This is a common core lesson plan for 8th grade language arts standards (RL.8.2 – Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text..); and (RL.8.10 - By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.)
The lesson is approximately 2 days long and includes a lesson essential question, activator, assessment prompts, teaching strategies, and a summarizing strategy. There are two text excerpts (The Fir Tree and The King of the Polar Bears) that are approved through the text complexity rubric and included in Word documents for this lesson. Students will use those common core approved complex texts to complete a series of task-based questions.
This lesson was adapted from Options Common Core Clinics and has been revised to include the essential question, activator, assessment prompts, summarizing strategy, extended writing opportunity, and task-based questions. A PPT is available to help guide teachers and students through this lesson.
This is a great lesson for the beginning of the school year because it teaches students how to determine the theme using a text. The students will need to identify this concept throughout the remainder of the school year as they read short and extended texts.