Using Short Animated Films to Teach Literary Elements: Theme
1 Direct Instruction
Objective: Introduce a process for identifying theme in a story.
Students create a Padlet wall. Show the TedEd video (1:48) Identifying Theme in Literature. Students take notes on their Padlet wall (they may share them later with a partner or a small group) recording the process for identifying the theme of a story.
2 Critical Reading/Modeling the Process
3 Critical Reading/Independent Practice
Objective: Students critically read text.
Students analyze the YouTube short animated film (7:49) The Potter using their notes on identifying theme in literature and creating notes on their Padlet wall. Pay particular attention to the plot, conflict, characters and how they change. Note: an alternative to having everyone critically read/analyze the same short animated film, teachers can create a list of short animated films and make QR Codes for them for easy access by students on their devices (laptop, smart phone, ipads, tablets, etc.) Students can then join a partner or a small group to analyze a short animated film of their choice. Here are some additional suggestions: La Luna (6:58); For the Birds (3:26); Lifted (4:49); Paperman (5:01).
4 Writing/Thesis Statement
Objective: Write a strong thesis statement about the theme of the short animated film analyzed.
Show the Shmoop Tube video (5:04) How to Write a Killer Thesis Statement. Using your Padlet notes from the short animated film you analyzed, write a thesis statement that indicates the theme of the film. Post your thesis statement on your Padlet wall.
5 Writing/Drafting the Essay
Objective: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
Performance Task: After viewing a short animated film, write an essay in which you identify the theme/message of the film and discuss its development. to support your thesis, use specific evidence from the film. Be sure to explain how each piece of evidence supports or develops the theme/message. Remember that an essay has an introduction, body, and conclusion. There is no assigned length. Your essay must competently discuss the theme/message and its development.
compose your essay in Google Docs.
6 Writing/Evaluating the Essay
Objective: Evaluate writing using a custom made rubric.
Using a custom made rubric, evaluate the features of your essay. Where might you be able to improve?
7 Lesson Extension/Grade Level Text
Objective: Apply the process of theme identification and analysis to a grade level approprite text.
Using Subtext, Curriculet, Gutenberg Literature, or a similar website or app, find a grade level appropriate text to read and analyze for theme. Compose an essay tracing the development of the theme in the grade level text.
Key Standards Supported
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.