Dramatic Reading & Theme Study

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SWBAT read the dramatic adaptation of The Book Thief and identify the theme.

Big Idea

Dramatic text is thematic too?

Warm Up

10 minutes

To open class today students will write in their journal in response to the following (displayed on the SMART board).

Author Somerset Maugham once said, “To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” First, look up the word refuge and record it's meaning. Then, including an explanation of "refuge" in your response, explain both what the quote means and if you think it is accurate. 

 *Note that this is a variation of a question included in Scholastic Scope's materials for this article.

After students have had time to write, we'll discuss their take on the meaning of the quote and whether or not they feel it is accurate.

Class Reading

20 minutes

As we move into this section of the lesson, students will take a copy of the April 2014 Scholastic Scope magazine from their caddy.  We are ready to read!

My middle school students always get so excited over reading a play aloud in class.  Of course there are a few who would rather die than participate, but I always try to make it fun.  For example, I demonstrate and  encourage "character voice". 

After assigning parts, we will read the play, but this activity is so much more than that.  As we read I will stop students to check for understanding of inferences and key details. I'll bring out details that will connect back to the idea of reading as a refuge, and ask students why certain characters make certain choices. In this text for example, why does Max choose to leave? Why do Liesel's "adoptive" parents allow him to? It is important that my students understand that the setting has everything to do with character choices and this allows me to bring that out.

Independent Work

20 minutes

After our reading students will take a handout from the caddy.  The Thinking About Theme handout is a much needed practice for my students. We have devoted a lot of time to information and argument, and are in need of a refresher of thinking about theme in a literary work.

After a quick review with this piece, I'll have my students take another handout from the caddy Exploring Theme.  This piece allows students to work with the theme of our reading for today. I particularly love how is guides them through what is a complex process for most of my students.  The great thing is that with many of their resources Scope provides two levels - one with more scaffolding that the other, so I can use what my students need.

This task is to be completed for class review tomorrow.  I have uploaded a PDF of the play to our Edmodo page for students to reference -if needed- at home tonight.

Wrap Up

5 minutes

To wrap up class today, I will allow students to share their findings for the first row of the handout.  I find that this helps my students who are struggling to see if they are on the right track so they can self-assess before the work needs to be competed for class tomorrow.