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        3-5, 13+

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        Writing an Interpretive Essay to Describe a Theme - The Red Shoes

        Students practice identifying themes and write about friendship from their personal experiences. They draw conclusions about what makes a person a friend.

        Lesson Summary


        Students watch a portion of the contemporary version of Hans Christian Andersen's The Red Shoes. They will interpret the underlying theme of the film by identifying examples of what activities the two friends do together. Then they write about friendship from their personal experiences and draw conclusions about what makes a person a friend. 

        Why is this an important concept?

        When students go through the process of identifying themes, they are learning and practicing strategies for evaluating the content of a text. Demonstrating the ability to identify a theme in a text verifies the student comprehends the author's message. 

        Grade Level:


        Suggested Time


        Media Resources


        The Lesson

        Part I: Learning Activity

        1. Before viewing the video, distribute the Friendship Organizer handout for taking notes and the Friendship rubric.

        2. Tell students they will watch a video segment about friendship. Ask students to listen for examples of friendship and what friends do together. Students listen to the narrator and the words of the song and watch the images.

        3. On the organizer, students write examples from the video of what makes a person a friend and what friends do together.

        4. After viewing the segment, students discuss ideas about friendship they've noted from the video.

        5. Discuss briefly what students think makes a good friend, and ask students to answer the questions on the Friendship Questionnaire handout to help them think about friendship.

        6. Then ask students to take notes on the organizer about their personal experiences related to friendship, what makes a good friend and what they like to do with their friends.

        For students who need additional guidance:

        • Discuss the video segment and record ideas about friendship on the board using headings like the ones in the Friendship Organizer handout.
        • Then, as a group, discuss what makes a good friend, examples of experiences related to friendship and what they do with their friends using the Friendship Questionnaire handout to help facilitate discussion. Write the ideas on the board. Students may transfer ideas from the board to their organizers and add their own ideas.

        Part II: Assessment

        Students will use their notes from the Friendship rubric to write a three-paragraph essay that focuses on the theme of friendship using the examples from the video segment in paragraph one, their personal experiences with friends in paragraph two and finally drawing a conclusion about friendship in paragraph three.

        Portfolio: The essay may be added to student portfolios to provide evidence that they have met these performance indicators. Use the Friendship rubric to evaluate the essay.


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