Identifying How Theme Represents a View of Life in The Absolute True Diary of a Part-time Indian (Day 2 of 2)

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SWBAT determine a theme and analyze its development over the course of the text by providing an objective summary of how a selection represents a comment on life.

Big Idea

Students identify themes and analyze how they connect to Junior's life.


15 minutes

I decided to give my students another day to explore the Activity Sheet.  I want to tie in the theme from the previous days lesson analyzing the repercussions of racism and the need for family.  For the Activator I asked students to read the statement that I wrote on the white board:

By drawing cartoons, Junior feels safe. He draws "because I want to talk to the world. And I want the world to pay attention to me."

I then ask them to answer the following question in writing:

How do Junior's cartoons on page 13  For example, How does this quote: "Who my parents would have been if somebody had paid attention to their dreams" and "white/Indian" show his understanding of ways the the theme of racism has deeply impacted his and his family's lives?

I want them to once again think of the meaning of the theme and it's connection with the main character's life living on an Indian reservation.  After writing their answers in their journals I choose some students to share out with the group.

Building Knowledge

20 minutes

As in Day 1 of this lesson, I am reviewing information that most students (hopefully) have learned.  I ask students to once again review their notes on Theme and while I ask questions about what we covered during the previous day lesson and check to see if their notes are correct or need changes or additions. 

I am wanting them to review and know these basic facts:

  1. how a subject differs from a theme, 
  2. how theme is a model of the real world, 
  3. how to find a theme, and 
  4. why understanding theme can make reading The Part-time Indian much more enjoyable and meaningful.  

I know that repetition by re-teaching is an important instructional tool especially for struggling learners.    

Using one of the themes from the book,  I model why it's a theme and show evidence from the novel to support that theme.  I then review the protocol for the Theme Activity,asking them to take out their Theme Activity worksheet reviewing the stated themes.  As they read the novel the students will continue aligning each chapter title to a theme.  I remind them that several of the chapters can fit into more than one category.

Student Learning Activity

30 minutes

Using the Theme Activity I asked students to match each chapter that they already read with a theme from the activity sheet.  They must include their reason for placement by including an explanation from the novel to prove their point.  I give them the option of using a quote from the chapter or putting it in their own words.

I circulated among the students helping them by looking at Chapter 3, Revenge is My Middle Name, and reviewing the characters' words throughout the chapter asking, "What were they talking about?" As students give me answers I ask, "What theme or themes might this address on your Theme Activity sheet?" "Now find evidence to support your answer and write it into the reason box"  as required in standard RL.9-10.1

Students begin writing chapter titles and a reason for the theme selected.  I think my Re-Teaching crates learning and my students benefit from this important review process.

Wrap Up

10 minutes

Ticket to Leave

I decide to give the students the index cards from the day before that have themes on one side and an explanation on the other.  Instead of asking some of the students to participate in the Inside -Outside Circles activity I instead use a Ticket to Leave activity by asking them to first study the theme and explanation on the card.  I call on 5 students to give the theme and explanation without looking at their cards SL.9-10.1.  If they can do this without making a mistake, class is over.  If someone makes a mistake I will keep calling on a student to give me another theme and an explanation until the bell rings. This sort of challenge can increase focus and attention on the activity as well as have a little fun as well.

The first five students made no mistakes so the class had a few minutes of free time at the end of the class.