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Activity Overview


Theme is an important element to any piece of literature. The Common Core wants students to be able to identify themes and pick out details from the text to support their choices. There are many major and minor themes prevalent in this story. One prominent theme of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is the importance of family. Cassie is well aware of the importance of family throughout the book, and there are several instances when Cassie, or other characters, talk about family and what it means to them.


The Importance of Family

  1. Jeremy and His Siblings

    Cassie and Stacey are surprised when Jeremy says he doesn't like his siblings. To the Logans, family is family, and is more important than anything else.


  2. Big Ma’s Memories

    Big Ma tells Cassie about the past. Cassie has heard these stories before, but still wants to hear about her family.


  3. Mr. Morrison’s Family

    During the time of Reconstruction, southern soldiers attacked the Morrison home. His mother got him away from the violence, but she and the rest of his family were killed. Mr. Morrison forced himself to remember. Now he has found a new family.


Other possible themes and motifs to look for and discuss:


  • racism/prejudice
  • intolerance
  • injustice
  • cruelty
  • community
  • personal strength
  • peer pressure
  • land as a sign of independence
  • growing up/understanding truths

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/2] Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize 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 that identifies recurring themes in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for examples that represent this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.



Rubric

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



Themes, Symbols, and Motifs Rubric for Middle School
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
Identify Theme(s)
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.
Identify Symbol(s)
All symbols are correctly identified as objects that represent something else at a higher level in the story.
Most symbols are correctly identified, but some objects are missing or are incorrectly identified as significant symbols.
No symbols are correctly identified.
Identify Motif(s)
All motifs are correctly identified as important recurring features or ideas in the story.
Some motifs are correctly identified, but others are missing or incorrect.
No motifs are correctly identified.
Examples
All examples support the identified themes, symbols, and motifs. Descriptions clearly explain how the examples connect to the broader themes, symbols, and motifs.
Most examples fit the identified themes, symbols, and motifs. Most descriptions attempt to explain how the examples connect to the broader themes, symbols, and motifs.
Most examples do not fit the identified themes, symbols, and motifs. Descriptions are unclear.
Depiction
Storyboard cells clearly show connection with the themes, symbols, and motifs and help with understanding.
Most storyboard cells help to show the themes, symbols, and motifs, but some storyboard cells are difficult to understand.
Storyboard cells do not help in understanding the themes, symbols, and motifs.




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