Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Teaching THE MEssage {freebie and an activity}

This unit we are focusing on finding the theme of our text. I'm enjoying teaching this because I think (or at least I hope!) it helps students to see the value in reading - that there are messages in the text for us to discover and apply to our own lives.

This anchor chart has been SO helpful for referring to theme. I have taught students that the THEME is THE MEssage...and is different than the topic.

The TOPIC/big idea might be friendship, but the THEME is what the author is saying about friendship, such as "true friendship lasts through the toughest obstacles".

The mini sticky notes under "topic" and the big stick notes under "theme" have been good visuals to remember that topics are just a few words and themes are a lesson that is written as a sentences.

To help students remember THE MEssage, I created this poster.

Download for free on TpT!

What else have we done to find the theme?

Awesome theme passages from ereadingworksheets. I love that these free passages have a space to write the theme and ask for evidence. There is a wide range of passages - challenging enough for my high-level students and others at the perfect level for students struggling to find the theme.

This T.H.E.M.E acronym on TpT was a great find!

Lastly, today we did THEME roll and retell. We used a short fiction story from our textbook, and students rolled the die to see which question they had to answer. This added some fun and some "choice" (or luck, I should say) with answering questions. Just add a die and suddenly comprehension questions are a game :)
Though ultimately they had to answer all of them, it mixed things up from me telling them which questions to answer.

In this differentiated roll and retell, students are all working with the same grade-level, yet challenging, text.
Students who have an advanced understanding of theme can use the "Theme Extensions" roll and retell.
Students still working on finding the message have grade-level questions to use with a grade-level text.
 I would work in a small group (still using the same challenging text) with students who are struggling to discover the theme.

If you are interested in purchasing this product for your classroom, follow the link below!

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