Assessing Theme, Continued

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SWBAT determine a theme statement, based on what the characters say, do, & and think.

Big Idea

Students try to combine their two central idea words to create a theme statement.

Complete Theme Maps, Check-in Logs, & Silent Read

25 minutes

Three things are happening at the start of this lesson.

  1. Kids are completing their theme maps from the previous day's lesson.
  2. I am checking in student's Theme Reading Logs and making sure they are understanding how to find relevant examples to support their central idea words. We may have a conversation about why they selected a word or example.
  3. Kids are silently reading when they finish their map.

Students Write Theme Statements

10 minutes

Using their theme maps from yesterday, kids will now need to write theme statements, or take away lessons from their novels. I pass out Post-It notes. Kids write their two "central idea words" as well as their statement or lesson. We post these in the back of the room so all kids can read each other's work. One important reminder: don't forget to use both central idea words when writing your theme statement. Theme statements aren't long! They're one sentence.

Hillary Boles, another Master Teacher, has an awesome lesson on theme. She refers to theme as the bumper sticker of the book. I shared this with my kids and together we looked at photos of bumper stickers.

Here are two student samples: Theme Statement + Central Idea Words

Student Sample (2): Theme Statement + Central Idea Words

I always find it fascinating that, for one book, as a class we can come up with countless different and relevant theme statements.

Theme Analysis: What do the character's say and do that relate to the words?

25 minutes

After kids have worked to create theme statements and have read their classmates displayed work, they'll be introduced to the Theme Analysis Guidelines & Outline.

All kids will be writing a theme analysis based on our districts official 6th Grade Fiction Lit Analysis Rubric.

They will use their "So B. It" Assessing Theme Excerpt and theme map to determine what the characters do, say, and think that contribute to the central idea words/theme.

To keep it simple, I always have kids lead off their analysis with their theme statements. They serve as effective leads and catchy beginnings. Then they continue to explain how they've created these statements, using specific text examples. Finally, they tie in parts of plot.

See this Theme Analysis: What to include in each paragraph for more information.