Summarizing Short Stories: Story Elements and Conflict

My Resource Room students have been reading several short stories in our literature book and I have been teaching/reviewing story elements and conflict.

These are the notes they pasted in their journal and what we will reference each time we discuss these ideas throughout the year. I try to always come back to the same notes/handouts each time we work on a concept. I think the repetition and consistency helps with their retention and association.


There are many variations on definitions for the different parts of a plot diagram. These may or may not match what you use in your classroom.

Now before you laugh at my artwork, which I honestly don’t think is that awful, there is something to be said about teacher created artwork…especially if you can laugh at it. Kids remember these drawings. These are not stock clip-art images. These are never-seen-before renderings. They are real and they are authentic. These pictures also increase my credibility with my students.

A student once told me in reference to a similar handout, “Geez…you MADE this for us? In your free time? You really work way too hard.”

My students totally enjoyed (laughed at) these pics when I passed this out.

In addition to these notes, students have been completing these graphic organizers as well. The first few times we use this organizer, I will model for them and provide more guided notes. Eventually, I’d like to see them fill it out independently.

This is a screen shot of all the parts from SMART Notebook on one page. You can see that I give them a lot of guidance in the first few boxes. Starting is usually the hardest part.

Please feel free to download these for you classroom.

Plot Diagram (PDF)

Conflict (PDF)

Short Story Summary (PDF)


11 responses

  1. Hello,

    It is not cool to use someone else’s work as your own. I created the first visual showing the plot pyramid. I’m selling it as a part of a short story on TeachersPayTeachers. Here is the link for my product.
    You can use it for your lessons, that’s why I put it there, but you cannot tell everyone that you created it. Not cool.
    I can prove that I prepared it. Can you?

    1. I am certain I created this on Smart Notebook over seven years ago. I know this because I had spelled “beginning” wrong and had to update it. I see you just started on TPT in early 2019. You may have found my version of my plot pyramid on Pinterest or in google searches, as it has been accessed many times. I am glad you were able to incorporate it into your lesson.

  2. […] (like the one shown below) are what I was told to use when I was in school and trying to show that I understood the plot of a […]

  3. Titus2Homemaker | Reply

    Thank you for sharing! These are well-done — all the important information is here, but there isn’t any “fluff.”

  4. Awesome graphic organizers for summarizing short stories. Thanks a million.

  5. […] Summarizing Short Stories: Story Elements and Conflict […]

  6. Thanks for sharing these! 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Glad you found something useful!

  7. […] Summarizing Short Stories: Story Elements and Conflict ( […]

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