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Activity Overview


Symbolism is an important element in many literary works. Part of the Common Core ELA standards is introducing and explaining this complex concept. Like themes, these ideas are abstract and are often difficult for students to grasp on their own. This is why using a storyboard is helpful. Storyboards allow students to visually demonstrate their understanding of a concept like symbolism.

In the classroom, students can track the six symbols that "The Wedding Dance" uses to communicate ideas about culture and marriage.


Six Symbolic Elements

Gangsas

The gangsas are culturally important. The sound of the gangsas represents the man in the wedding ceremony. Like the gangsas, they are strong and provide a beat to the dance, or a "beat to life".


Dancing

Culturally, the dancing is a celebration of happiness. It is also a show of sexuality by the women. Because Lumnay has not produced a child, she feels ashamed to dance and show herself to the other men, as she believes no one will look at her.


The Fire

The fire or flames signify the burning intensity of both love and hate that Lumnay feels in the situation. When Awiyao stirs the embers in Lumnay’s dark hut, he stirs up both of these feelings in her. Later, as Lumnay watches the bonfire from afar, her physical distance from the fire reflects her emotional separation from the man she loves.


The Beads

The beads in the story symbolize the promise that Awiyao made to Lumnay. They are also very precious and are worth 20 fields. The fact that Awiyao gives them to Lumnay shows that he cherishes her, and that he still believes she has worth. Although Lumnay rejects the hut and field Awiayo offers her, she accepts the beads, suggesting her desire to remain connected to Awiyao.


The Floor

A number of times the narrator draws the reader’s attention to the rattan floor as Lumnay pulls it apart. This is symbolic of their marriage unraveling.


The Night

The nighttime setting symbolically adds to the darkness and isolation that Lumnay feels as she runs away from the village. As she works her way up the dark mountain alone, she is unable to envision a path to the future. The reader, too, is left in darkness with the unresolved ending.


Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 5 (Advanced / Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

Common Core Standards
  • [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/7/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/10] By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range


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 significant symbols from "The Wedding Dance". Illustrate each symbol and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify at least three symbols from "The Wedding Dance" and replace the title box text.
  3. Create an image that represents this symbol.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.



Rubric

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



Symbolism
Create a storyboard that identifies important symbols in the story. Illustrate each symbol and write a short description that explains the significance to the story.
Proficient Emerging Beginning Needs Improvement
Identification of Symbols
All symbols are correctly identified as objects that represent something else at a higher level in the story.
Most symbols are correctly identified, but some objects are missing or incomplete.
Most symbols are missing, incomplete, or incorrect.
No symbols are correctly identified.
Examples and Descriptions
Quotes and examples are accurate to the symbols that are being identified. Descriptions accurately explain the symbols and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are accurate to the symbols that are being identified. Descriptions mostly accurately explain the symbols, and highlight their significance to the story.
Most quotes and examples are minimal, incorrect, or unrelated to the symbols that are being identified. Descriptions contain inaccuracies in their explanations, or do not highlight their significance to the story.
Examples and descriptions are missing or too minimal to score.
Depiction
Depictions chosen for symbols are accurate to the story and reflect time, effort, thought, and care with regard to placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for symbols are mostly accurate to the story. They reflect time and effort put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for symbols are inaccurate to the story. The depictions may be rushed or show minimal effort, time, and care put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Most depictions are missing too many elements or are too minimal to score. Little time or effort has been put into placement and creation of the scenes.
English Conventions
There are no errors in spelling, grammar, or mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions reflect careful proofreading and accuracy to the story.
There are a few errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions show accuracy to the story and some proofreading.
There are several errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. Most writing portions do not reflect proofreading or accuracy to the story.
Errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics in writing portions of the storyboard seriously interfere with communication.




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