Lesson Plan

Themes In Fiction

Students will learn how to distinguish between theme and plot points.
Diante C.
Undergrad Student
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects English Language Arts, World Languages

In a class activity, students will be able to identify examples and non-examples of theme with 90% accuracy.

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

1 Hook

Activity: Conversing

1. Students discuss their favorite Disney movies as I write them on the board.

2. Ask students what storytelling qualities all of these Disney movies share and write them on the board.

3. Circle the storytelling qualities related to theme and define it as "a message that teaches a lesson, shows character growth or offers advice."

4. Tell students that creative works (movies, books, songs, poems) often have themes that guide their writing in a specific direction.

5. Today's lesson will have you identify and produce themes on your own by distinguishing between examples and non-examples.

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Presenting

1. Expand on the previous definition of theme to include "a particular subject or issue that is discussed often or repeatedly"

2. Provide a series of examples of theme from popular Disney movies. Briefly identify movies that use these themes and describe how these themes are expressed in each movie.

Ex. pain of betrayal, fighting for freedom, benefits of friendship, discovering inner strength, lack of courage.

3. Provide a series of non-examples of themes from popular Disney movies. Briefly identify movies that have these non-examples and describe why they line up with the definition of the theme.

Ex. losing a parent, living on your own, playing with your best friend, beating up your bully, not speaking your mind

3 Guided Practice

1. Simultaneously pull up one example and one non-example of theme and ask students to identify the correct example using Geddit.

Ex. correct: love overcomes all obstacles, loss of power, coping with loneliness

      incorrect: getting married, getting exiled from a kingdom, staying in a castle all day

2. Discuss why each example is correct in relation to the defintion of theme and examples from direct instruction.

3. Ask two to three students to write an example or non example of theme on the board and explain their reasoning.

4 Independent Practice

Activity: Creating

1. Provide students with a Bubble Map worksheet that requires students to write on example of theme for two different Disney movies and two examples of themes from the assigned novel, Holes. 

2. Ask students to write their personal definition of theme below the Bubble Map. 

3. Stress that students must use specific evidence to support their reasoning. 

4. The worksheets will be due at the end of the class period. 

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Exploring

1. Students will reflect on their learning and the lesson by participating in brief class discussion.

Ask students if they feel more comfortable identifying themes in fiction novels or movies.

If not, what additional help could the teacher provide?

If so, did the examples or the evidence make them more comfortable? 

How can understanding theme help students analyze and comprehend the story?