This set of differentiated writing activities (part of my Shades of Gray novel unit
) will guide students in determining theme as they read Carolyn Reeder's Reconstruction novel Shades of Gray. The first page is a theme graphic organizer asking students to find supporting details in the novel (quotes, events, etc.) for each of two themes - the meaning of courage and the value of hard work. There is also a empty version that I use for more advanced students determining theme on their own.
The next part of this resource guides students as they write a paragraph about the theme, discussing the three pieces of textual evidence they found on the first worksheet. For the advanced students, there is space to plan an five-paragraph essay instead of just a single paragraph. It includes guidance on writing a hook, thesis/topic sentence, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
You can choose the activity that best fits your class's needs, or you can differentiate within your classroom by grouping students and then assigning different levels of work to teach how to determine theme. Alternately, you could begin with the paragraph and lead students into the essay.
I hope you and your students enjoy this tiered-instruction activity integrating literature and reading skills with writing and history!
**Teaching Shades of Gray? This resource is part of my Shades of Gray Novel Unit!
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(Cover background from Lovin Lit)