Theme Vs. Lesson - Part Two

Part Two looked pretty similar to Part One. :)

We looked at a familiar read-aloud, but this time in a whole group (instead of parallel groups).

There are so many ways to use this book! Click to see it on Amazon! *affiliate link*

I thought our discussion about theme would take a little longer, but they all agreed (almost immediately) that acceptance was the main theme of the story. We spent a little more time talking about the lesson (message from the author).We came up with several!

This is a screen capture of my flipchart. You have no idea how bad the handwritten parts are bothering me!!
In the end I had the kids choose to write about either the theme or one of the lessons. I emphasized that they had to be able to defend their choice with evidence from the text. I was really surprised when almost all of them chose to write about the lesson.

I revised the anchor chart just a little - you'll want to go back and re-download the TpT freebie if you've already gotten it. I'm also including a blank page so you (or your students) can use it with your own titles.

Here are a few student work samples from both days. They made my heart happy. :) If you have classroom favorites with strong themes and lessons (to use instead of the titles I used), you could use work samples below as anchor papers.

Emilio cracks me up - "No wonder he's cranky!" :)

"They might be one of the meanest and scariest people on the outside and be one of the nicest prettiest people on the inside." - Love that girl!
I'm sorry it took so long for me to update this post! I hope it's something you can use! :)

Click here to redownload the printables for this lesson.


Sigh... I love it!

Jenn at Dream Team Designs has been working with me to create a new look for my blog! I absolutely loved what Kristen had installed for me previously, but I wanted a more personalized look. There were several other bloggers with the same template I was using, and I was ready for something just for me.

Jenn was really wonderful to work with and very patient with my ever-growing list of "wants" for the new template. I had so much fun shopping for my graphics and picking out exactly what I wanted. If you are in need of a new look for your blog, you should definitely visit her and check our her portfolio. She is pretty fantastic! :) 

Don't forget to shoot me an email if you are a Georgia blogger/reader. We are meeting up soon and would love to have you there!


Georgia Blogger Meet-Up

How about a meet n' greet? 

Mandy from Mandy's Tips for Teachers and I are teaming up to organize a Georgia Peaches get-together. :)

I know there are several Georgia bloggers and I bet there are even more blog followers!  It is our understanding that many Atlanta Metro counties have their Spring Break scheduled for the first week of April.  So, we are getting together on Wednesday, April  4th at 1:00 in the Perimeter Mall area. All Georgia bloggers or blog readers :) are welcome!

 If you would like more information please contact Mandy at mandyholland@hotmail.com or me at thirdgradebookworm@gmail.com.

We hope to see YOU there!

Wow. Just wow.

I don't know what I was thinking telling you all I'd post part 2 right away.

I need to take pictures and scan student work.

I've been at Chick-Fil-A for three hours for a Drama Club fundraiser. We perform exactly one week from tonight. For three nights in a row.

Holy moses.

I'll be back tomorrow with some exciting news and hopefully again by Friday to tell you about part two of Theme vs. Lesson. I have some great texts to share with you!


Theme Vs. Lesson

One of the things my students have struggled with this year is to identify the theme and the lesson in a story.

We use the DRA to monitor students' reading progress throughout the year and I noticed I was always creating strategy groups for students to who needed to explain the theme or lesson in a story.

I found this anchor chart on Pinterest earlier in the year and it has become a staple in our classroom:

{Click} to visit the original blog!
My co-teacher and I make a point to refer to the theme chart every time we finish a read-aloud. We ask the kids about the BIG themes and the smaller themes they notice in the book. They also have to explain (justify) why they thought _____ was a theme in the book.

Even so, we still have a few students who are struggling to identify the main theme in a story, as well as the lesson (author's message). So, we decided to approach this lesson in parallel teaching groups. Everyone listened to the story Library Lion in a whole group. Then, my co-teacher took the group that still needed to work on theme and I took the group that was ready to move on to the lesson (or author's message) in a story.

Click this picture to check it out on Amazon! *affiliate link*

My group talked about the BIG theme that we saw in the story - acceptance. Again, the students had to provide text examples that supported their thinking. We also agreed that friendship was another large theme in the story. 

Then I used this chart to introduce the author's message, or lesson, in a story:

{Click Me} to go to TpT for the freebie!

We focused on the idea that a theme is like a big umbrella - it covers lots of books. A lesson or message is much more specific. It's more of a statement, instead of just one or two words. I had them brainstorm themes and lessons from a few familiar read alouds before we tackled Library Lion - Enemy Pie, Frederick, The Lion and the Mouse, etc. These were books my students were very familiar with. You could do this with any anchor texts you use in your classroom.

I wish I had taken a picture of my ActivBoard screen when we started brainstorming lessons from Library Lion. I made a point to make sure that none of the "lessons" on my anchor chart were in Library Lion. I taped the anchor chart in the middle of the board, with the themes we brainstormed on one side and the lessons we noticed on the other side. We starred the theme and lesson we felt were the "biggest."

When it was time for the students to work on their own, they had to write about and justify their own thinking. 

I'm teaching part two of this lesson tomorrow, but I was so excited about how Friday's lesson went that I wanted to share this with you. 

I promise to take pictures tomorrow and to come back with an update on part two.

I hope all of this makes sense. I hope it's something you can use! If you're interested in any of this, click on the picture above to download it from my TpT store!


Intermediate Blogger Link-Up!

Do you have a 3rd-5th grade blog?

Want to find more?

Visit Lorraine at Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies and link up... or blog stalk a bunch of us.

Whatever floats your boat.


A 7 Habits Update

It's been awhile since I talked about the 7 Habits of Happy Kids. I'm hoping I can find some time during Spring Break to catch you up on some of the books we've used this year.

In the meantime, here's a list of what our school used this year. I'll be sure to update this once we know what the Habit 7 (Sharpen the Saw) book is for the month.

2011-2012 Book List

I know this is short and sweet, but I wanted to share this resource with you.

I will say that the books we used for Habits 5 (Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood)  and 6 (Synergize) are my favorites. If you haven't read Library Lion to your students, you must must must go out and find this book. It is beautiful.

I also really struggled to develop an activity for Habit 4 (Think Win-Win). I want to note that the book (When Mama Played Baseball) is a text geared more towards 4th and 5th grade. It's a great story, but you really need to set aside some time to talk and build background knowledge before you read it with younger students.

If your school is considering using The Leader in Me or The 7 Habits of Happy Kids, I hope this is something you can use. If not, these are great books to use in any leadership or character education program!

I'll be back in a few days to share a theme vs. lesson (message) activity I'm doing with my kids this week. Wish me luck! :)


Currently... March!

I'm looking at my Currently and realizing how grouchy and poopoo it sounds. But really, it's meant to make you giggle.

I also want to take a minute and say a very belated THANK YOU to everyone who made my Leap Day awesome! It always feels so good to read your sweet comments and see the feedback in my store(s). I really and truly appreciate all of you!

I can't want to see everyone's Currentlys! I love these things! Go link up! :)

Top O' The Morning!

Or, maybe it's nighttime.

Either way, howdy!

Can you tell I had a weekend of nothing? It was awesome.

Well, not totally nothing.

I did get this done...

And, because I'm in a happy (read: wine glass is full) mood, I'm going to give away packets to the first 4 people to leave me some love ~ with an email address, of course!

If not, it's a whole $2.00 in my TpT store. Whoa, baby. :)

Good luck!


Have you ever had one of those weeks?

This was mine.

{Hence the title.}

The kids were nuts, I was nuttier and life was the nuttiest.

Our Drama Club performs in 3 weeks.

Our state test comes in about 6 weeks.

Add in 2 personal crises and I'm ready for a few days of nothing.