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Activity Overview

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 Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. 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.

Teachers may also increase the amount of themes they want students to illustrate as a way to differentiate.

Examples of Themes in Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes


Sadako contracts leukemia when she is just two years old, as a result of war. Sadako’s story is almost like a plea for peace and anti-violence.


Sadako’s family is by her side throughout everything. They have a strong sense of togetherness, tradition, and respect.

Hope and Optimism

Sadako continues to hope for recovery, even as she gets sicker and sicker. She continues to fold the cranes until she is physically unable to do so.

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 2 recurring themes in Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the themes from Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes you wish to include and write them in the headings.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  4. Write a short description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and exit when you're done.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 4-6

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/4/2] Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
  • [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.

More Storyboard That Activities

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

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