I have found that students often struggle to independently pinpoint a theme. So I developed this process to be used with each story, book, or poem we encounter.
48 common literary themes are provided, and there is space for students to add themes throughout the year.
The handout answers the following questions.
What is a theme?
How can I determine a theme?
Two graphic organizers are included which are extremely beneficial because they easily break down the requirements for ELA RL 7.2 (or 6.2 or 8.2).
The first graphic organizer is for students to organize the provided theme examples into positive, negative, and neutral themes. Organizing themes into positive, negative, and neutral categories allows students to zero-in on a possible theme for the literature we are studying. Students need to keep the first graphic organizer handy for the entire year to help them determine the theme of each literary work encountered. (Or, you can keep it somewhere easy to project.)
The second graphic organizer is for each story you encounter throughout the year, and its purpose is to help students complete the final requirement of ELA RL 7.2 – provide an objective summary of the text.
I model both graphic organizers with the first story of the year (“I do”) and students simply copy what I write on the board. For the second story of the year I have student helpers aid me in completing the second graphic organizer (“We do”), and by our third story, most students are able to independently complete the assignment (“You do”) and are thus able to independently meet the requirements of ELA RL 7.2!