Students struggle with finding themes of text, so make the process easier start with using these short films that can all be found on Netflix's "Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Film Collection" or on YouTube (although not as easily): "Ballad of Nessie," "Tick, Tock Tale," "Feast," "The Paper Man," and "John Henry."
Students should view the text 3 times to build on understanding. Each short includes a blank page for students that asks them to summarize the text after the first viewing, find a theme after the second viewing, and find text evidence during the third viewing. Each short also has a teacher answer key that includes the summary and three potential themes.
To differentiate instruction there is also a page that allows you to write in a theme and have students find the text evidence to the teacher given theme. There is also space for students to explain how each piece of evidence supports the theme.
These themes can then be turned into written paragraphs to prove theme. After students get these skills down through video which is an easier medium, they can begin to transfer these skills to written text.