Theme: The Stone (Day 2)
Lesson 5 of 7
Objective: SWBAT provide text evidence and identify a story’s theme.
As soon as they settle in, the students take out “The Stone” by Lloyd Alexander, a short story started in class the previous day, and the homework assignment, which was to answer the Check Your Comprehension questions and Critical Thinking questions at the end of the story. They use the time I spend checking in homework for small group discussions of the Reader’s Response and Thematic Focus questions and also respond to the Journal Writing prompt on page 531.
As you can imagine, everyone wants to contribute to the discussion on staying young forever. As eleven and twelve year olds, they more eager to experience life as an adult than to avoid it. However, we can stay on that topic forever and review responses to the Comprehension Check and Critical Thinking questions. The comprehension questions are basic in that they ask for details that “right there” in the text. However, I don’t skip them because without this information the students cannot look deeply at the text, which is what they are required to do with the questions that get at critical thinking. A few examples of student work appear here and here.
To continue our work on the literary element of theme we once again use the Literary Focus: Theme worksheet. This time it includes a passage from “The Stone.” One big difference from when we used this worksheet for “The All-American Slurp” is that it does not give away the theme, but instead requires the students to find it themselves. Thankfully, they are ready for this greater degree of independence and all but the most challenged readers are accurate in their response: Maibon learned that people should carefully consider what they wish for and change and growth are good.
Now It’s Your Turn
To end today’s class, ask students to demonstrate their understanding of how author’s reveal theme. Ask them to find another section of the text with details that lead to theme. As a reminder of what to look for have them list the four ways authors express theme. Thoughts on how this turned out appear here: