Theme Teacher Resources
Find Theme educational ideas and activities
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Events That Support a Theme
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.
Story Map for Bud, Not Buddy
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.
Activity I: Exploring Theme
All stories contain themes. Examine the theme of an assigned story (the lesson suggests To Kill a Mockingbird). Your class can either read a story or watch a DVD to analyze the main theme of the story. They identify terms such as theme, conflict, dialogue, characterization, repetition, and symbol.
Theme and Fables Review
In this fables worksheet, students read fables and write the moral of the story and how their answer relates to the story. Students do this for 5 stories.
Tactile quilts that tell a story
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.
Literature Land Theme Park!
High schoolers, in groups, research the setting, food, and entertainment of a selection of literature. They design costumes, menus, and theme parks from the piece of literature as well. Then they present their projects to the class after they have written scripts. Note: The attached worksheet "Literature Land Theme Park Rubric" cannot currently be found on the Scholastic website.
Narrative Art: What's the Story?
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.
Explaining the Themes of Eagle Song: (Chapter 8, "Peace")
Your class reaches the end of the novel Eagle Song as young readers focus on determining the theme of this story. Similar to previous lessons in the unit, the teacher begins with a read aloud of the first few pages of chapter 8, before asking young scholars to finish the chapter independently. The class is then reintroduced to the "Somebody In Wanted But So" reading comprehension strategy learned earlier in the unit, using it as a guide for identifying different themes in the novel. Significant teacher support is required during this discussion, as pupils are encouraged to move beyond summarizing the text toward understanding the different lessons it teaches. Children finally work in groups to support each theme with details from the book. A well-rounded lesson that nicely concludes your class's reading of Eagle Song.
Collecting Poems Tied to a Short Story Theme
Pupils 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.
Story Themes: Two Version of Noah's Ark
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.
Understanding Theme with Fables
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.
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.
Lesson: The Power of Story
Universal themes found throughout the world in the form of stories is the topic of today's lesson. Upper graders analyze the cultural context of the Mithila piece, Hanuman. They consider the universal themes the image depicts and how the image is a representation of traditional Hindu tales. They then create a comic strip that retells the story of Hanuman.
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.
Lesson Plan: Stories of Home on My Home
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.
Understanding Theme With Fables
In this theme worksheet, students read a set of short fables, determine theme and write their explanations below each.
Inferring Theme (Chapter 7, "A Falling Eagle")
As your class nears the end of the book Eagle Song, young readers stop to self-assess their progress toward the learning goals of this unit before continuing on with the story. This short, but effective self-assessment requires learners to describe in writing what they have done in order to meet each of the four learning targets. From there, the teacher reads aloud the first few pages of chapter 7 before providing independent reading time, during which students identify supporting evidence as they answer the chapter's text-dependent questions. Unfortunately, there are some typos and formatting errors with the included supporting materials. If you follow the link provided in the additional materials for this resource, you can download the instructional activity as a Word document and correct those mistakes yourself.
New! Edgar Allan Poe Short Story WebQuest
Introduce your class to Edgar Allan Poe with a series of mostly self-guided tasks and assignments. Class members follow the list of tasks, starting by watching a video with background information and ending with a compare-and-contrast essay. The short stories "The Tell Tale Heart" and "The Masque of the Red Death" are linked on the page. The listed tasks are for pupils only, so you will need to determine what happens during class and what happens as homework.
Understanding Themes in Esperanza Rising
Determining a theme or central idea is greatly emphasized in the Common Core standards. Target that skill though big metaphors and central symbols in Pam Munoz Ryan's Esperanza Rising. Help your class reach the standard through discussion, close reading, text-based questions, a kinesthetic opinion survey, and a brief writing assignment. Every step is detailed, and every material is provided in this intelligently sequenced plan, which is part of a series.
New! Express Yourself Lesson Seed 15: Theme
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.