Lesson: Citing Text Evidence to Support a Theme
Lesson Topic: Citing Text Evidence to Support a Theme
Teacher: Kathy Powers
Unit Essential Questions: How does a character’s coming of age relate to our own lives?
Optional Instructional Tools: Individual student copies of the novel Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Lesson Objective: The students will determine a theme of Bud, Not Buddy using at least three pieces of evidence from the text and analyze how Bud responds to challenges.
Big Idea: The students will practice finding evidence to answer the Unit Essential Question: How does a character’s coming of age relate to our own lives? The students will also practice citing evidence to support their opinions. This lesson will precede a similar lesson supporting claims with textual evidence using nonfiction text about the Great Depression.
CCSS for this lesson: CCSS.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.
Section 1: Lesson Essential Questions
What is a theme of Bud, Not Buddy? How do Bud’s responses to challenges help him “come of age” and how does this relate to my own life?
Students will understand that analyzing events that shape a characters life will equip them to be able to analyze events in their own life and help them be able to reflect orally or in writing how those events shaped their own life.
Section 2: Close Reading and Discussion of the concept of Theme:
Theme is defined as the central idea or ideas of a literary work. Some major themes of Bud, Not Buddy are hope and coming of age. We practice close reading as we move through the novel: re-reading sections of the text several times to determine a deeper meaning or look for evidence.
I usually introduce the concept of theme by asking students if they have ever had a theme for their rooms at home (sports theme, animal theme, color theme, etc.) I explain that a theme is evidenced by repeated elements to show a central idea. In literature, this central idea or theme is revealed through evidence in the text. This evidence of a theme can be found through what the main character says or does, through the setting, what the narrator says, or through plot events in the story. We practice talking about examples of the theme of friendship and discuss books and movies that share this theme. I always prompt the students to give specific evidence from the book or movie to support their assertions.
In this lesson, discussion is one of the most important elements in concept development. We alternate reading chapters from Bud, Not Buddy aloud as a group and silently to ourselves. As we discuss both the theme of chapters and of the whole book when we complete it, we re-read sections of the text searching for deeper meaning and evidence to support the theme. Whole group, then small group, then pair discussion and close reading almost always precedes any writing assignment such as the ones used as assessment and throughout this lesson.
After we have a group discussion, I put students into small groups and have them discuss what they think could be the theme of Bud, Not Buddy. Each team must then share their agreed upon theme with the class and support their assertions with citing specific evidence from the text on a sheet of chart paper. Each team must be able to defend challenges to their choice of theme or evidence.
Section 3: Vocabulary: commence, caseworker, copacetic, depression, festering, gig, glum, moldering, prodigy, provoked, shunned
I introduce these words before we read and discuss the possible meanings with the students by pulling a sentence containing the word from the text. I tell students to alert me when we get to each word in the text. At that time, I will explain the definition. Students will choose one or more words to use in their written assessment.
Section 4: Individual Assessment
- The students will write a journal entry justifying their choice of theme for Bud, Not Buddy using at least three pieces of evidence from the text to support their theme choice.
- Students first discuss then write an answer to the unit essential question about the main character Bud: How do Bud’s responses to challenges help him “come of age” and how does this relate to my own life? Use at least two of the lesson vocabulary words in your response. (We write a response to the unit essential question after every text, so this is not the first time the students have had to answer this prompt.)
I have my students frequently journal in response to a text. Many of my prompts are open-ended, but the students always have to include evidence to support their points. They code their evidence with a circled letter E.
Explain how this lesson is Common Core Aligned:
One of the main goals of Common Core is for students to value evidence. The Common Core states that students who are college or career ready will, “cite specific evidence when offering an oral or written interpretation of a text. They use relevant evidence when supporting their own points in writing and speaking, making their reasoning clear to the reader or listener, and they constructively evaluate others’ use of evidence.” This lesson is evidence of rigorous close reading
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