• Search
  • My Storyboards

Have you ever felt frustrated by a story that seems to jump all over the place? Or struggling to keep up with action that moves from place to place? Think of how our students feel when they read complex novels with multiple characters and settings, it can be even more confusing for them. One way that teachers can aid students is through setting and character mapping. With these simple template storyboards, readers will be able to keep settings and characters well sorted, and they'll have their maps on hand for papers or test review!

Setting Map Lesson Plan

Overview of the Lesson

Many define setting in literature as both the location and time, or the where and when, of a narrative. Settings can play a crucial role in a work and are often central to the plot. It is helpful for students to map them out to avoid confusion about what is taking place. This is especially true with stories that have multiple settings or timelines.

Grade Level: 3-12


Although this lesson can be used for multiple grade levels, below are examples of the Common Core State Standards for Grades 9-10. Please see your Common Core State Standards for the correct, grade-appropriate strands.

  • ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3: Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task
  • ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.5: Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest

Time: 10 Minutes for Each Setting

Lesson Specific Essential Questions

  1. How does a story mimic or reflect the setting it takes place in?
  2. How can a setting affect us internally and externally?
  3. How can a setting foreshadow actions that will take place?


Students will be able to create a setting map that discusses the key action that took place and how the setting foreshadowed the action.

Before Reading

Before reading it is a good idea to broadly define the setting of a story for students in terms of time and place. Background research may be helpful to students if they are unfamiliar with the customs of the period or region.

During Reading

While reading, students can track the setting and how it changes through a setting map. A key feature of a setting map is placement of settings in sequence. Being able to visually see the settings helps students remember events and where they take place. After each setting, students should update their map to reflect the actions that took place, the setting’s features, and any predictions they can make based on what has happened so far.

As an assignment, students should create a storyboard that depicts one setting in each cell and explains the setting in detail. They could also find a quote that describes it from the text and incorporate a summary of important characters, conflicts, or actions that took place there.

With Storyboard That's extensive art library, it’s easy for students to edit these templates and show the events, actions, and foreshadowing they see when they read!

Setting Map Example

Teachers Note

When I created this template, I had in mind that teachers would take these and make them their own. I spoke to Ms. Shipes, a 9-12 English teacher in Alabama who uses our product. She used the setting map template below and edited the text boxes to ask more specific questions about each setting. Using this in a co-taught class, she wanted to give the students guided notes so as not to overwhelm them with a box to fill out. Seeing other teachers taking these ideas and making them their own is so exciting, I can't wait to see what YOU do!

Create Setting Worksheets

If you're looking for another step or an alternative assignment, you can create setting map worksheets to use in your class! These worksheets can be customized and printed out for students to fill out with a pencil, or they can be completed in the Storyboard Creator like a digital worksheet. They're helpful to keep in binders for test review! You can even create multiple versions for those students who might need a little extra help, and keep them on hand for future use! Find plenty of templates to work from or just start with a blank canvas.

Related Activities

Check out these setting map activities from our guides on Other Words for Home, Echo, and Midnight Without a Moon.

Example Rubric

Setting Map Rubric #1
Evaluate your setting map using the criteria stated in the rubric below.
20 Points
15 Points
10 Points
Setting Description
The student effectively describes the setting by identifying the place, time, and atmosphere.
The student describes two elements of the setting.
The student describes only one aspect of the setting.
Role of Setting
The student effectively identifies how the setting contributes to the development of plot, characters, mood, and theme.
The student is able to identify how the setting contributes to the development of two aspects of the novel: plot, characters, mood, or theme.
The student is able to identify how the setting contributes to the development of one aspect of the novel: plot, characters, mood, or theme.
Shifts in Setting
The student identifies how the setting shifts and the effect this change has on plot, character, mood and theme development.
The student is able to identify how the setting shifts, and the effect this shift has on two aspects of the development of the novel (plot, character, mood, or theme).
The student is able to identify how the setting shifts, and the effect this shift has on one aspect of the development of the novel (plot, character, mood, or theme).
Final product contains accurate visual depictions of setting and characters.
Final product demonstrates an effort to accurately portray settings and characters though some aspects are confusing and/or inaccurate.
Final product contains irrelevant images.
Spelling, Grammar, Punctuation
Final product is free of spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.
Final product contains up to three errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar that do not alter the meaning of the text.
Final product contains more than three errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar.

How to Use Setting Maps to Facilitate Literary Analysis and Interpretation


Select a Literary Text and Identify Key Settings

Choose a literary text that prominently features settings that significantly impact the narrative. Identify the key settings within the text, considering their role in shaping the plot, characters, and themes.


Introduce Setting Maps and Their Purpose

Explain to students the concept of setting maps as visual representations of the story's settings. Highlight the purpose of setting maps in facilitating a deeper understanding of the text and its literary elements.


Create Setting Maps Collaboratively or Individually

Guide students in creating setting maps either collaboratively in small groups or individually. Encourage students to include important details such as geographic features, landmarks, and symbols that represent each setting.


Analyze the Relationship Between Setting and Literary Elements

Facilitate discussions on the relationship between the settings and various literary elements such as characters, plot, mood, and themes. Help students analyze how the settings influence and shape these elements, discussing specific examples from the text.


Interpret Setting Maps and Draw Conclusions

Guide students in interpreting their setting maps, encouraging them to draw conclusions about the story's themes, conflicts, or character development based on their visual analysis. Prompt students to support their interpretations with evidence from the text and their understanding of the settings.


Reflect and Discuss Insights from Setting Maps

Provide time for students to reflect on their learning and engage in class discussions to share their insights from the setting maps. Encourage students to articulate connections between the settings and the deeper meaning of the text, promoting critical thinking and analysis.

Frequently Asked Questions about Using Setting Maps

What is the relevance of using setting maps in English literature lessons and how do they enhance students' understanding of literary elements?

Setting maps are useful tools for English literature lessons as they help students to visualize and better understand the settings of literary works. This understanding can lead to a deeper analysis of the text, its themes, and its characters. Additionally, creating setting maps can help students develop their visual literacy skills. It further aids in their comprehension of the plot, characters, and themes.

What are some often overlooked issues that may arise when creating setting maps for instructional use?

One issue that may arise when creating setting maps is the temptation to focus too much on visual details and not enough on the text itself. It's important to strike a balance between creating an engaging visual representation and ensuring that the map accurately reflects the setting as described in the text. Another issue is the potential for students to become overly reliant on the map and not engage fully with the text itself.

How can setting maps be used in real-life applications?

Using setting map activities can have real-life implications beyond the classroom. For example, architects and urban planners often use mapping tools to help them visualize and plan physical spaces. Similarly, historians may use maps to better understand historical events and the role of geography in shaping them. By teaching students how to create and interpret setting maps, educators are helping to develop skills that can be useful in a variety of fields.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when creating setting maps for literature lessons?

Some common mistakes include including too much or too little detail, focusing solely on physical details rather than the emotional or symbolic aspects of the setting, using symbols that are unclear or unfamiliar to students, failing to accurately represent the setting or geography, and not considering the historical or cultural context of the story.

View All Teacher Resources
*(This Will Start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)
© 2024 - Clever Prototypes, LLC - All rights reserved.
StoryboardThat is a trademark of Clever Prototypes, LLC, and Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office