Activity Overview

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.

Examples of Quotes from Return to Sender

“Lots of them are coming up here because they can’t earn enough back home to live on. Many of them used to farm. They’re separated from their families for years.”

“Nothing is wrong, my heart. But you will never forget me, ever?”

“Sometimes when Tyler is looking up at the night sky, he thinks he sees his grandfather’s face.”

“But a home means being all together, so until you are back with us Mama, we will never feel at home, not in Carolina del Norte, not in Mexico, not here."

“But Tio Felipe shook his head. That viejita was not going to believe a Mexican. My uncle hadn’t meant to hurt my feelings, but it made me feel the same left-out feelings as when the children at school called me names."

"This country [was] built by people who gave up everything in search of a better life, not just for themselves but for their children. Their blood, sweat, and tears formed this great nation . . . We're all born human beings. But we have to earn that e at the end of human with our actions so we can truly call ourselves humane beings."

"That's no way to treat decent folks!"

"We are the ones we have been waiting for . . . You and me, Mari, it's up to us. We are the ones who are going to save this planet. So we've got to stay connected - through the stars above and the swallows and letters back and forth . . . Your friend forever, Tyler."

"Friendship knows no borders!"

"Maria, you deserve to stay in our country. It would be a better nation with you in it. Your friend forever, Tyler."

""It's 'La Golondrina,'" Mari explains . . . "You sing it when you are far away from your homeland and the people you love.""

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 identifies your favorite quote or scene in Return to Sender. Illustrate your quote and write what it means to you.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose a favorite quote or scene from Return to Sender.
  3. Create an image that represents this quote using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
  4. In the description box, write the quote and at least one sentence about what this quote means to you.
  5. Save often.

Requirements: Quote or Scene, Illustration, 1-2 sentences about what it means to you.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/9-10/3] Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/6/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/1] Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/7] Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/9] Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.


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

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Return to Sender

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