Monday, January 30, 2017

Theme Graphing

My seventh graders are learning about theme, which is one of my very favorite things to learn about! We've already learned about what theme is and how to find it, so today it was time to take it to the next level. One of our standards says students have to analyze the development of multiple themes throughout a work of literature -- which sounds a little daunting for kiddos who spend the majority of their days flipping bottles and dabbing randomly for no reason whatsoever. A lot of my students are visual learners, so I decided to have them graph the themes in our book with different colors. Each student had to pick two themes and assign a different theme to each color. Each chapter of our book (Island of the Blue Dolphins) has a column on the graph. Students had to review each chapter to determine how strong they felt their themes were in that chapter, and then they plotted the themes on a scale of "absent" to "incredibly present" (or low to high). I heard my students discussing the themes, saying things like, "Death is a theme if animals are dying, right?" "I think the theme of loneliness is strongest in chapter 8 because Karana had just lost Ramo and hadn't found Rontu yet." I was so happy with them! Tomorrow we will start finding quotes to support the themes they chose.  I definitely think this is a project to repeat next year. How do you make themes tangible for your students?