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Activity Overview

An effective way to engage your students is through the creation of storyboards that examine Tone, Word Choice, Imagery, Style, and Theme. This activity is referred to with the acronym “TWIST”. In a TWIST, students focus on a particular paragraph or a few pages, to look deeper at the author’s meaning. For this activity, students will create a 5 cell storyboard, illustrating each letter of TWIST for Maya Angelou's poem “Still I Rise”.

TWIST Example for “Still I Rise”



The tone of this poem is confident and strong. Each stanza has the same format, stating ways that the oppressor tries to bring her down, but each time she rises above.


Angelou uses a great deal of figurative language in the poem, especially similes to show comparison. One example of this is, “‘Cause I laugh like I got gold mines, diggin’ in my backyard.”


The use of similes helps the reader visualize what the poet is trying to get across. One example of this is, “You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I rise.”


 This is a 9 stanza poem. The lines are uneven, and the rhyme changes throughout the poem. Each stanza rhymes in some way.


The theme of this poem is self confidence and self-respect. There are examples of this throughout the whole poem as she constantly repeats that she will rise above.

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 TWIST analysis of "Still I Rise".

Student instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Illustrate each example using scenes, characters, and items.
  3. Write a few sentences describing the importance of meaning of each image.
  4. Save and exit when you're done.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Prose Analysis with TWIST

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/7/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text

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Still I Rise

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