Once again, to model my expectations, I'll be doing some recycling of previous plays. There just aren't enough quality texts, and it makes my mini-lesson and modeling a bit shorter so the kids have more time to read and practice. We'll revisit Savitri and The Calabask kids to discuss the theme, and I'll probably pull in "Wings For The King" that we read at the start of the unit, just to give them a little more guidance before I set them free to red on their own. I want them to practice pulling in all of the skills necessary to find the theme. This is something they can always use tons of practice on.
Today to start the lesson off, I just want the kiddos to chat about what they remember about theme and some common themes they remember from fiction and poetry. I just want to prime their brains to start thinking about what they already know.
It seems you all remember a lot about theme. Here are some common themes we may find when reading. Remember that when we find a theme, I want you to give me the entire message, not just one word to describe the theme. Instead of "acceptance", I'd like to see, "it's important to accept others no matter what."
One struggle our middle school teachers see is that the students think a theme is always one word. We've been trying to work on describing the theme in a phrase so it fits the story entirely. I feel like any kid could say the theme of a story was perseverance, but in what context did the character persevere? It's just a way to get the kids to dig a big deeper.
Today, we'll just be practicing finding the theme in plays instead of prose and poetry. We'll use the theme tips we used at the beginning of the year, and spend some time practicing with plays we've already read. First, I'd like to try things a little backwards. You'll be completing a close read of "Little Red Riding Hood." I'd like you to think about the theme while you're reading, and then we'll check out a Learnzillion video to see how close you were.
As you're reading today, I just want you to think about the message the author is giving you. Remember to write notes as you read to show your thinking THROUGHOUT the story. I'd like to see you interacting with the text as the thought comes to your mind, not after you finish reading the whole drama.
We have practiced our close reading marks all year, so this should run pretty smoothly for the kids. Some kids still follow the same ole' check marks, question marks, etc., but some have started taking on their own symbols and codes. That's what we ultimately want. Kids need to interact with text in a way that makes sense to them.
To see how close you were with your close read, we'll take a quick look at this video. Please write a few notes in your notebook as we watch. Write down some of the key points that the teacher shares about her thinking.
After we've watched the learnzillion video, I'll do a quick think aloud about the theme of the Calabash kids. Now, I know that the theme is listed on the script, but it just says, "name-calling." That really isn't a theme in my book, so I'd like to model thinking deeper for the kids. Again, we have hit theme in two other units this year, so I'll be bringing back the organizer I created for them earlier, and I won't spend as much time on this as I did in my very first lesson.
Students will now get into groups to reread Savitri and The Baker's Dozen to find the theme. Tomorrow, they'll have an opportunity to read new texts and find the theme, but for today, I want to see if they can do this quickly without the added work of reading an entirely new text. I try to scaffold everything I do to get the most information I can in a quick and efficient manner.
I'll be pulling my small group that I see for RTI to work alongside them. Since we're not reading anything new, I want them to lead the discussion and just listen to their thoughts. I'll jump in when necessary, but I'm not leading them through it step-by-step.
To summarize today, I'll have the kids come up and share some thoughts on the theme of these texts.