Identifying the theme of a story can be challenging. It requires students to distinguish main ideas and extend the idea to their own world. Holes is such a high interest story. Could there really be a horrible place like Camp Green Lake where bad boys must dig holes all day to build character? Students are connecting to themes and extrapolating those themes to their own lives and the world around them. I believe that this kind of engagement creates children who enjoy reading. Isn't that what we want for our students? I have used a version of this unit in my classroom for more than a decade. It works well as a whole class read-a-loud, in literature circles, with partner reads, or even as homework.
I begin each novel unit with a Thinking Map. As a class we discuss the Themes that we will be encountering as we read. Use my Headings to make a poster for each theme to hang around the classroom. As you read the novel together, and as students make connections to themes, they add to the poster.
Students are engaged in discussions about text and are encouraged to use “Text Talk” such as “On page 34 I noticed that…..” or “I connected to the theme of racism on page 67 when…”
This 45 page unit includes:
• Mini Thinking Map Poster On Themes/Individual Mini Theme Headings
• Students Engagement Journal (2 Different Cover Pages)
• Textual/Inferential Questioning-Short Answer
• Summary Flow Chart Activity/Summary Paragraph Activity
• Great Inventors Activity
• Compare Contrast Camp Green Lake Now And Then Activity
• Extend The Story Activity
• Character Report Card Activity (3)
• Character Analysis Activity (7)
• Create An Advertisement For Sploosh Activity
• Fluency Passage
• Culminating Task