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

Activity Overview


There are many themes present throughout the novel Ghost. Students can explore this by identifying a theme themselves or in an “envelope activity”, where they are given a theme to track throughout their reading. In this activity, students will illustrate examples of themes in the novel, using evidence from the text.


Examples of Themes in Ghost

Family

Family is very important to Ghost. Despite his violent past with his father, Castle has a close relationship with his mother who works hard to care for him, work full time, and study to be a nurse at night and on weekends. Castle appreciates her sacrifices. He also has an aunt and cousin whom he sees on the weekends. Even though Mr. Charles is not related, he is a grandfatherly figure to Castle. For his first big race, his family joins him enthusiastically cheering him on with a big sign.

Teamwork

The Defenders is the first team that Castle has ever been a part of. He has longed to play basketball at his local court, but has never been included. He has a few friends at school, but has never confided in anyone about his past. Lu, Sunny, and Patty are the first friends he ever told and it makes him feel seen and accepted.

Mentorship

Coach Brody becomes an important mentor in Castle's life. At a time when he is longing for a fatherly figure, Coach gives him support, advice, and guidance to get on a better track. Coach is someone Castle can trust and he changes Castle's life considerably. The book demonstrates the vital importance of having a mentor.

Bullying

Brandon Simmons torments Castle on a daily basis. He fears seeing him in school and when he does, he knows he has to maintain an unreasonable level of mental fortitude to resist the temptation of getting in a fight. Castle has a large “file of altercations”, but it is Brandon that ruthlessly makes fun of Castle’s background, clothes, his mother, his housing. The book shows how bullying behavior can affect a student's performance in school dramatically as it is impossible to feel safe and learn when you are constantly embarrassed or in fear of being shamed.

Courage

A major theme of the book is facing one's fears. Coach confides to Castle how he also had to overcome tremendous obstacles. Ghost has to learn to reconcile with his traumatic past, face bullies, own up to his mistakes and his fear of failure on the track. With courage, Castle is able to overcome all of these things and head towards a brighter future.

Other themes present:

  • Identity
  • Memory and the Past
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Lawbreaking and Justice
  • Domestic Violence
  • Poverty
  • Classism
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.


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 themes in Ghost. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the themes from Ghost you wish to include and write them in the title box.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
  4. Write a short description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.

Requirements:



Rubric

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