Digging for Theme Analysis of Self-Selected Texts

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SWBAT analyze the theme of independent reading texts by writing the theme panel of a book jacket project.

Big Idea

Students drive the lesson by "digging in" to the work of explaining themes in their SSR books

Do Now: Reviewing Today's Task

5 minutes

We are in the home stretch of the SSR Book Jacket project. The purpose of this project is to assess students' understanding of summarizing and theme analysis (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2), characterization and conflicts that advance the plot (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3), and vocabulary in context (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4) and (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4.a).

For the "Do Now" today, I will be reviewing a short menu of tasks that students may complete during today's class session.

1) Work on the theme panel of the SSR project (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2). I will be scrutinizing the theme panel carefully to see if students can accurately identify, analyze, and explain a theme of their self-selected reading texts with evidence from the text.

2) Work on any uncompleted panels

3) Do some pre-reading of Romeo and Juliet.---Now, I really don't expect that anyone will select this option, but I am putting it out there just in case I have students that have completed their projects at home.

I am reviewing this menu to set expectations for what happens during today's class. I don't want this to be a social hour, so I have to set it up in the beginning that it will be strictly work time.

I think this in-class work time is important because I can continue to gauge progress toward completion, re-teach when necessary, and give feedback.

Application: Project Work Time

70 minutes

This time is critical today. Yes, it is a huge chunk of time, and it is the only time that students will have an entire period to work on a project. I am giving students this time today because the project is due in two more class periods. Giving students this long period is important because I have an extended period of time to check in with students that are still having trouble with developing theme statements or explaining evidence. It is also important because this is a major project assessment, and I really want them all to do well. They have been working on the project for about a month now and we are almost at D-Day. Today, they must have their theme panel complete, but they can also work on other parts of the project that still need it.

Check out this video of students working on various parts of the project. The video is not particularly exciting, but I provided it to show how students are really "digging in" to the work individually. They each have a goal in mind for the day and are moving at their own pace to complete their task. 

My role today will be to provide support and to answer any questions that might arise. I will also be checking in to see who is on track to finish by the due date (next class), so that I can give nudges where necessary.

Take a look at several student work samples of theme panels (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2) and (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2). from A Walk to Remember, Divergent, Eat Pray Love, The Rock Star's Daughter, and And Then There Were None.

Closure: Remaining Sections of Project

5 minutes

At the end of the period, students will review what they still need to complete for the project. They will have about 40 minutes next period to work on it, so they will need to plan out their work time wisely. I have been having students review their work tasks at the end of each session in order to stay on track because I am hoping that it will pay off with stellar SSR projects for everyone!

Lesson Image Attribution

Adam Elsheimer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons