ALEX Lesson Plan


Life Lessons: Understanding Theme

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Tiffany Bishop
System: Tuscaloosa City
School: Eastwood Middle School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33056


Life Lessons: Understanding Theme


Students will learn how life lessons are conveyed through texts to connect, analyze, and evaluate how authors use theme as a literary element and comprehend various texts. Using a graphic organizer and specific texts, students will analyze various components of theme and understand its impact in real life situations.

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

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (7)
2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.7.2]
ELA2015 (7)
10. Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. [RI.7.1]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

  • Students will be able to determine the theme of a text.
  • Students will be able to cite textual evidence to support the theme of a text.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Before Activity: Jumbo Sticky Notes, Post-its, paper strips (large enough to respond appropriately and interview at least 3 other classmates)

During: Typing Paper for Quadrant Cards

After: Jumbo Post-it/Sticky Note (Large enough to compose appropriate response and 4-point summary.)

Technology Resources Needed:

Projector, document camera, computer, PowerPoint, and video clip

Speakers for playing video clip




Provided teacher has set parameters for class, students should display respectful behavior for turn and talk and accountable talk/conversations.


Before activity:

1. Using the jumbo sticky or Post-it note, answer the following question:

—You told one person a secret, and they promised they would not tell anyone else. When you get to P.E., you overhear your classmates discussing the same situation that your friend swore to secrecy. How would you feel and what lesson did you learn?

2. Allow students two minutes to compose a written response.

3. Set the timer

4. At the conclusion of the two minutes, allow the students to interview at least three other classmates. Preferably, they should interview students outside of their cluster or group. Students will document the names of the students they interview, the feeling, and at least one other detail from the interview.

5. Allow students three minutes (approx. one minute per student interviewed, and time for transition and settle).

6. Using equity cards, the teacher will choose four students to share their personal experience.

During Activity:

1. Quadrant card - Using the typing paper, fold the paper to create four equal quadrants (fold vertically and horizontally).

Square 1: Theme

Square 2: Definition

Square 3: Examples

Square 4: Added Focus

See PowerPoint for specific notes for each square.


1. See PowerPoint for specifics. You may use any text. I recommend for the sake of time using a short text. I use the fable, "The Grasshopper and the Ant."

2. You may read the text to the students, use a choral reading strategy, or any engaging reading strategy to read the text. Be sure that each student understands the Theme - the central message about life in this text may vary but should be related to prepare for days ahead by working hard. Be sure to cite evidence to support the Theme.

3. Reference the quadrant card for the definition as well as examples of various themes.

After Activity:

—1. In each corner of the paper write down one thing that is related to Theme that we discovered through the lesson.

—2. Write a 4-sentence summary explaining how each of those points are related to Theme.

3. See PowerPoint for fomat and specifics.

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Assessment Strategies

Before activity -  question/response interview

After activity - Four-point summary

See attached rubric




Students will be pulled into small group based on scores from assessment rubric.

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.