Activity Overview

Starting a unit or lesson with the key vocabulary aids in overall comprehension and retention. In this activity, students will create a storyboard that defines and illustrates key vocabulary found in the book The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore. Students will create a spider map of 3-5 terms at the teacher's discretion. Each cell will contain a term, its definition or description, and an appropriate illustration.

Examples of Vocabulary from The Stars Beneath Our Feet

aberrant: markedly different from an accepted norm

autism: Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability that affects how the person experiences the world. Autism can cause a broad spectrum of social, communication, and behavioral challenges that can range from mild to severe.

bodega: a small shop selling groceries, especially in a Hispanic area

borough: one of the administrative divisions of a large city

callous: emotionally hardened

clique: an exclusive circle of people with a common purpose

conspirator: a member of a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act

dejected: affected or marked by low spirits

depression: mental state characterized by a despondent lack of activity

despicable: morally reprehensible

despondent: without or almost without hope

dynasty: a sequence of powerful leaders in the same family

evict: expel from one's property or force to move out

fortuitous: lucky; occurring by happy chance

gawk: look with amazement

girder: a beam used as a main support in a structure

illustrious: widely known and esteemed

impoverished: poor enough to need help from others

lurch: move haltingly and unsteadily

lurk: lie in wait or behave in a sneaky and secretive manner

lush: characterized by extravagance and profusion

meme: an amusing image, text, or video that spreads rapidly through social media

monarch: a nation's ruler usually by hereditary right

nauseate: upset and make ill

notorious: known widely and usually unfavorably

oasis: a shelter serving as a place of safety or sanctuary

obliterate: do away with completely, without leaving a trace

pilfer: make off with belongings of others

projectile: a weapon that is forcibly propelled toward a target

prosecute: to bring a criminal action against

pummel: to strike, usually with the fist

regurgitate: repeat after memorization

reminisce: to recall the past

retaliation: action taken in return for an injury or offense

slink: move or walk stealthily

snicker: laugh quietly

spectrum: a broad range of related objects, values, or qualities

stupefied: as if struck dumb with astonishment and surprise

sulky: sullen or moody

surreal: characterized by fantastic and incongruous imagery

turret: a small tower extending above a building

unperturbed: free from emotional agitation or nervous tension

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 spider map that defines and illustrates key vocabulary from The Stars Beneath Our Feet.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the title boxes, identify the vocabulary terms you have chosen.
  3. In the description boxes, write the definition or description of the term.
  4. Create an illustration for each term using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.

Requirements: Must have 3 vocabulary terms, correct definitions or descriptions, and appropriate illustrations for each that demonstrate your understanding of the words.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Visual Vocabulary Boards

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone)
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/6] Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/6/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.


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The Stars Beneath Our Feet

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