These lessons would take place when you launch your study of theme. For much more information, pick up a copy of Teaching Interpretation: Using Text-Based Evidence to Construct Meaning, and see Chapter 5.

Minilesson #1- Introduce theme by talking with your students about how to plan a party with a theme. Ask them to list the evidence that supports the idea that a theme has been used. Organize their ideas into categories such as details, patterns, actions, etc. and explain that these categories can be used to find text evidence for theme.

Minilesson #2- Discuss how theme is like a thread that is woven throughout a text. Use movie clips from a Disney movie such as The Lion King, Finding Nemo, or another that the class has previously viewed and brainstorm themes.

Minilesson #3- Select one of the movie clips viewed in the previous minilesson. Challenge students to consider the possibility of additional themes in this movie to help them avoid the pitfall of identifying only one theme in a text.

Minilesson #4- Look across two or three photographs in the digital bin. Ask students to interpret a theme and to cite text evidence to support their claims.

Minilesson #5- Read Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story From the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine and ask students to think about a theme in this text. Provide students with a list of themes so they have choices and can be thoughtful and selective.


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