The English Classroom

A GUIDE TO IMPROVING STUDENT LITERACY

The Situation

You need an effective short story planner.

The Solution

Just like every other teacher, I am always looking for short-cuts. Not lazy short-cuts, but ones that allow me to work faster, not harder.

I am always frustrated with short story graphic organisers online. There are many facets to writing a story and my biggest concern is when students omit or simply forget to include particular aspects. For example, not consider the internal or eternal conflicts of the characters.

Below, I have designed a short story graphic organiser based on an amalgamation of others that I have seen the years. As you can see, it is quite comprehensive and is designed to be function in conjunction with your lessons. Let me take you through the process.

Here, on the first page, students can complete the following:

  • Plot Diagram: Simply planning out the narrative arc and central events.
  • Internal/External Conflict: Students can outline the types of conflicts in the story and how they might be connected.
  • Characterisation: Students outline different facets of the character and how they behave. This is so important, especially when looking for nuances with dialogue. For example, if a character is angry, this should be apparent in the dialogue.
  • Genre: Not much to record here, but a good reminder fro students to consider genre.


On the second page, students complete the following:

Language Features: Students outline the types of language features for the story.

Story Summary: Students simply outline the story. This is an important process to just conceptualise the story. Sometimes, if a students is explaining the story it can become evident that it is bloated or going no where. Summarises allow them to just write the outline and reflect.

Characterisation: the first page is focused on the primary characters of the story. This table is based on the secondary characters of the narrative. Students can add information about the characters interested and actions and personality traits.


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