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https://www.storyboardthat.com/lesson-plans/ghost-by-jason-reynolds/symbolism

Activity Overview


Ghost is filled with symbolism which is helpful for students to analyze to gain a deeper understanding of the characters and their journey. The symbols in this book will come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify and explain symbols from the novel, supporting their choices with details from the text.

Ghost Symbols to Look for and Discuss

Sneakers

The two pairs of shoes in the book both lead to turning points for Castle. His first pair is shabby and he feels as though they are holding him back from doing his best as a runner. He cuts them, but ends up enduring more humiliation by doing so. This propels him to steal the second pair of shoes—the silver bullets. The fact that they are nicknamed bullets can be seen as a parallel to his father’s criminal act of attempted shooting. Castle’s crime of shoplifting the shoes eventually gets him in trouble, but also leads to a revelation that turns his life around.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflowers are said to symbolize loyalty. The sunflower seeds symbolize Ghost's enduring friendship with Mr. Charles, the shopkeeper who hid Ghost and his mom. He has always believed in Castle and encourages him. The ritual of buying them and meditatively eating them gives a sense of grounding and calm in Castle's life. They also symbolize Castle's dad who ate them often when Castle was a child.

Ghost’s Room

Castle's room symbolizes the night his father tried to shoot him and his mother. Castle hasn't been able to sleep in his room since the night his mother awoke him and rushed him out of the house to escape his father. The last he heard were gunshots as they ran out the door. When he enters his room he is transported back to the trauma of that night.

Gunshot

The sound of the gunshot from that traumatic night is seared into Castle's memory. He says that "that was the night I learned how to run." At the end of the novel, Castle discovers that a gunshot is how they start races in track. But this sound now can symbolize more than running away from something terrible; running towards something positive.


Other symbols in Ghost:

  • Running
  • Track
  • Coach’s business card
  • Martin Luther King Park
  • Everything Sports
  • Silver Bullets
  • Ladders
  • Glass Manor


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 symbols found in Ghost. Illustrate each symbol and write a short description below each cell.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the symbols from Ghost you wish to include and type them in the title box at the top.
  3. Create an image for examples that represent each symbol using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples in the black text box.
  5. Save and exit when you're done.

Requirements:

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

Common Core Standards
  • [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/8/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/1] Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Rubric

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


Symbolism
Create a storyboard that identifies important symbols in the story. Illustrate each symbol and write a short description that explains the significance to the story.
Proficient Emerging Beginning Needs Improvement
Identification of Symbols
All symbols are correctly identified as objects that represent something else at a higher level in the story.
Most symbols are correctly identified, but some objects are missing or incomplete.
Most symbols are missing, incomplete, or incorrect.
No symbols are correctly identified.
Examples and Descriptions
Quotes and examples are accurate to the symbols that are being identified. Descriptions accurately explain the symbols and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are accurate to the symbols that are being identified. Descriptions mostly accurately explain the symbols, and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are minimal, incorrect, or unrelated to the symbols that are being identified. Descriptions contain inaccuracies in their explanations, or do not highlight their significance to the story.
Examples and descriptions are missing or too minimal to score.
Depiction
Depictions chosen for symbols are accurate to the story and reflect time, effort, thought, and care with regard to placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for symbols are mostly accurate to the story. They reflect time and effort put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for symbols are inaccurate to the story. The depictions may be rushed or show minimal effort, time, and care put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Most depictions are missing too many elements or are too minimal to score. Little time or effort has been put into placement and creation of the scenes.
English Conventions
There are no errors in spelling, grammar, or mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions reflect careful proofreading and accuracy to the story.
There are a few errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions show accuracy to the story and some proofreading.
There are several errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. Most writing portions do not reflect proofreading or accuracy to the story.
Errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics in writing portions of the storyboard seriously interfere with communication.


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Ghost




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