Return to Samples Menu Page

Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry by M.D. Taylor

Ellen GaberObjectives:

1. To examine the causes of prejudice

2. To recognize and identify individual prejudices

3. To research background information

4. To predict the novel's content

5. To examine the author's development of character

6. To identify the point of view

7. To practice reasoning skill by drawing inferences

8. To discover and analyze the author's use of figurative language

9. To create original descriptive paragraphs and poetry

10. To acquire new vocabulary

11. To write an essay response to a thought topic

Section 1: Level C - 65 points maximum -30 points of mandatory work, 35 points of options


1. Complete the following worksheets:

a. Pre-reading Handouts 3 and 4 (5 points)

b. Setting Handout 5-Library research. Be prepared to share with

class. (5 points)

c. Predicting the Plot-Handout 6 (5 points)

2. Read the novel (5 points)

3. Complete the study guide questions-Handout 7

Participate in class discussion of study questions (10 points)


4. Take lecture notes (5 points per day)

5. Read the "Create a Poem" worksheet 18. Choose a character and write a poem about him/her (5 points)

6. Choose 20 new words from the novel. Make DAPit cards. Be sure to be able to tell their definitions. (5 points)

7. Find five examples of figurative language and draw illustrations of their literal meanings. (5 points)

8. Make and present a board game that illustrates the plot of the novel. (10 points)

9. Make and present a poster identifying and illustrating the elements of fiction. (5 points)

10. "Who's Who" Handout 8 (5 points)

11. "Point of View" Handout 9 (5 points)

12. "Symbolism" Handout 15 (5 points)

12. Write a paragraph describing a place you have been. Assume your readers have never seen this place and the only picture they will have of it is the one you paint with your words.

13. Select a month, a season of the year, or a time of day. Close your Eyes. See, feel, hear, smell it. Write a descriptive paragraph describing this month, time of day, or season.

14. Parent's signature and daytime phone number_________________________ (5 points)

15. Create a synopsis sheet including setting, characters and one-line identification, one-sentence statement of situation, one main event for each chapter, and a resolution. Be prepared to discuss. (10 points)

Section 2: Level B-Complete 15 points

1. Creative writing assignment-Cassie Logan is the first person narrator of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Select a character other than Cassie and one important incident from the book. Rewrite it with your chosen character as the first person narrator. Remember, your chosen character becomes the "I" of your rewrite. Use description and dialog. (10 points)

2. From reading the novel you are familiar with the personality traits of Uncle Hammer, T.J., Avery, Pa Logan, Cassie, Big May, Stacey, and Daisy Crocker. Make a chart. For each situation given, describe how you think each character would act or react. (10 points)

a. Each gets on a bus which has empty seats in the front but is instructed by the driver to stand in the rear of the bus.

b. Each is in Vicksburg, hungry, thirsty, and in need of a rest room. Where will he/she go to satisfy these needs?

c. Each is asked to join a freedom march to gain more civil rights

3. Locate five newspapers articles that remind you of something in Roll or Thunder, Hear My Cry. Cut out each article, attach it to a sheet of paper, summarize each article, and explain its connection to the novel. (5 points)

4. "Character Types" Handout 11 (5 points)

5. "What's Not Being Said?" Handout 14 (10 points)

6. Cassie Logan's story begins in Mildred Taylor's first book, Song of the Trees. Read the book and report on it to the class. Describe the major conflict and how the title relates to the story. (10 points)

7. Illustrate an important idea from the book in a poster of collage. Include quotations as well as images in your work. (5 points)

8. Draw an editorial cartoon about one of the ideas in the novel. (5 points)

9. With a partner review the book as Siskel and Ebert might have if it were a film. Give your thumbs-up/thumbs-down reaction, support your arguments with examples from the book, and give reasons for your opinion. (5 points each)

Section 3: Level A- Each worth 20 points. Select one.

1. Select one of the two topics below for a five-paragraph essay addressing your view of the topic:

a. Agree or disagree with Mama's statement "....we have no choice of what color we're born or who are parents are or whether we're rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we're here."

b. Mildred Taylor stated in her Newbery acceptance speech: "I wanted to show the endurance of the black world, with strong fathers and concerned mothers; I wanted to show happy, loved children about whom other children, both black and white, could say;

'Hey, I really like them! I feel what they feel.' I wanted to show a black family united in love and pride." How successful was Taylor in doing this in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry?

2. This novel takes place in 1933. What do you think Jeremy, Stacey, Cassie, and T.J. would be doing in the 1960's? Consider their personalities, the social climate of the 1960's, and the societal changes occurring in the South during this time period.

3. Make a scrapbook that illustrates life in the United States in 1933. Research sources could include newspapers and annuals.

4. Character Portfolio-Think of and create, as they might really look, 5-7

Authentic items that one of the main characters in the novel would have if he/she were a live person. Items might include but are not limited to a birth certificate, baptismal certificate, driver's license, report card, will, shopping list, diary entry, play bill, letter to Santa, thank you note, epitaph, obituary, marriage vows or license, draft card, or passport. These items should be relevant to the character's life in the book and appropriate to the time period. You may want to refer to library resources for ideas and designs.

50-64 points=D 65-79 points=C 80-85 points=B 86+ points= A


Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


My goal A_____B______C

Due date: ____________

Total Points Earned__________

Unit Grade________



1. a. Handouts 3 + 4 (5)_______

b. Handout 5 (5) ______

c. Handout 6 (5) _______

2. Novel (5) ______

3. Handout 7 and discussion (10) ______


4. Lecture notes (5 per day) ________

5. "Create a Poem" Wkst. 18 (5) _______

6. Vocabulary words (5) ________

7. Figurative Language illustrations (5)_______

8. Board Game (10) _______

9. Poster (5) ________

10. "Who's Who?" Handout 8 (5) ________

11. "Point of View" Handout 9 (5) ________

12. "Symbolism" Handout 15 (5) _________

13/14. Descriptive paragraph (5) ________

15. Parent signature and phone (5) _______

16. Synopsis sheet (10) _______


1. Narrator essay (10) ________

2. Character essay (10) _______

3. Newspaper Articles (5) ______

4. "Character Types" Handout 11 (5) ______

5. "What's Not Being Said?" Handout 14 (10) _______

6. Song of the Trees (10) _______

7. Quote Collage/poster (5) ______

8. Editorial cartoon (5) _________

10. Siskel-Ebert review (5) ________


1. Five-paragraph essay (20) ______

2. 1960's essay (20) _______

3. Scrapbook (20) ________

4. Character Portfolio (20) ________