Plotting our Historical Fiction Story

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SWBAT to complete a plot diagram of a historical fiction story in order to complete a cohesive and clear narrative.

Big Idea

It turns out you can change history!

Lesson Opener

10 minutes

In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling, I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.

Connect:  I will say, “We have been brainstorming ideas for our historical fiction stories and drafting scenes. In order to put our scenes together we are going to plan out the sequence of our story; the plot.

Teach: I will say, “In order to have a coherent and cohesive story, I am going to show you how to practice the skill of plotting out my story and the strategy of using a plot diagram. The process I will use is as follows:

1) Review “Names” Plot

2) Brainstorm ideas using Problems/Realistic Fiction/Historical Fiction

3) Plot out an idea for my story using plot diagram for Historical Fiction.

I will model for students how I read through the “Names” plot. Then think though a possible story using problems/realistic fiction/historical fiction (see below video).

I will then show how I use ‘Names” as an example, brainstorm ideas and plot my own story. I will then have them turn and talk about ideas they could use with their own historical fiction.   

Active Engagement

10 minutes

Active Engagement: I will say, “You will now use my example and the “Names” example to plot out your own story.” I will look over the shoulder of the students as they work quietly, I will check on their progress (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). I will ask the students, “Share out one of your events. Name the part of the plot diagram and give us your example.”

Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Remember successful writers practice the skill of plotting out their story and the strategy of using a plot diagram. The process they use is they use another story to understand how the author crafted their plot, then they craft a plot, and then continue to write their story.

Independent Practice

25 minutes

Independent Practice: I will say, “You will continue to plot your story or write more scenes from your story. If you get stuck on your plot diagram, start crafting one of your scenes and that will help you finish the rest of diagram. I will walk around and confer with students using Possible Conferences for Using Plot Diagram.

Partner Work: Students will be directed to turn and share their plot diagram with their partner when I see that most of the class has completed their diagram. I will say, “I want you to share your diagram with a partner. “Decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B. Partner A I want you to share your diagram. Partner B, I want you to listen if Partner A sequenced their events in a logical order. If not, give them feedback; tell them an idea of what they could add or let them know what your favorite event was and why. Then you will switch.” I will then give students time to revise, or have them make notes and revise for homework.

Below is an example of how a student combined the two genres we have been exploring.


I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an exit ticker in which students write down the response to a question.

Closing: Students will turn in their plot diagrams.