Masquerade Party (Theme & Symbolism)

Time Required: Two 45-60 minute sessions
Skill Level: Intermediate
Recommended Grades: 3rd to 5th

In this lesson, students will work in small groups to analyze the theme of a guided or shared reading book. Students will use the 3Doodler to design a mask that expresses the theme of their book through symbols.

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Lesson Plan


Step 1

PREPARATION: Print out masks before the lesson.

Step 2

Whole group: Review the meaning of a literary theme as the message the author wants you to take from the story.

Step 3

Brainstorm various literary themes, e.g., courage, kindness, respect, discovery, persistence, accepting others, overcoming obstacles, believing in yourself, etc.

Step 4

Discuss the theme of a story that your class has shared.

Step 5

Record a sentence that best summarizes the theme of your shared read aloud, e.g., trust your friends or never turn your back on a friend.

Step 6

Discuss symbols and how they represent something else, like a human experience. Discuss what each of the following objects might represent: bird/freedom, cat/mystery, heart/love, hand/friendship, flower/growth, snake/danger, flag/patriotism, fire/anger.

Step 7

Ask students to brainstorm ideas for symbols to express the theme of the shared read.

Step 8

Cut out the mask template. Use pencil to draw a composite of 4-6 selected theme symbols. Make sure that symbols are connected to each other by their edges. Some symbols may be repeated. After drawing symbols, create additional doodles to fill in any empty space and join all parts. *See Appendix.

Step 9

Trace over pencil lines with 3Doodler. Fill in selected areas by doodling lines back and forth. Be sure to connect with each side of the outline. Allow 2-3 minutes to harden and peel off of paper.

Step 10

Challenge students to work in small groups of 2-3 to create a mask with 4-6 symbols that represent a selected book's theme that all students have read.

Step 11

Instruct students to work in their groups to discuss the book's theme. Then brainstorm and sketch various possible ideas before moving onto designing a mask stencil and tracing it with a 3Doodler.

Step 12

Circle to guide, assist and assess.

Wrap Up

Group members share their masks, discuss the theme and related symbols. Share on Twitter #3DoodlerEDU


Review students' 3Doodled masks to gauge students' level of understanding.

Possible Extensions

Students write a narrative about how the theme of this story applies to their own lives. Example: If the theme is friendship: Describe the ways in which your friends have played an important part in your life. Explain a time you had to be there for a friend in need.



    Educational Standards

    Common Core

    Determine a theme of a story from details in the text.

    In This Lesson

    Students will work in small groups to identify the theme of a shared reading book.

    Common Core

    Make connections between the text of a story and a visual presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.

    In This Lesson

    Students will create a visual mask that represents the theme of a shared reading book.

    Next Gen Science

    Define a simple design problem that can be solved through the development of an object, tool, process, or system and includes several criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

    In This Lesson

    Students will work in pairs to meet selected criteria while designing a mask with symbols that expresses the theme of a shared reading book.

    Next Gen Science

    Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

    In This Lesson

    Students will work in small groups sketching various symbols and design possibilities with before selecting one to doodle for their mask.

    CS Teachers

    Plan and create a design document to illustrate thoughts and ideas in a sequential (step-by-step) manner (e.g., story map, storyboard, sequential graphic organizer).

    In This Lesson

    Students will work with their group to sketch a plan and stencil for the organization and placement of mask symbols and design elements before doodling over it with a 3Doodler.

    CS Teachers

    Decompose (break down) a larger problem into smaller sub-problems with teacher guidance or independently.

    In This Lesson

    Students will analyze the theme of a shared reading book, identifying and discussing symbols that best express this theme.


    Use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

    In This Lesson

    Students will use a 3Doodler to visually demonstrate the theme of a book by designing a mask that incorporates related symbolism.


    Exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.

    In This Lesson

    Students will demonstrate willingness and competency within an open-ended task with more than one possible outcome.


    Create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

    In This Lesson

    Students will create an original mask that expresses the theme of a book through symbolism.


    Use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.

    In This Lesson

    Students will create original mask designs based on group input, collaboration, and problem solving.

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