Activity Overview

Having students choose a favorite quote or scene from the book allows them to express which parts of the story resonated with them on a personal level. In this way, students are making a text-to-self connection that demonstrates their understanding of the characters and their development or the themes of the novel. Students can share their storyboards afterwards and have a short discussion about what the quotes mean to them.

Some students may end up choosing the same quote, but have different perspectives. This is always interesting for students to see and can open up a discussion as to how not everyone can read the same lines in the same way based on their own perspectives and personal experiences.

Examples of Quotes from Al Capone Does My Shirts

"You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you're me. I came here because my mother said I had to."

"I get a sinking feeling in my gut. There were 237 electricians who applied for the job my dad got. If it were me, I'd have kept my mouth shut about having a daughter like Natalie."

"It's so nice to have my dad again. I was angry at him for looking for a job up here and antry all over again when he found one. I've been angry at my mom for making us do this, and at Pete and all my friends at home because I had to move away and they didn't. I've been mad at everyone except Natalie. I always try really hard not to get angry at her."

"I can't get over this. I keep thinking about when Al Capone was a baby. I'll bet his mama sang him the same song she sang to Rocky. I'll bet she held his hand when they crossed the street, packed his lunch for school and sewed his name in his jacket - A. Capone so everyone would know it was his. I'll bet she wishes she could do it all over again too . . . if only Al were little and she could."

"My father presses his lips so hard together, they turn white. The tears are falling again, so fast, it looks as if he can't see. He puts his arm around me and pulls me to Natalie. He puts his other arm around her. "I am" - he wipes at his eyes with his shoulder so he doesn't have to let go of us - "so very proud of my children. So very proud." A sob escapes his chest. "What wonderful people you've grown to be.""

"You did it because you believed in your heart it was the right thing to do. You were doing what you thought would help your sister."

"And, Moose? There's something I wanted to tell you too, dear. When Natalie and I are working together and I see I'm starting to lose her, I always say, 'What do you think MOose is doing right now?' And lately, she's been able to stay with me . . . I thought you might like to know how important you are to her."

"Now I understand. When you love someone, you have to try things even if they don't make sense to anyone else."

""Dad, . . . did I cause Natalie to be the way she is?" The question seems to come from somewhere deep inside of me . . . "Something I did? You said she got worse when she was three. That's when I was born. Was it me?" . . . ."Moose," My dad grabs my shoulders and he looks straight into my eyes. "I don't know," he says, taking a teary breath, "what caused Natalie to be [the way she is]. I don't think anyone knows that. But I do know this . . . Absolutely for sure it had nothing, nothing at all to do with you.""

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 your favorite quote or scene in Al Capone Does My Shirts. Illustrate your quote and write what it means to you.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose a favorite quote or scene from Al Capone Does My Shirts.
  3. Create an image that represents this quote using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
  4. In the description box, write the quote and at least one sentence about what this quote means to you.
  5. Save often.

Requirements: Quote or Scene, Illustration, 1-2 sentences about what it means to you.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/9-10/3] Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
  • [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.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/1] Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/7] Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/9] Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.


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Al Capone Does My Shirts

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