Tracking Multiple Themes in a Text

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SWBAT identify and cite evidence for multiple themes in a text.

Big Idea

Develop Metacognition: Reading, annotating, and sharing to prove a claim!

My Lens

In this lesson, the students will once again see how a text may have mulitple themes running through it.  This lesson was taught in April.  Students are drawing their background knowledge of argumentative essays. They are scouring the text for evidence to support one theme from a list of student generated themes culled from the text Oliver Button is a Sissy.  



15 minutes

Students come to this mini-lesson already familiar with the story Oliver Button is a Sissy


Teaching point:  Today I can name a claim statement and orally cite supporting evidence using the author’s words so I can learn to read closely and construct a literary argument. 

Tip:  Leaving tracks of our thinking is the most important strategy of close reading.

"Students, remember the story you heard yesterday, Oliver Button is a Sissy? Today you will hear it again. As you listen your job is to listen for a theme in the story.  Remember, a theme is a big idea of the story. 

Does anyone want to suggest a possible theme before you hear it again?

Wait to see if students have some ideas, if so, jot them down.  I'm sure that several students will suggest "Bully" as a theme as well as others such as "Following your Dreams", for example.

"Not only do I want you to listen to what characters do and say, and how other characters react to each other in the story as a way of determining theme, but I want you to be ready to point to the parts in the text that is evidence of your thinking."

Reread the story to students.

After reading the story, ask, "Students what is a theme in this story?  Raise your hand if you want to suggest one.

Call on students.  Jot down their ideas.  When a student suggests a theme have them come up to the story and point to parts of the text that supports their claim.

Students suggested and found evidence for:



Standing up for others/Not being a bystander

Hard work and determination

Following your Dreams

I picked Bullying as a theme to demonstrate how to annotate the text and use the handout to construct my oral claim statement and provide evidence. 




Independent Work

30 minutes

Before releasing student to their seats to work independently on annotating their text and creating a claim with support I referred back to the different themes ideas the class generated:  Bullying, Conflict, Standing up for others, Hard Work and Determination, Following your Dreams. Next, I engaged students in a turn and talk about which theme they are going to investigate. Then, I called on a few students to share what theme their partners a going to reread the text for.  

The reason I do this is to get all students focused on their upcoming independent work.  I want students to make a decision and commit to theme before going to  their seats.  It helps all students with the transition of being somewhat passive to completely active and responsible for their own thinking.

I decided to release student to work independently by reading off the different themes.  For instance, I asked, "Who is investigating "Following Your Dreams"?  I announced the themes in a different order as to support a variety of themes being investigated.  If I had said "Bullying" first a lot of students would have picked that just because it was the first one I said.

As students raise their hand for each of the different themes I will provide them with a copy of the text Oliver Button is a Sissy and the claim statement handout with sentence stems. 

Once students are settled and working confer with table groups and individuals.  Direct them to reread and annotate in the margins (Student 2 Annotations) of the text details that support the theme they are investigating.

Support students as they complete the claim with support handout so they will be ready to share with a small group in the last part of the lesson.

Small group share

15 minutes

To close this lesson, divide students into small groups to share out their claim statements and supporting evidence with each other.  This is a time when I have additional support in the classroom. Each adult (resource room teacher, ELL support, student teacher, City Year volunteer,) will led a small group share out.  Students will come to the group with their text and handout.  They will volunteer to read what they wrote using the sentence stems or orally share off of their annotated text.