Lesson Plan

Intro to Theme with Adele

In this lesson, students consider the differences between general and specific themes and determine the theme of Adele's "Hello."
Stephanie P.
Classroom teacher
Evergreen Middle School For Urban Exploration
Brooklyn, United States
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to define theme and determine the theme of a song.

Students will be able to differentiate between general and specific themes.

English Language Arts
Grades 6 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Do Now

As students enter the classroom, post the question "what is a theme?" on the board. Students have 2 minutes to jot down as many words as they can in their notebook. After 2 minutes, students share out their responses and a volunteer can record responses into a Wordle for collection. 

2 Direct Instruction

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Ask students: Think about all the superhero comics, stories or movies you have seen, like Superman, Spiderman  and  Batman.

Ask:  What is one thing that almost all of these stories are about ‘ good guys versus bad guys’ ... I would say that the theme of all of these stories is Good versus evil (elaborate if necessary to explain). Can you think of any other stories where the big idea is good versus evil?

Write Good versus Evil on the general side of the class’ theme chart.

I think that there are also sometimes more specific themes in these stories. In Spiderman for example it is about good versus evil, but there is a more specific theme too. The character Spiderman struggles with trying to have a normal life – particularly having a girl friend. I think the writer is trying to make us think about the idea that people who are really different to most people (in this case they have super powers), have a hard time managing this – I could say another theme in the story is the struggle of being different to other people.  

Write this on the specific side of the theme chart

Sometimes it’s hard to put them into words, but we will be working on this through the unit.

Guide students through the notes handout (in a Google Doc). In a 1:1 environment, this could also be completed digitally.

3 Guided Practice

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To practice the difference between general and specific themes, we're going to watch the music video for Adele's song "Hello." 

While students watch, they will notice the sound of the music, the words, and the images in the video to think about the big ideas, or themes, in the song. 

After the video, have students turn and talk to their partners about what they noticed in the song and what the big ideas might be.

4 Independent Practice

Activity: Debating

After watching, have students write the theme and their name on a post it note. They will bring them up to the whiteboard and put them on a T-chart to show whether their theme is general or specific.

Again, have students share out and try to convince the other students that they have the best theme. 

5 Wrap Up

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Finally, students will post what they think is the best theme on TodaysMeet. The teacher should use this as a jumping off point for the next lesson to evaluate students' understanding of theme.