Practice Comparing and Analyzing Themes Using Langston Hughes's "Thank You Ma'am" and Amy Tan's "Fish Cheeks"
This resource helps students determine theme, analyze the development of theme and compare similar themes across texts. Through close analysis of two short stories (Langston Hughes’s “Thank You Ma’am” and Amy Tan’s “Fish Cheeks), students practice analyzing and writing about themes. This resource contains student notes on determining theme, task cards for comprehension of “Thank You Ma’am” and “Fish Cheeks” (22 cards total), notes for determining the theme of each text, notes and practice sheets for comparing theme, a multiple choice practice in standardized test format, three writing prompts for analyzing the development of themes and comparing similar themes and an answer key for all resources.
During the lesson, students do the following:
1. A short Do Now to review basic literary elements.
2. A reading passage that reviews what theme is and how to determine it.
3. Students read “Thank You Ma’am” independently with annotations that help them determine theme.
4.Multiple Choice task cards that gauge comprehension of “Thank You Ma’am”
5. A writing prompt analyzing a theme in “Thank You Ma’am.”
6. Annotations, task cards and a writing prompt for “Fish Cheeks.”
7. Notes and a graphic organizer on determining shared themes, analyzing how those shared themes are developed and comparing themes.
8. Multiple Choice practice with comparing themes.
9. A writing prompt comparing the development of a similar theme in “Thank You Ma’am” and “Fish Cheeks.”
This resource is best suited for grades 8-10 and will take 2-3 class periods to teach, depending on the lengths of your class periods. This lesson can be used to teach theme, or to review analyzing and comparing themes. This resource DOES NOT contain the full texts of the stories “Thank You Ma’am” and “Fish Cheeks,” due to copyright restrictions. I have included links to the full texts in the resource.
Included are the following:
Teacher Directions (1 page)
Student Handout and Answer Key (10 pages)
12 Task Cards for “Thank You Ma’am” and Answer Key (3 pages)
10 Task Cards for “Fish Cheeks” and Answer Key (3 pages)
3 Writing Prompts for Analyzing Theme and a rubric (3 pages)
This resource for determining, analyzing and comparing theme is fully editable to suit the needs of your class. I have provided PDFs and Word copies of each handout.
Other ELA Lesson Plans:
Connotation and Denotation
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