Scholars look at the same picture as they did yesterday. I explain that yesterday we created metaphors for our picture and today we're going to brainstorm possible themes. I say, "a theme is the BIG message the author wants to communicate and share. What do you think the photographer wants to share by taking this picture?"
Some possible themes might be: peace, reverence, stillness, beauty of nature.
I give scholars 2 minutes to jot down ideas. Then we share with the whole group. I keep this part super short today because the rest of the lesson is a bit longer.
For the teaching strategy today, we have a few different sections. Scholars are familiar with theme, but it is a tricky skill for some, so I plan a bit more support in this lesson than in the lesson on figurative language.
Background Knowledge Builder (5 min)
Scholars take notes on the following:
1. Theme is a message or BIG Idea that the author wants to communicate with the reader.
2. Themes are important so that we know what the most important thing is that the author wants to say.
3. Some common themes are: perseverance, coming of age, communication, rebellion, salvation, good/evil, beauty, empowerment, love
Partner Reading & Group theme: (15 min)
Scholars re-read the lyrics to Wake Me Up by Avicii with the partner at their table. Here is an example of partner reading. Then, I show them the Avicii lyrical video. I show the lyric video with the poem instead of the real video because it implies the theme with visual images instead of giving you the literal meaning of the theme (this is more apparent in the read video). I still want to make the kids work a bit at this point of the lesson.
In table groups, scholars, brainstorm & list all of the possible themes of the song.
In small groups, scholars create a PCR (Prose-constructed response) response to the following question:
*What is the theme of Avicii's song Wake Me Up. Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
Scholars have 20 minutes to create the response. All scholars must copy the teams response in their journal to ensure all scholars participate. This helps lower scholars to have access to the task and have a model for well-organized writing.
Scholars do a gallery walk by walking around the room and agreeing with or adding on to other teams' response. We do this by rotating to each team, giving 2 minutes of feedback and then rotating to the next station. I choose to use a gallery walk at this point in the lesson for a few reasons. First, it allows students to get up and move around the room. We've been sitting for a bit, so it is always a good idea to plan movement toward the middle/end of a lesson. Also, it enables students to see a variety of responses and learn from each other. Finally, it holds students accountable to the work that they are doing - they know that eventually everyone will walk around and read what they've written so it makes them want to do well. Here is an example of a student discussion during gallery walk.
Due to the longer nature of this lesson, we only have 1 rotation today. For independent work, scholars watch the real Avicii video (not the lyrical one). Then, they write a PCR that describes what they think is the theme to Wake Me Up.
I start the time by reviewing our checklist items for the week and explicitly state what should be completed by the end of the day. This holds scholars accountable to their work thereby making them more productive. Then, the ELL teacher and I share the materials that our groups will need to be successful (i.e. a pencil and your book baggies). Then, I give scholars 20 seconds to get to the place in the room where they will be for the first rotation. The first scholars who are there with all materials they need receive additions on their paychecks or positive PAWS.
During the rotations for this lesson, my small group objective today is to analyze theme within poems that are on each group's highest instructional level. Scholars read a portion of the same text (different for each group depending on reading level, but the same text is read in each group). Then we discuss theme.
After the first rotation, I do a rhythmic clap to get everyone's attention. Scholars place hands on head and eyes on me so I know they are listening. Then they point to where they go next. I give them 20 seconds to get there. Again, scholars who are at the next station in under 20 seconds with everything they need receive a positive PAW or a paycheck addition. We practice rotations at the beginning of the year so scholars know if they are back at my table, they walk on the right side of the room, if they are with the ELL teacher, they walk on the left side of the room and if they are at their desks, they walk in the middle of the room. This way we avoid any collisions.
At the end of our rotation time I give scholars 20 seconds to get back to their desks and take out materials needed for the closing part of our lesson. Timing transitions helps to make us more productive and communicates the importance of our learning time.