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This lesson provided by:
Author: Sonja Nicole Crenshaw Hill
System:Birmingham City
School:Ramsay High School
Lesson Plan ID: 33164

What Shattered Humpty Dumpty's Dreams?: Theme Analysis of The Great Gatsby


Students will learn what theme is and what theme is NOT.  Using a graphic organizer and a sentence frame, students will write a thematic statement supporting it with evidence from the text.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

Content Standard(s):
ELA2013(11) 2. Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.11-12.2]
ELA2013(11) 27. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. [W.11-12.9]
Local/National Standards:  
Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will be able to:

  • determine the theme of a novel
  • analyze how the author develops the theme
  • write a thematic statement
Additional Learning Objective(s):  
Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 61 to 90 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

The Great Gatsby and Thematic Statement Graphic Organizer handout

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer with Internet access, interactive board, and Humpty Dumpty video from teacher tube.


This lesson should take place when students have completed the novel.

  1. (Before Lesson)-To activate prior knowledge and establish a purpose for the lesson, play the Humpty Dumpty video clip for the class.
  2. Facilitate a discussion about the lesson in the nursery rhyme.
  3. Introduce the concept of what a theme is and what a theme is NOT.
  4. Students will turn and talk with a partner making a connection between Humpty Dumpty and Jay Gatsby.  Guide their discussion by reminding students where Gatsby lives (West EGG) and compare what they both dream to do (put their lives back together).  About 5 minutes.
  5. (During Lesson)-Divide the class into groups of 4-5 students and provide each group with a thematic topic to form a jigsaw expert group in order to engage with the text and integrate new information with prior knowledge.  Topics may include alienation, identity, class, past and future, or you  may choose some other topic.
  6. Groups will locate two examples of evidence in the text to support their topic. (about 15 minute)
  7. Students will split into their jigsaw group to discuss with team members the evidence they have gathered about their topic. (about 15 mintues)
  8. (After Lesson)-Facilitate a discussion about the lesson Fitzgerald is saying about the topic.
  9. Model writing the thematic statement using the sentence frame on the graphic organizer,
  10. For homework, students will write a thematic statement on the graphic organizer.

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. thematicstatementgraphicorganizer.docx
Assessment Strategies:

Formative assessment when students complete graphic organizer and thematic statement sentence frame. Graphic organizer should include two examples of evidence from the novel to support the thematic idea with chapter and page numbers.  The thematic statement should include the topic, the author's comment on the topic, and a qualifying phrase.


To extend the lesson, students may also include on the graphic organizer examples of literary devices Fitzgerald uses to develop the theme.  They may consider symbols, imagery, or metaphors.


For students who may need additional assistance, provide a mini grammar lesson on qualifying phrases before they write the thematic statement.  Also, instead of the jigsaw groups, students may work in pairs locating evidence from the novel to support the same theme, the American dream.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
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