Frozen: Understanding Theme

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SWBAT identify themes by listening to and analyzing song lyrics and dialogue in an important scene in a movie.

Big Idea

Grab and keep your readers attention as they investigate themes!

Analyzing Lyrics to Tease Out Theme

20 minutes

For this lesson, I want students learn about more about theme is developed.  To increase engagement and to help students learn to identify theme I purchased the movie "Frozen" and played excerpts of it through Amazon Instant Videos.  I ask students to watch the film clips and think about how movies use music, events, and dialogue to develop theme.  

"Good morning students, today we will watch a bit of the movie Frozen to help us understand theme. When an author writes a poem, story, or even a movie script they are thinking of ways to create characters, events, dialogue and songs that point to the message or theme of the text."

I start by displaying the lyrics from the song "Frozen Heart" from the opening scene in the movie Frozen.

Then I read aloud the lyrics to the students.  I tell the students that the song has clues to the themes in the movie Frozen.

After reading lyrics to the students, I play the song for them and let kids listen and sing along:

The Frozen Heart:  Ice Workers' Song

After listening and singing the song, I tell students to "turn and talk" with their partner and compare the idea they have about the themes of the movie based on this opening song.  

I listen in and restate students ideas.  I anticipate students will say I think a theme is being hard hearted or closed off, etc.

Next, I project the lyrics again and ask students specific questions about the lyrics stanza by stanza.


Born of cold and winter air
And mountain rain combining    WHO?
This icy force both foul and fair  What does this mean?
Has a frozen heart worth mining  What does this mean?

And mark up the text on the lyrics.


Cut through the heart, cold and clear:  What do you think this line means?
Strike for love and strike for fear  (suggest: Maybe there is both love and fear in the heart?)
See the beauty sharp and sheer
Split the ice apart
And break the frozen heart  Who in this movie has a "frozen heart"?


Beautiful, powerful, dangerous, cold
Ice has a magic can't be controlled
Stronger than one, stronger than ten
Stronger than a hundred men  
What / who  do you think this stanza is referring to?


Born of cold and winter air
And mountain rain combining
This icy force both foul and fair
Has a frozen heart worth mining

Cut through the heart, cold and clear
Strike for love and strike for fear
There's beauty and there's danger here
Split the ice apart
Beware the frozen heart

I jot down students' thinking on copy of the lyrics.


Analyze Dialogue for Theme Clues

20 minutes

In this section of the lesson, I ask students to listen carefully to the dialogue between Elsa and Anna's Father, the King and the Troll King in the second scene of the movie (6:30) when the King and Queen bring  Princess Anna to them after she has been hurt when Princess Elsa's power struck Anna by mistake.

I show dialogue  handout to student on the document screen and then expressively read the dialogue to students.  Then, I ask students volunteer to read the three speaking parts in this important scene of the movie.  King, Elsa, and King Troll.  The rest of the students can be the trolls.  After students have read the scene- I scroll to minute 6:30 in the movie and watch the scene.

I return to the projection of the dialogue handout, and ask the students to suggest which line is important and to tell why as it relates to the theme of the movie.

To conclude the lesson, I have students turn and compare their ideas about themes of the movie based on the song and the dialogue.  After students share with each other, we have a class discussion based on their ideas of what the possible themes are in Frozen.

Here is a chart of their ideas.