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Activity Overview


Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify one theme from the text and trace the way it is developed throughout the story. Students may find that plot events, characters traits, important quotations, and symbols might all help convey a theme. Selecting and depicting these elements can be good preparation for an essay on themes within the novel.

The example below shows a sample storyboard for an exploration of the theme of prejudice. As a town with a large immigrant population, Manifest is home to many kinds of prejudice in the early 1900s. World War I only increases the townspeople’s fear of outsiders. Throughout the book, these prejudices manifest themselves in both major and minor ways.


Other themes to consider for this activity:

  • Community
  • Hope/Perseverance
  • Friendship
  • Home and Belonging
  • The Power of Stories

Theme Exploration for Moon Over Manifest

PREJUDICE

The 1917 flashbacks begin with Jinx and Ned running into a KKK rally. The KKK is strong in Manifest because of its large immigrant population. The klan members object to the different races, nationalities, and religions of the immigrants.


At the fair, Lance Devlin brags about enlisting in the army. He mocks Ned for being too poor to enlist, then suggests that he might be an enemy spy since his ethnic heritage is unknown.


Many of the women in town are prejudiced against Miss Sadie due to her Hungarian heritage, accent, and clothing. They do not allow her to submit a square for the Victory Quilt that is to be signed by President Roosevelt.



Ned is taken away from his mother when they arrive in America. When Miss Sadie finally tracks him down years later, he has been adopted by an American family. Miss Sadie decides not to reveal her identity in order to spare him humiliation and and prejudice she experiences.


Arthur Devlin takes advantage of the immigrants' need for work by making them work long hours for low pay. He encourages tension between ethnic groups by refusing to let different nationalities work together. He hopes this will prevent them from working against him.


Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-12

Difficulty Level 5 (Advanced / Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [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


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.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard depicting important themes, symbols, and motifs in the story.

  1. Use the template provided by your teacher.
  2. Identify important themes, symbols, and motifs.
  3. Describe how the theme, symbol, or motif is important to the story.
  4. Illustrate each example with appropriate images, scenes, characters, and items.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.


Rubric

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



Themes, Symbols, and Motifs (Grades 9-12)
Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes, symbols, and/or motifs in the story. Illustrate instances of each and write a short description that explains the example's significance.
Proficient Emerging Beginning Needs Improvement
Identification of Theme(s), Symbol(s), and/or Motif(s)
All themes are correctly identified as important recurring topics or messages in the story. Symbols are correctly identified as objects that represent something else at a higher level in the story. Motifs are correctly identified as important recurring features or ideas in the story.
Most themes are correctly identified, but others are missing or incomplete. Most symbols are correctly identified, but some objects are missing or incomplete. Some motifs are correctly identified, but others are missing or incomplete.
Most themes are missing, incomplete, or incorrect. Most symbols are missing, incomplete, or incorrect. Most motifs are missing, incomplete, or incorrect.
No themes, symbols, or motifs are correctly identified.
Examples and Descriptions
Quotes and examples are accurate to the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) that are being identified. Descriptions accurately explain the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are accurate to the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motifs that are being identified. Descriptions mostly accurately explain the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s), and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are minimal, incorrect, or unrelated to the theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) 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 theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) are accurate to the story and reflect time, effort, thought, and care with regard to placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) are mostly accurate to the story. They reflect time and effort put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for theme(s), symbol(s), and/or motif(s) 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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