Students watch two video segments and learn how to identify the theme that links both segments. Using a series of questions related to varying perspectives (the author's, the main character's and their own), students identify the recurring theme.
Why is this an important concept?
When students go through the process of identifying recurring themes, they are learning and practicing strategies for evaluating the content of a text. Recognizing that a theme recurs in multiple texts indicates students are able to comprehend and critically analyze texts.
- Finding a Recurring Theme handout
- Nanavi and Neeraj: Recurring Theme Notes handout
- Recurring Theme Assessment handout
- Chalkboard and chalk
- Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham and other texts to use for guided practice
Part I: Learning Activity
1. Discuss what the theme of a text is.Read Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham to students, asking them to determine what they think the theme of it is. Work with them to arrive at the theme of keeping an open mind. You might also read The Giving Tree or several short poems by Shel Silverstein, and identify their themes to further facilitate students' understanding of the term.
2. Photocopy and distribute the Finding a Recurring Theme handout. Discuss the definitions and tips. Explain that the questions listed will help students identify the themes of the video segments they will watch.
3. Photocopy and distribute the handout Nanavi and Neeraj: Recurring Theme Notes handout.
4. Before playing the first segment, "Nanavi," ask students to pay attention to Nanavi's feelings, thoughts and actions to determine the theme. While watching the video, students should take notes in the Nanavi's Story sections of the handout. Pause the video as necessary to allow students time for note-taking.
5. Discuss what students wrote. Based on their notes, on the board list several ideas from students of what the theme of the first segment was.
6. Play the second segment, "Neeraj." Ask students to focus on Neeraj's feelings, thoughts and actions to determine the theme. While watching the video, students should take notes in the Neeraj's Story sections of the handout. Again, pause the video as necessary to allow students time for note-taking.
7. Discuss what students wrote. Do they notice a recurring theme in the two video segments? Refer to those themes listed on the board from the discussion of the first segment.
For students who need additional teacher guidance:
- Review note-taking strategies and skills.
- Provide writing assistance for note-taking during the video and the writing of the response as needed.
- Provide the opportunity for students to watch segments again if needed.
- If some students do not correctly identify the theme, re-teach the concept in a small-group setting using other texts. All students will need additional, scaffold practice over time with multiple genres and levels of texts to feel confident and competent in identifying themes.
Part II: Assessment
Independently, students will complete the Recurring Theme Assessment handout.