Determining Theme: Right Side Interactive Notebook Activity

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SWBAT read a passage and decide on the theme and give supporting text evidence to justify their assertions.

Big Idea

Understanding theme is essential for deep understanding of fictional texts.

Just to Review.....

10 minutes

Today is the right side activity for our interactive student notebooks.  The previous lesson found the students completing foldables which listed common themes in literature with definitions and completing an exit ticket matching books we've already read to the common themes from the foldable.

Today when the students enter the room, they grab their Interactive Student Notebooks and turn to their wheels from yesterday.  We do a quick review with shoulder partners about what theme is and how to find it.  I have one shoulder partner do the definition and one partner do the question to find it and each partner gives the thumbs up/ thumbs down to evaluate their partner's answer.  As I circulate the room, I can tell that the students have a good working definition of theme.


Right Side Partners

30 minutes

The right side interactive notebook activity for this lesson is another graphic organizer.  Students are going to be working with a partner to read a passage and determine the theme.  In determining the theme, though, this time, they have to provide text examples to support their theme.  

The students receive a graphic organizer along with a set of reading passages and I instruct them to glue the graphic organizer onto the bottom half of the right side of their notebook- across from the wheel from yesterday.  I instruct the students to read through the passages with their partner and glue the passage they choose onto the top half of the right side of their notebook.  

I then dismiss students to find a partner to work with.  The students settle in to read and fill out the graphic organizer.  I wanted to start with a shorter passage so the students didn't get too overwhelmed with details while determining the theme.

I give the students time to work on this before we share answers.

Comparing Themes and Evidence

15 minutes

As students are finishing up their graphic organizers, it is time to share.  I have pairs of students bring their graphics to the ELMO and share their themes and evidence.  The richest conversation we had was in answer to the question- Is it possible to have the different themes in the same passage.  Some students said yes and some said no.  The students who believed you could have different themes cited the fact that people have different experiences and can read different things into the passages.  The students who believe it's impossible to have two different themes soon came to see the other side of the discussion.

After everyone shared, I sent the rest of the passages home for homework and extra practice. It's going to be interesting because some of the themes in the passages aren't ones that we discussed in the foldable lesson.  I'm excited to see how they do!!