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Activity Overview

Valuable aspects of any literary work are its themes, symbols, and motifs. Part of the Common Core ELA standards is to introduce and explain these complex concepts. However, abstract ideas are often difficult for students to anatomize without assistance. Using a storyboard, students can visually demonstrate their understanding of these concepts, and master analysis of literary elements. For best practices, see our article with specific lesson plan steps on setting up your classroom and activities to teach themes, symbols, and motifs.

In this particular story the author uses the story itself along with the two anecdotes to reveal the theme to her readers. In the classroom, students can track the theme in this story and show how each use brings deeper meaning to the audience.

Blues Ain't No Mocking Bird Theme Example


In the story the privacy of others is mentioned on three occasions: through the plot of the story itself, the story of the man on the bridge, and the anecdote about Goldilocks. Each story represents the invasion of privacy and the disrespect that people have for others. From the title of the story, the reader can infer that “blues” or misfortunes of others, unlike the mockingbird, do not suggest self-pity or death, more clearly the misfortunes of others should not be exploited or mocked. Looking at the story of the man attempting suicide, it is evident that Granny has contempt and disgust for people who try to take advantage of situations for their own benefit. This tale is followed by the story of Goldilocks, who goes into another person's home with blatant disrespect for the property and privacy of the owners. This last anecdote circles back to the invasion of personal space and privacy that Granny experiences with the cameramen.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies a theme in "Blues Ain't No Mockingbird". Illustrate examples and write a short description below each cell.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify a theme in the story and write it on the row.
  3. Find three examples of the theme in the text and describe one in each cell.
  4. Illustrate each example with appropriate characters, scenes, and items.
  5. Click "Save & Exit" when done.

Lesson Plan Reference

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(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Create a storyboard that identifies themes in the story. Illustrate examples of each theme and write a short description below each cell.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Identify Theme(s)
All themes are correctly identified and described.
Some themes are correctly identified.
No themes are correctly identified.
Examples of Theme(s)
All examples support the identified theme(s).
Most examples fit the identified theme(s).
Most examples do not fit the theme(s).
Illustrate Theme
Images clearly show connection with the theme(s).
Some images help to show the theme.
Images do not help in understanding the theme.

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