Group Size: Any

Time Required: 60 - 90 minutes

Learning Objective: Students will be able to...

Sequence a story using a story map
Identify flashbacks in a passage
Modify a story map in the event of a flashback 


Student Worksheet (attached)
Sticky Notes for coding the text

Do Now: (Add a Do Now to the Student Worksheet so that students (S) have something to complete upon entering the room. I like to use this opportunity to spiral skills from prior lessons or to ask students to journal about a life experience that might help them to make a connection with today's lesson.)

Connection: We've spent the last week talking about plot. Who can remind me what plot is? (Target: the sequence of events in a story.)

We mapped plot on a story map, and we also examined a bunch of different possible plot diagrams that you could use to represent the way stories and books progress.

Today we're going to stick with that idea of plot as we discuss flashbacks.

Direct Instruction / Guided Practice: Sometimes you'll be reading along, and suddenly the author will throw you for a real loop by putting a flashback right into the middle of an otherwise chronological  plot. A flashback is an interruption in the action to show a scene that took place earlier. Let's write that down. (T will write the definition on the board; S will copy it into their student worksheet.

Flashback -- An interruption in the action to show a scene that took place earlier

Let me show you what a flashback looks like in our reading. I need a volunteer reader. (T will select a volunteer, who will read aloud the first passage on the student worksheet.)


Now, if we're diagramming plot like we did all last week, it's tempting to start with the narrator walking into the front door and seeing the portrait, then moving on to the narrator seeing his mother cutting her hair, and end with him asking her what she's doing.  (T will draw this plot sequence on the board per the story mapping lesson plan.)

What is wrong with this order of events, however? (Target: The part about his mother cutting her hair is a flashback.  It is an event that happened earlier that the narrator is only now remembering.)

So what should our story map really look like?  (Target:  The first box could depict the narrator walking into the kitchen and seeing his mother cutting her hair.  The second box could depict him asking her what she is doing.  The third box could depict him walking into the front door and seeing the portrait.  Other variations are possible.  For example, S may wish to record a note to explain that mom has died and much time has passed between the first events and the last event.)

Flashbacks can be sneaky and tricky, but we can't let them get the best of us.  Let's try another one with table partners.  It's extra tricky!  (S will complete the second passage and diagram on the back of the sheet.  T will circulate to check for understanding and to dispel misconceptions.  T will then facilitate a whole-class share-out.)

Link: Now it's your turn. As you read today, what will you be doing? (Have a student share out the "Links" section of his/her worksheet.)

Independent Practice: (S will read silently and code the text.


Since all S should have selected literature circle novels and scheduled meetings with their literature circle groups for this week, small groups of students may be holding their meetings at this time.

T will either hold individual conferences with students to monitor progress and to support individual goal-setting or pull small groups for guided reading / other interventions.)

Share: Our time for today is up. Please feel free to turn to your partner or take a short walk to your literature circle group and share your work for today.

Closing: Today we continued our discussion of plot, the sequence of events in a story, and story diagramming. But we added to the mix the literary device known as a flashback, an interruption in the present action to show a scene that took place earlier. And we talked about what you should do if you're diagramming a story and you come upon a flashback. You should put the flashback in the story diagram wherever the actual even occurred, which probably means inserting something a good deal earlier.

It's time for million dollar question!

1. What is a flashback?

2. What is the difference between an internal conflict and an external conflict?

3. Note to the Instructor: Insert a question here that spirals learning from previous units.

4. Compare and contrast story diagrams and plot diagrams.


Graphic organizer
Gradual release during Introduction to New Material / Guided Practice
Literature circle novels are differentiated by reading level and by choice
Opportunity for small-group work at the conclusion of Introduction to New Material/Guided Practice 
Active reading strategy: coding the text
One-on-one Reader's Workshop conference to support individual students and to encourage individual goal-setting



Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

Non-profit Tax ID # 203478467