We started off with a couple of anchor charts. I had started the anchor chart with some common themes and then we added to it as the students discovered more. I really stressed how theme was a real world connection so they would understand that it was not specific to the story.
As we added more themes, I still had a few students confusing it with a summary, so we made a quick IS and IS NOT chart on the bottom of this anchor chart.
So, what did we use as text to discover theme? These AMAZING task cards from Rachel Lynette:
She has provided a few options for how to use these cards in the classroom, but here is how we used them:
First, I LOVED them so much that I made a class set of the entire set....yes a class set! This way the students had lots of practice and could write all over the text. The students completed two stories a day during reading time. They read the text and wrote what they thought the theme of the text was on the paper. Then, they provided another sentence supporting their answer with evidence from the text (using evidence based terms!). Here are some examples:
After reading groups were over, we shared out possible themes for the texts. Then, we would look at the multiple choice answer sheet that Rachel provided and choose from the choices. The students also had to support their choice with evidence.
I also sent two of the stories for homework each night for even more practice! Midway through the week, I had my eye on those struggling students and knew I needed to get them in a small group before we moved on to passages that were 1 and 1/2 pages in length. The biggest problem they had was not understanding what a theme was and how that theme related to a story. So, I used a pictorial representation sort to help them understand. We looked at some pictures that represented common themes. We discussed what was going on in the picture and connected that to a story. I would then ask them what can you learn from this picture. We shared out ideas and then looked for the card that contained a theme that best represented the picture. We continued sorting the pictorial representation of the theme with the theme itself while I asked probing questions and connected what they were doing to what they would do with a story. When I thought they had a good grasp on it, we did one of Rachel Lynette's stories together. Then, they did the other story on the page. Success!
While this small group re-teaching was going on, the other students were writing short stories (modeled after Rachel's awesome task cards) with a theme of their choosing from our chart. They had a good time with this! I had them write them on index cards for two reasons: index cards are FUN to write on and I let them trade their cards with a partner and try to discover each other's themes.
Don't you just love foldables?
They did a fabulous job! However, I know that if I would have started the unit with long passages instead of the task cards, I would not have had so much success. We finished the week with a few more long passages (There are 4 in all in my Theme Unit.) and then took the assessment....which they all passed!
And now for the freebie! I made the flippable using 4mulafun's flippable template pack. You can check it out here! It was so easy to make the flippable. All I had to do was insert the text boxes. She even includes the directions for student cutting. Can't get any easier than that! Click on the picture to download your free flippable today.
Well that was my week in reading, what are you teaching in reading?