Activity Overview

Starting a unit or lesson with the key vocabulary aids in overall comprehension and retention. In this activity, students will create a storyboard that defines and illustrates key vocabulary found in the book Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata.

Students will create a Spider map of 3-5 terms at the teachers discretion. Each cell will contain a term or allusion, its definition or description and an appropriate illustration.

Examples of Terms and Allusions from Kira-Kira

Chicken Sexer: A chicken sexer distinguishes the sex of chicks and other hatchlings. Chicken sexing is practiced mostly by large commercial hatcheries to separate female chicks or "pullets" from the males or "cockerels".

hatsu-yume: "Hatsu-Yume” is Japanese for the first prophetic dream in the new year.

kira-kira: shiny, glittering, sparkling.

Labor Union: an organized association of workers, often in a trade or profession, formed to protect and further their rights and interests.

onigri: rice balls in Japanese.

Sode Boshi: the “kimono sleeve in the sky” is the constellation also called Orion.

Thug: a term for a violent person that intimidates others. In the story, the owners of the poultry plant hire thugs to intimidate workers into not organizing a union.

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 spider map that defines and illustrates key vocabulary terms or allusions from Kira-Kira.

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

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Literary Allusions

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone
  • [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


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