Having students choose a favorite quote or scene from the book allows them to express which parts of the story resonated with them on a personal level. In this way, students are making a text-to-self connection that demonstrates their understanding of the characters and their development or the themes of the novel. Students can share their storyboards afterwards and have a short discussion about what the quotes mean to them.
Some students may end up choosing the same quote, but have different perspectives. This is always interesting for students to see and can open up a discussion as to how not everyone can read the same lines in the same way based on their own perspectives and personal experiences.
I know that is strange to say, childish maybe—it felt strange even then—but it also felt like the rest of the world saw me.
I would squeeze my eyes shut at night and pretend that Fatima and I were dreaming the same dream. When I was little, it was easy to imagine that. Fatima and I were always in step, four feet pointed in the same direction.
“Lucky. I am learning how to say it / over and over again in English. / I am learning how it tastes— / sweet with promise / and bitter with responsibility.”
“Just like I am no longer / a girl. / I am a Middle Eastern girl. / A Syrian girl. / A Muslim girl. / Americans love labels. / They help them know what to expect. / Sometimes, though, / I think labels stop them from / thinking.”
“I wonder if it is exhausting / to be a tree. / To lose something, / year after year, / only to trust that it will / someday grow back"
“Too much sunshine makes a desert.”
“Mama says the word cake like it's just an ordinary food / which is strange since everyone knows that cakes are / made of magic.”
“I want women like Aunt Michelle / to understand / that it is not only women who look like them / are free / who think / and care about other women.”
“There is a long break. / I have learned Americans love to say you know and then / stop / talking. / They force you to fill in the hard parts, / the things they are not brave enough to say.”
“I have learned that sometimes / the simplest things are / the hardest things to say. / That sometimes there is no word / for what you feel, / no word in any language.”
“Sometimes all you can do is hold on.”
“Proud of each other, proud of what we have created together. It is lovely to be a part of something that feels bigger than you.”
“You will belong here. . .You will make anywhere beautiful.”
“It seems like the kind / of place where dreams / could grow and / live.”
“You should care about our country, too, he says. I do, I say, but what I mean is that I care about my brother and my baba and my mama and I just want to live in a country where we can all have dinner again without shouting about our president or rebels and revolution.”
“My school is filled with kids who do not look like me. Kids with pale freckled skin, kids with / hair the color of summertime corn. And kids with skin darker than mine, kids shorter than / me, and kids taller than me. I have never seen so many different types of people in one place. / I write to Fatima and tell her that sometimes it feels like the whole world lives at my new / school.”
“I think of the Arabic proverb that says: She cannot give what she does not have. I have never / really understood what that means, but it seems wise and like I might be learning to better / understand it now.”
“What word would you miss the most? she asks. I laugh and shake my head. I’m not going to / forget a single word. And then Grace gives me that look that I’ve seen before on Layla’s face, / on Sarah’s face, even once on Fatima’s face— like they are waiting for me to understand / something they have already learned. I don’t think you have to forget in order to learn, I say, / making sure my English is perfect. Grace smiles at this, and I think she’s as proud as I am / that my English is getting better every day.”
“It feels like a place where ideas live. / There is an energy in the room that excites / and frightens me.”
“Hoping, / I'm starting to think, / might be the bravest thing a person can do."
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Objective: Create a storyboard that identifies your favorite quote or scene in Other Words for Home. Illustrate your quote and write what it means to you.
Requirements: Quote or Scene, Illustration, 1-2 sentences about what it means to you.
Grade Level 6-8
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment IndividualCommon Core Standards
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)