Lesson Plan

Getting to Know Theme

Students will listen to a reading of a children's book and work collaboratively to figure out the themes.
Bobbi G.
Classroom teacher
Santa Fe South High School
Oklahoma City, United States
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to...

  • identify the difference between a topic and a theme in literature.
  • write themes they identified from a children's book. 
English Language Arts
Grades 9 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

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Find a video of a reading of a children's book that has quite a few themes. Stories that I have used in the past are "Should I share My Ice Cream" by Mo Willems and "The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  Play the video for the class, and ask students to be thinking about what messages the author is trying to convey in the story. 

Although your students should be reading at a much higher level at this point, introducing or reviewing theme with a children's book is a great way to get students started. 

2 Guided Practice

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Create a graphic organizer on Creately for your students to use to determine the differences between topics and themes. Here's an example. Begin working on this graphic organizer together as a class, then you can break up into smaller groups as the students begin to understand the work . 


3 Guided Practice

Google Drive
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Free, Paid

Have students create a document and share it with a partner in Google Drive. Here, they will work collaboratively to create themes from the text. It's a good idea to give an example or to come up with one theme together as a class. 

Once your students have a few themes written, they should get on TodaysMeet and begin sharing their themes. Students should comment on themes the others have shared, and they should make changes to themes as they see the need. 

4 Wrap UP

For an exit ticket, ask your students to tweet the answer to the question: How do themes in literature relate to our lives?