Activity Overview

There are many books related to immigration that can help students better visualize and understand the history of immigrants and their experiences. Some short picture books can be used as a whole class read-alouds, where other longer books can be used as longer novel studies. In this activity, students will create a plot summary of a book using visuals and descriptions.

The book used for this activity’s example is Fiona’s Lace by Patricia Polacco.

The following are suggestions for literature related to immigration:

  • Dreaming of America: An Ellis Island Story by Eve Bunting
  • How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Story by Eve Bunting
  • When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest
  • I Hate English! by Ellen Levine
  • Watch the Stars Come Out by Riki Levinson
  • The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco
  • Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say
  • The Memory Coat by Elvira Woodruff

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: Summarize the story in a 6-8 cell storyboard. Be sure to describe the main events in the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

Student Instructions:

  1. Read the story.
  2. Using the provided template, create a 6-8 cell storyboard with descriptions and illustrations showing the sequence of major events in the story.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/4/2] Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RI/4/3] Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RI/4/7] Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.


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

Proficient Emerging Beginning
Each of the cells represents a different part of the summary. The cells are in order from beginning to end. Sentences accurately summarize each part.
One cell is out of order, or the storyboard is missing important information.
Important information is missing and/or two or three cells are out of order.
Cells include images that help summarize and do not get in the way of understanding.
Some of the images help summarize. Descriptions do not always match the images.
Images do not make sense with the summary.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar is mostly accurate. Mistakes do not get in the way of understanding.
Spelling is very inaccurate and hinders full understanding.
Text is difficult to understand.

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