Close Reading Day 2 of Mason-Dixon Memory for the Theme of Both Plot Lines

2 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT think deeply about the theme by concentrating on the turning point of both of the main characters in the story.

Big Idea

Two is better than one!

Lesson Opener

5 minutes

Connect:  I will say, “Yesterday we upgraded our theme about Mason Dixon Memory. However I noticed that some of you were just writing about Clifton and not Dondre or the other way around.”

Teach: I will say, “In order to start my thinking about the themes of the text, I am going to practice the skill of using my upgraded theme from yesterday and the strategy making a theme timeline. The process I will use is as follows:

1) Use the plot lines I have been working with

2) Jot your themes under the events of the plot lines

3) Read over my organizer and come up with an overall theme

4) Use my organizer to complete compare and contrast writing

I will show the students how I take my two different plot lines and text details in order to think about theme. I will then show them how I use two different plot lines of  Mr.Andersen and Cassie in Song of the Trees using my upgraded theme from the day before.

I show them how I zoom in to the turning points of each character in order to keep both in mind when upgrading my theme. I will say to my students, in order to deeply analyze the text for theme, I am going to zoom in or re-read a part of the text. As readers we "close read" a text in order to deeply understand how the author crafted their story. We read a part in order to closely examine the text for a particular purpose. 

For example if your friend posted 10 status updates on Facebook about their bad day. You might closely read one or two posts in order to analyze what caused their bad day. You are reading clues from the author in order to infer meaning.

Active Engagement

5 minutes

Active Engagement: I will say, “Look at your notes, turn and tell your partner your upgraded theme from yesterday. Now turn and tell you partner how the theme is true for Clifton and Dondre.”  I will check for understanding by quickly listening to every level of learner (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard).

Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Remember, In order to start my thinking about the themes of the text, great readers practice the skill of organizing the plot lines of important characters in order to infer the theme. They create an organizer, use their annotations in order to complete a piece of writing using a compare and contrast text structure.

Independent Practice

30 minutes

Independent Practice: I will say, “Now you are going to take your plot lines of each character your upgraded theme from yesterday. I want you to jot a theme timeline under the plot lines and see if your upgraded theme fits. If it doesn’t, then revise it again.

Partner Work: Students will be directed share their theme timeline about both characters. I will say, “Decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B. Partner A you will share your upgraded theme and how both characters are showing theme or how you chose two different themes for them. Partner B, I want you to listen if partner A has their logically devising a theme or themes that fit with the characters in Mason Dixon Memory. Give your partner feedback as to if they missed anything. I should hear you say, “Maybe you could…. OR I like how you…” Then switch.”

Independent Practice: “Now I want you to practice compare and contrast writing again by picking your overall claim about the theme or themes of Mason Dixon Memory, your reasons of how the characters are showing the theme, organize your evidence and then write long about it using analysis.” I will project my “write long” about Cassie and Mr.Andersen in order to give them an example. Students will organize and write quietly while I conference. I will put on the writing music.  


5 minutes

Closing: For today students will turn in their “write longs” in order for me to assess their understanding of the story and how they are using character to come up with themes.