Activity Overview

Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify a theme of Shiloh and support it with evidence from the text.

Example Themes from Shiloh


  1. When Judd questions Marty about the dog, he stutters and states hesitantly, “Haven’t seen any dog of any kind in our yard all day.”

  2. David asks to come over to Marty’s house but Marty lies saying, “Ma’s had this sort of headache lately, and she can’t take any noise at all.”

  3. “I never kept a secret from your dad in the fourteen years we’ve been married.”


  1. “I’d made a promise to Judd Travers I wasn’t going to keep, Jesus help me. But I’m making one to Shiloh that I will, God strike me dead.”

  2. “But the more I sit there petting his head, feeling his happiness, the more I know I can’t give him up. I won’t.”

  3. Marty realizes that he is blackmailing Judd, but thinks, "I'd got to the place where I'd do most anything to save Shiloh."

Other possible themes include: love, kindness, and family.

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 Shiloh. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from Shiloh 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.
  5. Save often!

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 4-5

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/4/6] Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.


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

Create a storyboard that identifies themes in the story. Illustrate examples of each theme and write a short description below each cell.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Identify Theme(s)
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).
Illustrate Theme
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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