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Activity Overview


Symbols come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify a symbol or motif from the novel and design an image or scene as illustration. Below the square, they should explain their scene’s significance. The example storyboard discusses the symbolism behind Catherine’s caged birds. Other symbols and motifs include the following:


Symbols

  • Catherine’s Journal
  • Embroidery
  • Granny’s Cottage
  • The Bird Pin from Stephen

Motifs

  • Saints and Religion
  • Writing and Drawing

Catherine, Called Birdy Symbol Square

The Caged Birds

The caged birds in Catherine's room represent Catherine herself. Catherine's nickname "Birdy" or "Little Bird" emphasizes this connection. Like the birds, Catherine feels trapped, unable to escape the life that is forced upon her. At the end of the book, Birdy frees all her birds except the popinjay which cannot survive on its own. She recognizes that she is most like the popinjay; she needs her friends and family to survive and cannot simply run away from her life.


Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 5 (Advanced / Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/1] Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • [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/6/5] Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/1] Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/5] Analyze how a drama’s or poem’s form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/1] Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/5] Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style


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.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies and explains one symbol from the text.


  1. Type in the symbol in the title box.
  2. Illustrate an example of the symbol.
  3. In the description box, describe the importance of the symbol.



Rubric

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



Theme, Symbol, or Motif
Create a storyboard that identifies a recurring theme, symbol, or motif in the story. Illustrate and write a short description that explains its significance.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Identification of Theme, Symbol, or Motif
The idea or object is correctly identified as an important theme, symbol, or motif in the story.
The idea or object is correctly identified as important, but is mislabeled as theme, symbol, or motif.
The idea or object is not significant to the story.
Example and Description
The example supports the identified theme, symbol, or motif. Description clearly says why example is significant.
Most examples fit the identified theme, symbol, or motif. Description lacks significance to story.
Example does not fit the identified theme, symbol, or motif. Descriptions is unclear.
Depiction
Storyboard cell clearly shows connection with the theme, symbol, or motif and helps with understanding.
Storyboard cell shows the theme, symbol, or motif, but some part is difficult to understand.
Storyboard cell does not help in understanding the theme, symbol, or motif.




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