Activity Overview

Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify a theme and support their choices with details from the text.

Example Despereaux Theme


During the novel, several characters forgive others for the wrongs they committed. For example, Despereaux is sent into exile by his own father. Later, Despereaux returns and, seeing the tears in his father’s eyes, forgives him for this. A very different aspect of the same theme is revealed when Roscuro does not forgive Princess Pea for the evil look she gave him. This is especially important to the story because by not forgiving the princess, he is left with darkness inside himself that he is unable to repair. Finally though, at the end of the novel, Pea forgives Roscuro for kidnapping her and for accidentally killing her mother, and he is redeemed.

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 themes in The Tale of Despereaux. Illustrate examples of each theme and write a short description below each cell.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from The Tale of Despereaux you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.

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/4/2] Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.


(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.

More Storyboard That Activities

The Tale of Despereaux

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