Activity Overview

A theme is a central idea, subject, or message in a story. Many stories have more than one important theme. For this activity, students will identify and illustrate two of the themes in A Single Shard. Teachers may want the students to identify and illustrate two themes, one for each cell, or identify one theme and show two examples of it, one example per cell.

Examples of Themes in A Single Shard


Tree-ear has a lot of integrity. One example of this is when Tree-ear sees a farmer whose seeds are falling out of his bag. Rather than stealing the seeds without the farmer ever knowing, Tree-ear tells the farmer of the hole in his bag.


Tree-ear has enormous respect for the adults in his life. One example of this is when he takes half of his dinner home to Crane-man each day so that his elder may have enough food to eat.


Tree-ear is extremely loyal. One example of this is when he offers to walk to Songdo so that Min may have his work presented to the palace.

Honor and Work Ethic

Tree-ear’s strong work ethic is evident throughout the book. One example of this is when he learns of Kang’s inlay technique, but resists telling Min about it, knowing that it would be dishonorable and wrong.

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 storyboard that identifies recurring themes in A Single Shard. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the themes from A Single Shard you wish to include and write them in the headings.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  4. Write a short description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and submit storyboard.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 4-6

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/4/2] Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/2] Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

More Storyboard That Activities

A Single Shard

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