Activity Overview

Starting a unit or lesson with the key vocabulary terms and allusions aids in overall comprehension and retention. Since they can overlap, teachers may want to use this template specifically for vocabulary, or just for allusions, as this example displays. In this activity, students will create a storyboard that defines and illustrates key terms and allusions that are historical, religious and cultural related to Refugee. Previewing these can help students better understand the story and learn about the Holocaust and the time period for Josef's story, Cuba under Fidel Castro for Isabel's story, and the Syrian Civil War for Mahmoud's story.

Examples of Terms and Allusions from Refugee by Alan Gratz

Josef's Story

  • Adolf Hitler
  • Kristallnacht
  • Dachau
  • bar mitzvah
  • minyan
  • yarmulke
  • tallisim
  • Führer
  • swastika
  • Sturmabteilung /brownshirts
  • synagogues
  • Torah
  • Civil Restoration Act 1933
  • The Yellow Star
  • S.S. St. Louis

Isabel's Story

  • Batista
  • Fidel Castro
  • el norte
  • clave
  • mañana
  • ration book
  • communist
  • Guantanamo Bay
  • "The Storm of the Century"
  • "Libertad"
  • Maleconazo Uprising
  • "Wet foot, dry foot" policy
  • Florida Straits
  • The 1994 Cuban rafting crisis

Mahmoud's Story

  • Bashar al-Assad
  • European Union (EU)
  • Aleppo
  • Syrian Civil War
  • Daesh
  • Mecca
  • Hijab
  • Mu'adhdhin
  • Lesbos
  • WhatsApp
  • Google Maps / Apple Maps

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 storyboard that illustrates and defines new vocabulary or allusions relating to Refugee.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the title boxes, identify the 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 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 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Literary Allusions


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

Define and illustrate each of the key terms.
7 Points
4 Points
1 Points
The vocabulary words are correctly defined.
The meaning of the vocabulary words can be understood but it is somewhat unclear.
The vocabulary word is not clearly defined
The storyboard illustrations clearly depict the meaning of the vocabulary words.
The illustrations relate to the meaning of the vocabulary words but it they are difficult to understand.
The illustrations do not clearly relate to the meaning of the vocabulary words.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.

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