A theme is a central idea, subject, or message in a story. Many stories have more than one important theme. For this activity, students will identify and illustrate the themes in My Side of the Mountain. Teachers may want the students to identify and illustrate 2 themes, one for each cell, or identify one theme, and show two examples of it, one example per cell.
When Sam goes out into the wilderness, he discovers a lot about himself. For example, he discovers that he can survive on his own, and is able to be resourceful and self-sufficient. Sam realizes that he enjoys being independent and feeling grown up.
Sam is alone throughout most of the story, but he is not always lonely. In order to pass the time, Sam talks to the animals and doesn’t realize that he misses people until he encounters a person in his space.
Sam quickly realizes that it is not money that will help him survive, it’s his skills and resourcefulness. Sam relies on his knowledge of nature and what he has researched and learned from others in order to survive in the wilderness.
Sam’s family isn’t worried about him, for they knew approximately where he was headed and that this was something he needed to do. His father even visited him! At the end of the story, when Sam’s family joins him to live in the woods, the readers learn how truly important they are to one another.
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Objective: Create a storyboard that identifies 2 recurring themes in My Side of the Mountain. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.
Grade Level 4-6
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual
Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & MotifsCommon Core Standards
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
All themes are correctly identified as important recurring topics or messages in the story.
Some themes are correctly identified, but others are missing or do not make sense with the story.
No themes are correctly identified.
All examples support the identified themes. Descriptions clearly say why examples are significant.
Most examples fit the identified themes. Descriptions say why examples are significant.
Most examples do not fit the identified themes. Descriptions are unclear.
Storyboard cells clearly show connection with the themes and help with understanding.
Most storyboard cells help to show the themes, but some storyboard cells are difficult to understand.
Storyboard cells do not help in understanding the themes.