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 The One and Only Ivan. Students should identify major turning points in the novel such as the Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Exposition: The Big Top Mall and Video Arcade is Ivan’s home. He and his friend Stella, an old and wise African elephant, have lived here for years, confined and used for the entertainment of humans. Stella’s health is declining, and being cooped up for so long is really taking its toll on Ivan.
Rising Action: When Mack buys Ruby, a baby elephant, to make the arcade more appealing for visitors, she and Stella form an instant bond. Stella’s foot infection gets worse and spreads, with little hope that Mack will do anything due to lack of money. Stella dies, and Ivan has promised to take care of Ruby.
Climax: Ivan works day and night to create pictures of Ruby in a zoo for the large billboard on the street. Julia and her father pick up on Ivan’s plan, and hang the pictures at night for all to see the next morning.
Falling Action: The billboard attracts the attention of many people, including protesters who think the confinement of the animals is unfair and cruel. People in white coats keep coming by, and train Ivan and Ruby to go into a box. Could these people be taking them to a better place?
Resolution: The Big Top Mall is closed down and the animals are all brought elsewhere. Bob goes to live with Julia and her dad, and Ivan and Ruby are taken to a wonderful zoo, where they are with their own kind and have plenty of space in the open air.
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Objective: Create a visual plot diagram of The One and Only Ivan.
Grade Level 4-6
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual
Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative ArcsCommon Core Standards