Activity Overview

Starting a unit or lesson with the key vocabulary aids in overall comprehension and retention. In this activity, students will create a storyboard that defines and illustrates key vocabulary found in the book A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Students will create a spider map of 3-5 terms at the teachers discretion. Each cell will contain a term or allusion, its definition or description, and an appropriate illustration.

Examples of Vocabulary from A Night Divided

barbed: having or covered with protective points, spines, or thorns.

The Berlin Wall: A wall built as a barrier to separate East and West Berlin. At first it was a barbed wire fence erected August 12-13, 1961. It was later built into a solid wall that was 12 feet high and 4 feet wide guarded by the "Grenzers".

capitalism: an economic system based on private ownership of assets.

censor: subject to deletion on political or moral grounds.

The Cold War: A long period of tension after World War II between the democratic governments of Western countries and the communist governments of Eastern countries with the two main "superpowers" the United States and the USSR (Russia) leading the conflict. In Germany, the East was controlled by the USSR and the West by the United States, Great Britain, and France.

collective: done by or characteristic of individuals acting together.

communism: a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed. It is a theory advocating elimination of private property and a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the U.S.S.R.

drab: lacking brightness or color; dull.

fascist: an adherent of right-wing authoritarian views.

fissure: a long, narrow opening.

Grenzers: Grenztruppen, nicknamed Grenzers, were the border police that stood guard along the Berlin Wall.

incite: provoke or stir up.

inconspicuous: not prominent or readily noticeable.

intercept: seize, interrupt, or stop something on its way.

oppressor: a person of authority who subjects others to undue pressures.

pantomime: act out without words but with gestures and bodily movements.

penance: voluntary self-punishment in order to atone for something.

Stasi:The Stasi or the "Ministry for State Security", was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany, GDR). It was an intelligence and secret police agency that was extremely repressive to its citizens.

subversive: in opposition to an established system or government.

treason: a crime that undermines the offender's government.

uprising: organized opposition to authority.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a spider map that defines and illustrates key vocabulary from A Night Divided.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the title boxes, identify the vocabulary terms you have chosen.
  3. In the description boxes, write the definition or description of the term.
  4. Create an illustration for each term using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.

Requirements: Must have 3 vocabulary terms, correct definitions or descriptions, and appropriate illustrations for each that demonstrate your understanding of the words.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Visual Vocabulary Boards

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/3] Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/4] Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/6] Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/6/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.


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A Night Divided

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