Theme Teacher Resources

Find Theme educational ideas and activities

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What is theme? How do you figure out the theme of a story? How is the theme developed? How is the theme expressed? These and other questions are answered by a presentation that not only defines the term but also provides easy to understand examples. The presentation ends with a practice exercise.
Why should your class complete a story map? After reading Bud, Not Buddy, divide your class into pairs or small groups to complete the included worksheet. They list the main characters, the conflict, main plot events, the resolution, and decide on the story's theme. A good closing activity to briefly review the main story elements. An example story map is also included. 
Build understanding of theme with an activity designed for The Cay and the Common Core. Small groups or pairs use graphic organizers to determine themes, find and record related details from the text, and formulate theme statements. In addition to this work with theme, the resource includes a writing assignment paired with a second graphic ogranzier. Find out if your kids think that The Cay should be read by sixth graders and why.
Middle schoolers complete various activities linked to several stories and movies, to reinforce the concept of theme in a story.
Read the story Mufaro's Beautiful Daughter by John Steptoe to your class, then have them identify story events that support a given theme. They read Boundless Grace by Mary Hoffman and complete a worksheet in which they list examples of text that support that story's theme. This lesson focuses on vocabulary, building background knowledge, and analyzing theme.
Students put together a collection of poems around a common theme. Later these poems be used in writing an essay explaining the similarities and/or differences to a short story already read in class.
After reviewing the story of Noah's Ark (suggested text: Lucy Cousins' retelling), you read to the class the beginning of Noah and the Space Ark by Laura Cecil. Partners predict how the story might progress and end. Then compare predictions with the text after a compete reading. A week-long series of activities, but with older students, you could complete this in a single day.
In this fables activity, students read fables and write the moral of the story and how their answer relates to the story. Students do this for 5 stories.
What is the moral of the story? Ask your class to read a series of fables from which the last line has been removed. After supplying this concluding statement, they must justify their responses. This could be used as an individual or group work activity.
In this theme activity, learners read a set of short fables, determine theme and write their explanations below each.
When composing a narrative piece, writers can use dialogue to express a theme. In between this video and the previous video in the series, class members should have written a rough draft of their fictional narrative. The narrator expresses how to incorporate dialogue to express a theme by revising her draft. The video also refers to an earlier lesson about theme, so be sure your class has had some previous instruction on theme before they revise their drafts to include theme. Although most videos from this site provide slides, there are none here. However, the lesson is still strong and worth a look.
Learners with multiple disabilities need to engage in projects that push them to know their full potential. They need to be able to express themselves in a variety of ways, and this very thoughtful lesson does just that. They make a collaborative tactile quilt based on a given a theme. Each child writes or dictates a story related to the overarching theme, then works with assistance to design and construct a quilt square representing his themed expository piece. This is an excellent idea that can be used to foster social, academic, and self-efficacy skills in learners of any ability level or age.
First graders explore the concepts of silly and scary as well as reality and fantasy. They utilize a three-story theme from the Houghton Mifflin Reading Series. They bring all 3 themes together and create an original work.
Students explore the classic story theme of good versus evil as relayed in folk tales.
Students recognize Theme through the use of simple, short stories. Using Pro Quest, students begin by researching the literary element, theme, and how it can be identified. They then identify the themes in Aesop's Fables and other short stories that have obvious themes.  Studnets are also given a list of themes commonly found in middle school texts.
An extensive lesson on art analysis, storytelling, critical thinking, and observation awaits your class! They learn to observe and read art the way they would a story; paying attention to details, historical context, and visual cues that describe a place, time, and thought. The lesson is broken into four parts, where learners discuss what they see, review content specific vocabulary, and finally create a work of art that expresses a story. Note: The lesson could be used in either an art or language class.
What's theme, and can texts of every length have one? Explore the themes of fives short reading passages with your middle school class. Encourage them to highlight specific places in the text where they recognized the theme. 
Learners research the Lakota tribes, culture, art, and family life. They analyze an installation piece created by a Lakota Indian, and connect what they see to the concept of home. They engage in a discussion, creative writing activity, and finish by making a tipi that tells the story they wrote, and present it to the class. This does not include a rubric.
Your third graders design works of art that reflect themselves. In this visual arts lesson, your class will examine works of art that tell stories and replicate the models as they transform a personal narrative of their own into a visual piece.
Middle schoolers work with themes in this instructional activity, which is based on Fox by Margaret Wild. Because the book has multiple themes, it is a great way to transition into exploring literary analysis and writing stories. A Six Trait writing activity takes them through the writing process, and an attached link allows them to post their work online (if desired).

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