Several themes are present in the novel. Students can pick a theme to explore, and should support their choice with specific details or events from the text. One prominent theme is “new beginnings”. The characters in the story are all searching for something new to light their lives.
Sarah is a new beginning for Anna, Caleb, and their father. The family will always miss their mother, but are desperately in need of a new light in their life.
Anna, Caleb, and Jacob are a new beginning for Sarah. They are a chance for Sarah to make a new life, now that her family in Maine no longer needs her help.
Other themes that could be used are family, or abandonment.
Grade Level 2-3
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual or Partner
Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & MotifsCommon Core Standards
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a storyboard that identifies a theme in Sarah, Plain and Tall. Illustrate examples and write a short description below each cell.
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
All themes are correctly identified and described.
Some themes are correctly identified.
No themes are correctly identified.
Examples of Theme(s)
All examples support the identified theme(s).
Most examples fit the identified theme(s).
Most examples do not fit the theme(s).
Images clearly show connection with the theme(s).
Some images help to show the theme.
Images do not help in understanding the theme.
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