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Determining theme & central message in literature is one of the most difficult standards to teach. Provide your students with the proper tools and resources to help them be successful. This common core toolkit is LOADED with all the essential resources necessary for teaching your students how to find the theme and central message in any story, including folktales, fables, or fairy tales, as well as successfully summarizing the stories during the process. With so many resources in this toolkit, you can scaffold or differentiate your instruction the way you see fit to best meet your student's needs.
✨Please see tips for teaching theme & central message and grab some free samples on my blog.
Note: This toolkit provides multiple approaches to finding the theme & central message using questioning strategies that guide students' thinking.
In this toolkit, you get:
✔ An introduction to teaching theme and message. This understanding is key to effective instruction that guides students in the right direction with this common core expectation.
✔ A colorful anchor chart that can be displayed all year and will become students’ go-to reference for helping them think about the big ideas and central messages found in the many stories they read.
✔ Student Bookmarks for theme reference
✔ Theme Definition Mini-Posters- defining each theme (compliments the anchor chart)
✔ Double-Sided Flipbook- can be used with any story
✔ 2 Journal Responses (2 versions)
✔ 5 colored graphic organizers (2 of which have different formats: horizontal & vertical) that can be used as a tool for modeled lessons throughout the year. You can either display on your SmartBoard as you model the process during whole group think aloud or display in the classroom (as a laminated poster) to be reused with each read aloud lesson.
✔ Blackline masters of the graphic organizers for student copies that can be used…
- during modeled lessons
- as a writing response task to your read aloud (once students have had practice with it)
- during students’ independent reading time (with self-selected stories)
- as they listen to a story at a center or online
- as a formative assessment task with any passage or story
✔ Readers’ Notebook Vocabulary templates for learning theme vocabulary such as compassion, perseverance, etc.
✔ Character Quote Bubble Activities- Students apply their knowledge of themes by creating character quotes
✔ 3 Mini-assessments to check understanding of theme vocabulary, identify themes of story scenarios, and a written response check for theme and message to be used with any story
✔ Open Response and Rubric that can be used with any story
✔ 3 completed story samples to have at your fingertips as you begin to guide students through the process during your modeled lessons. (The Empty Pot, Seven Spools of Thread, & Ant and Grasshopper)
✔ Theme Vocabulary (added 2018) to help your students grasp vocabulary through application and real-world connections
✔ 3 Center Task Activity (colored & blackline versions included): (A scaffolded approach) Matching Themes with Their Definitions, Matching Themes with Character Quotes & Matching Themes with Various Messages
Each center Task includes:
✎ Center task directions for students (Colored Copy)
✎ A set of Task Card Matches (in two versions: a colored version & a blackline version)
✎ Student answer form (labeled with the common core standards)
✎ Answer key
Note: The task cards are already mismatched on each page for your convenience. Copies can be given to students as is, and they can cut and match accordingly.
See what what other teachers are saying about this toolkit:
Carissa J. wrote- "This is an INCREDIBLE source for theme and message! It is the best one I have seen and I have researched a lot on what the most successful way to teach theme and the author’s message. My kids were so engaged during our week long focus on theme and message. 100% of my students were able to identify the theme and message of two stories on their Friday assessment. Thank you!!"
Danielle B. wrote- "Just like with your character trait resource, I LOVE your task cards. I use them whole group to introduce and practice the skill and then I keep them in our literacy center area, so the kids can revisit them more independently. I keep the posters hung while we are working on the concept and they are simple enough for the kids to really refer back to. This is a wonderful purchase!"
Virginia T. wrote- "I used this resource to help my students understand theme. The graphic organizers are wonderful! My students were able to track their thinking effectively and develop good theme statements. Great resource!"
❗ I highly suggest you preview these character toolkits, as these resources go hand-in-hand with determining theme and central message.
Determining the Message using AEIOU Organizer is the original work of Cherie Altman, Copyright © October 2015 Cherie Altman