors in spelling or grammar.
Text contains many errors in spelling or grammar.