With this insert for an Interactive Notebook, students can have a resource right at their finger tips. It includes space for them to write common themes because every teacher stresses different ones. In addition, it includes questions that a student can ask themselves when reading a passage or book in order to find the theme. Lastly, it includes a sample passage with the theme and clues that led to that conclusion.
With my students, I had them glue this into their notebooks whole group. As we got done with the cutting and gluing, we read aloud the definition of theme and how it can be stated, but is more often implied or inferred.
Next, we talked about common themes in books we've read, in things we see on TV, and in life, in general. We added them to our chart as single words: love, friendship, hatred, acceptance, etc.. In the next column, we added Theme Phrases: Don't judge a book by it's cover, money doesn't buy happiness, you can't change your family, etc..
For the next few minutes, we discussed the questions, we as readers, can ask ourselves when trying to identify the theme. Then we moved on to the example. We read through it together and then talked about the already given theme. I had my students go back into the paragraph and underline the clues in the text that lead to this theme.