Activity Overview

Starting a unit or lesson with the key vocabulary that students will see in their readings or presentations aids in overall comprehension and retention. In this activity, students will create a storyboard that defines and illustrates key vocabulary found Echo. When students define and illustrate each term, they master the application of it and retain it as part of their lexicon. Each cell will contain a term or allusion, its definition or description, and an appropriate illustration. Teachers may utilize this activity as students read so that they can make visual vocabulary spider maps of new and unfamiliar terms as they encounter them.

Examples of Vocabulary from Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

  • auspicious: indicating favorable circumstances and good luck
  • bestow: give as a gift
  • bravado: a swaggering show of courage
  • bungalow: a small house with a single story
  • buoyant: characterized by liveliness and lightheartedness
  • clamor: a loud, harsh, or strident noise
  • confiscate: take temporary possession of a security by legal authority
  • crescendo: a gradual increase in loudness
  • detain: deprive of freedom; take into confinement
  • dilapidated: in a state of decay, ruin, or deterioration
  • dissonant: harmonically unresolved
  • drudgery: hard, monotonous, routine work
  • ebony: hard dark-colored wood used to make furniture
  • ethereal: of heaven or the spirit
  • euphoric: characterized by a feeling of well-being or elation
  • famished: extremely hungry
  • fortuitous: lucky; occurring by happy chance
  • frivolous: not serious in content, attitude, or behavior
  • furlough: a temporary leave of absence, especially from military duty
  • furtive: marked by quiet and caution and secrecy
  • incredulous: not disposed or willing to believe; unbelieving
  • pallid: deficient in color suggesting physical or emotional distress
  • philanthropy: the act of donating money or time to promote human welfare
  • prim: affectedly dainty or refined
  • pro bono: done for the public good without compensation
  • prodigy: an unusually gifted or intelligent person
  • radiant: emanating or as if emanating light
  • ramshackle: in poor or broken-down condition
  • rapt: feeling great delight and interest
  • ruse: a deceptive maneuver, especially to avoid capture
  • somber: grave or even gloomy in character
  • stigma: a symbol of disgrace or infamy
  • talisman: a trinket thought to be a magical protection against evil
  • trill: sing or play alternating with the half note above or below
  • vagabond: a wanderer with no established residence or means of support
  • waif: a homeless child especially one forsaken or orphaned
  • warble: sing or play with trills

Template and Class Instructions

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

Due Date:

Objective: Create a spider map that defines and illustrates key vocabulary from Echo.

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

Common Core Standards
  • [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.


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

Visual Vocabulary Assignment
Define, illustrate, and give an example sentence for any five vocabulary words.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
The definition is correct.
The definition is partially correct.
The definition is incorrect.
The storyboard cells clearly illustrate the meaning of the vocabulary words.
The storyboard cells relate to the meaning of the vocabulary words, but are difficult to understand.
The storyboard cells do not clearly relate to the meaning of the vocabulary words.

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