Activity Overview

A theme is a central idea, subject, or message in a story. Many stories have more than one important theme. For this activity, students will identify and illustrate 2 of the themes in Towers Falling. Teachers may want the students to identify and illustrate 2 themes, one for each cell, or identify one theme and show two examples of it, one example per cell.

Examples of Themes in Towers Falling

History is Relevant

Oftentimes it is difficult for children to understand what history has to do with them, and why they have to learn about it. One of the main themes of this book is that history is alive, personal, and relevant. Deja sees this first hand when she learns how September 11th had an impact on so many in one way or another, including her father, herself, Miss Garcia, Sabeen, and Ben.


Deja’s family is going through some hard times, but they always help one another and love one another. The family structures are all different in the book, and the reader is exposed to different family situations and make ups.


When Deja begins at her new school, she has no desire to make friends. However, she forms a very special bond with Ben and Sabeen, who are both very different from her and each other. In the classroom, Miss Garcia puts a big emphasis on social units and how important they are to have in life.

Identity and Patriotism

Deja and her friends are all from different backgrounds, and heritage is important and celebrated in Deja’s school. Deja learns to embrace these differences while also developing a deep sense of pride in her country and being an American.

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 storyboard that identifies recurring themes in Towers Falling. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the themes from Towers Falling you wish to include and write them in the headings.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  4. Write a short description of each of the examples.
  5. Save often.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 4-6

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

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/4/2] Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/2] Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.


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

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in the story. Illustrate instances of each and write a short description that explains the example's significance.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Identify Theme(s)
All themes are correctly identified as important recurring topics or messages in the story.
Some themes are correctly identified, but others are missing or do not make sense with the story.
No themes are correctly identified.
All examples support the identified themes. Descriptions clearly say why examples are significant.
Most examples fit the identified themes. Descriptions say why examples are significant.
Most examples do not fit the identified themes. Descriptions are unclear.
Storyboard cells clearly show connection with the themes and help with understanding.
Most storyboard cells help to show the themes, but some storyboard cells are difficult to understand.
Storyboard cells do not help in understanding the themes.

More Storyboard That Activities

Towers Falling

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