I open by asking students what are some of the lessons Bud learned in the story Bud Not Buddy so far? Students share. I then ask them when they shared a similar lesson learned in their own lives. Call on students to share a few.
I tell students that these lessons or themes found in stories are THE MEssages the author wants us to learn through the character actions, thoughts and events...but that these messages are "universal" messages. This means that these same lessons are learned by children and adults all around the universe. A child in Africa might have a parent tell him to think of others before himself after he says he's too tired to get up early to hunt with his fellow tribesmen. Or a child in China might hear she needs to work to reach a goal when she lets herself get distracted from her studies because others are playing outide.
I introduce the objective, "Today we are going to learn how themes can be similar in different books, movies and songs that we have read and heard, and then identify books that have the same theme as in the Bud Not Buddy book."
I hold up a copy of Bud Not Buddy and The Watsons Go To Birmingham and ask students what is similar about the two books (characters, time frames, author, etc.)
I share with students that often authors use similar themes in different books they write to teach their readers lessons through their characters. Today we are going to read parts of The Watson's Go to Birmingham, another book written by Christopher Paul Curtis to determine if we can identify the themes and the details in the text that support it.
I review to the slide of friendship demonstrated in the story The Watsons go to Birmingham and stop to read the passage modeling how to identify support for the lesson of friendship in the sentences, "Rufus shot me a look...I knew I'd done something wrong" and then "I thought you was my friend. I didn't think you was like them other people" and share that it sounds like he was being cool to impress the popular crowd and in the process hurt a friend's feelings.
I ask students to signal if that ever happened to them or someone they know? I share that making connections to text helps us to relate to how characters in the stories may be feeling.
Before I go to the next slide I pass out the theme graphic organizer worksheet and explain that I am going to summarize part of the book and have them try to identify a message and the details in the story that support it. I prefer this worksheet but included a different theme graphic organizer worksheet as well in case it fits your class needs better. I read the slide that states (family). I read the first few paragraphs and end when his brother's lips are stuck on the window. I may not have enough time to use all the slides but they might be helpful for you to use with your class.
I model how to complete the worksheet and ask students what lesson they are teaching the readers (family comes first, think of others before yourself, kindness are a few).
I introduce the Comparing Themes Literature Circle worksheet and pass out copies of the Bud Not Buddy book. I share that they will now read chapter 8 quietly with the purpose of identifying the theme or authors message in this chapter.
I set a timer for 15 min. and students read quietly and respond to the worksheet with a similar theme in a book, movie and song. If some struggle with relating to a song, I have them wait until they share to complete this section. I project the example themes worksheet on the board as a reference.
I then signal, set the timer for 10 minutes and have students share around their table groups (4-6 students) identify the message in the chapter and their connections to other text. They are instructed to use their discourse words and to give equal time for sharing to everyone.
I gather students together and have groups share the theme of the chapter and some connections they made to other books, movies and songs.
I share that there are 12 common themes found in literature. I ask them to restate them in "kid-friendly language" - I model that when they say "man struggles against society pressures" it means that man is people and society pressures are the pressures our parents and school expect of us - then share its "doing the right thing even when I don't want to"
I have students share some more examples and write them on the board next to the literature themes.
I close with asking how they feel about completing the work in this unit and if they feel they are ready to talk independently in their groups? I also ask again what parts they still find difficult and what they enjoyed?
I collect the books and take notes for what issues to address and what groups/ people to listen to next time. I gauge this according to what they responded both in their small groups and in our closing discussions and look for ways to teach effective sharing and participation strategies.