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Activity Overview

White Bird is filled with themes, symbolism, and motifs, all of which are helpful for students to analyze to gain a deeper understanding of the characters and their journey. Students can explore this by identifying a theme, symbol or motif themselves or, in an “envelope activity” where they are given one or more to track throughout their reading. Then, students will create a storyboard illustrating the examples of that theme from the text.

Examples of Themes in White Bird

  • The Holocaust
  • Friendship
  • Empathy
  • Courage
  • Bullying
  • Family
  • Prejudice
  • Kindness
  • Hope

Examples of Symbols and Motifs in White Bird

  • White Bird
  • Sarah's Sketchbook
  • The Barn
  • Milk for the La Fleurs
  • The Wolves
  • The Mernuit
  • The Bluebells
  • The school: L'ecole de Lafayette
  • Tourteau's name
  • Sara's Red Shoes
  • The car in the barn

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, symbols, or motifs found in White Bird. Illustrate each symbol and write a short description below each cell.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the themes, symbols, or motifs from White Bird you wish to include and type them in the title box at the top.
  3. Create an image for examples that represent each symbol using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples in the black text box.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

Common Core Standards
  • [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
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/1] Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.


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

Create a storyboard that identifies symbolism in the story. Illustrate instances of each and write a short description that explains the example's significance.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Identify Symbol(s)
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 are incorrectly identified as significant symbols.
No symbols are correctly identified.
All examples support the identified symbols. Descriptions clearly say why examples are significant.
Most examples fit the identified symbols. Descriptions say why examples are significant.
Most examples do not fit the identified symbols. Descriptions are unclear.
Storyboard cells clearly show connection with the symbols and help with understanding.
Most storyboard cells help to show the symbols but some storyboard cells are difficult to understand.
Storyboard cells do not help in understanding the symbols.

More Storyboard That Activities

White Bird

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