Teaching Resource

Plot Elements Worksheet - "The Gift of Magi"

PDF | 8 pages|Grade: 6

Using the companion text “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry, students will diagram the narrative structure of the story on the included plot elements worksheet.

Young readers aren’t just working on their comprehension skills.

They’re also strengthening their attention spans!

And a well-told story with a plot your students can dive right into is exactly what will keep their active minds focused and engaged.

“The Gift of the Magi” is a classic short story with a surprising twist ending that has delighted readers for over a century. We have no doubt your students will appreciate its themes, as well as O. Henry’s clever use of plot elements to tell a timeless, endearing story in just a few pages.

How to Use this Plot Elements Worksheet with Your Students

This resource works best while discussing Literary Elements, as your students will be using the corresponding worksheet to practice identifying the 5 elements of plot. Please note that some students might find it helpful to refer to a narrative plot structure diagram for the definitions of each element to help them complete the worksheet.

Either independently or as a class, students will read the included short story “The Gift of the Magi”, paying close attention to the plot’s:

  • Exposition
  • Rising action
  • Climax
  • Falling action
  • Resolution

After reading the text, students will go through the included plot elements worksheet and answer 4 short questions (in about 2-3 sentences) to help them reflect on their understanding of the text and the most important elements that drive the story.

Finally, students will fill in the narrative plot structure chart, describing the specific events as they occur and how each contributes to the overall plot.

More Ways to Use Our Plot Elements Worksheet to Learn!

Take teaching narrative structure even further with additional activities that underscore the importance of plot.

Draw It! 

Let your students unleash some of their own creative energy. After diagramming the story’s narrative plot structure, ask students to pick their favorite moment from the story and draw a picture that expresses the events and their contributions to the overall plot.

Exit Activity

This activity can be used as a formative assessment. With your class, read out loud specific sentences or passages that contribute to the 5 main plot points in the story. On a separate sheet of paper, ask students to write down which plot element each short passage refers to.

Before You Download

Please note this resource will download as a PDF. Because the students will be answering questions in their own words, we do not include an answer key with this worksheet.

This resource was created by Allegra ONeill, a teacher in Nevada and a Teach Starter Collaborator.

Dig into our English Language Arts and Reading area for more activities and lessons that explore the wonderful world of literature!


  Common Core Curriculum alignment

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