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Finding the Theme Grade 8. What is the Theme?  Theme = what the writer wants the reader to remember most.  The theme is the underlying idea or message.

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Presentation on theme: "Finding the Theme Grade 8. What is the Theme?  Theme = what the writer wants the reader to remember most.  The theme is the underlying idea or message."— Presentation transcript:

1 Finding the Theme Grade 8

2 What is the Theme?  Theme = what the writer wants the reader to remember most.  The theme is the underlying idea or message of the work.  Themes are always universal, timeless and cross cultures.  Often, one piece of writing will have multiple themes!

3 Why is Finding the Theme Important?  Themes help the reader remember important ideas in the reading.  Themes help the reader understand the message of the story.  Identifying the main idea is the essence of comprehension.

4 Identifying the Theme Use this three step process to identify the theme: 1. Find the “big ideas” or central topics in the reading. 2. Find out what the characters do and say that relates to the central topics. 3. State what the author says about life that relates to the central topics.

5 Step 1  Find the “big ideas” or general topics in the work. The author’s themes always relate to the big idea. The author’s themes always relate to the big idea. Try to learn about the “big ideas” as you preview the reading. Try to learn about the “big ideas” as you preview the reading. Try finding a clue in the title, the first paragraph or in illustrations.Try finding a clue in the title, the first paragraph or in illustrations. Consider common big ideas for middle school.Consider common big ideas for middle school. As you read, remember to think about the underlying idea or message of the work. As you read, remember to think about the underlying idea or message of the work.

6 Big Ideas Believe in Yourself Pacifism Beauty is only skin deep. Relationships Challenge and Success Religion and Faith Choices and Possibilities Revenge Community and Responsibility The American Dream Face your fears. The Big Trick Knowledge is Power The Meaning of Freedom Liberty and Authority The Noble Sacrifice Look before you leap. The Power of One

7 Step 2 As you read, watch for evidence that relates to the general big ideas you’ve identified. They are the clues to understanding the themes.  Clues might be found in: Repeated words or ideas Repeated words or ideas Symbols Symbols Important events or dialogue Important events or dialogue Changes in characters Changes in characters

8 Step 3  Create a statement of the author’s point or message about the topic. Use the following graphic organizer and this sentence frame to help you: Theme words, verb, description  Here are some examples: The power of one has led to significant change. The power of one has led to significant change. The meaning of history depends on your perspective. The meaning of history depends on your perspective. Revenge can leave a wide path of destruction. Revenge can leave a wide path of destruction.

9 Big Idea Evidence to support the big idea Theme word / Verb / Description Theme Graphic Organizer What Is Important to Learn /Author’s Message

10 The Fox and the Goat A fox fell into a deep well and could find no means of escape. A Goat, overcome with thirst, came to the same well, and seeing the Fox, asked if the water was good. Concealing his sad plight under a merry guise, the Fox indulged in a lavish praise of the water, saying it was excellent beyond measure, and encouraged him to descend. The Goat, mindful of his thirst, jumped down, but just as he drank, the Fox informed him of the difficulty they were in and suggested a plan for their escape. "If," said he, "you will place your forefeet upon the wall and bend your head, I will run up your back and escape, and will help you out afterwards.” The Goat readily agreed and the Fox leaped upon his back. Steadying himself with the Goat's horns, he safely reached the mouth of the well and made off as fast as he could. When the Goat scolded him for breaking his promise, he turned around and cried out, "You foolish old fellow! If you had as many brains in your head as you have hairs in your beard, you would never have gone down before you had inspected the way up, nor have exposed yourself to dangers from which you had no means of escape."

11 The Fox and the Goat  Step 1 Consider big ideas Consider big ideas As you read, remember to think about the underlying idea or message of the work. As you read, remember to think about the underlying idea or message of the work. Consider multiple themes that may be present. Consider multiple themes that may be present. One message in this fable is about challenges and successes, a common theme. One message in this fable is about challenges and successes, a common theme. The “Big Trick”, another common theme, is also found within the fable. The “Big Trick”, another common theme, is also found within the fable. An additional message, “look before you leap” is found within the fable. An additional message, “look before you leap” is found within the fable.

12 The Fox and the Goat  Step 2 Watch for details that relate to the general topics you’ve identified. Watch for details that relate to the general topics you’ve identified. Consider important events and changes in characters. Consider important events and changes in characters. In this fable, the Fox found a way to escape from the well by tricking the Goat into helping him. The gullible Goat remained trapped in the well.

13 The Fox and the Goat  Step 3  Create a statement of the author’s point or message about the topic. Use the following graphic organizer and this sentence frame to help you: Theme words, verb, description

14 Big Idea Theme word / Verb / Description The big trick is something one must always be careful to avoid. Theme Graphic Organizer What Is Important to Learn /Author’s Message The Big Trick Having tricked the goat, the fox escaped from the well, leaving the goat behind. A fox fell into a well and could not get out. A thirsty goat came across the well and the fox enticed him to descend into it. The fox convinced the goat that his plan to escape would help both of them leave the well. Evidence to support the big idea

15 Big Idea Theme word / Verb / Description Looking before you leap helps keep one out of danger. Theme Graphic Organizer What Is Important to Learn /Author’s Message Look before you leap. Having tricked the goat, the fox escaped from the well, leaving the goat behind. A fox fell into a well and could not get out. A thirsty goat came across the well and the fox enticed him to descend into it. The fox convinced the goat that his plan to escape would help both of them leave the well. Evidence to support the big idea

16 Big Idea Theme word / Verb / Description Challenges can lead to success if you carefully weigh each consequence. Theme Graphic Organizer What Is Important to Learn /Author’s Message Challenges and Successes Having tricked the goat, the fox escaped from the well, leaving the goat behind. A fox fell into a well and could not get out. A thirsty goat came across the well and the fox enticed him to descend into it. The fox convinced the goat that his plan to escape would help both of them leave the well. Evidence to support the big idea

17 Providing Evidence  Sometimes you will be able to provide evidence that you have chosen an appropriate theme.  Usually, you will need to provide two pieces of evidence from the story or poem that support a theme.

18 Providing Evidence  One theme for “The Fox and the Goat” is: Looking before you leap helps keep one out of danger.  Where is the evidence to support this theme? In your GRAPHIC ORGANIZER! In your GRAPHIC ORGANIZER!

19 Look for your evidence in what the character do and say. Evidence: 1.The fox tricked the goat into helping him escape from the well. 2.Once the fox escaped, he left the goat behind. Had the goat assessed the situation, he would have realized the danger and not agreed to the fox’s plan. Big Idea Theme word / Verb / Description Looking before you leap helps keep one out of danger. Theme Graphic Organizer What Is Important to Learn /Author’s Message Look before you leap. Having tricked the goat, the fox escaped from the well, leaving the goat behind. A fox fell into a well and could not get out. A thirsty goat came across the well and the fox enticed him to descend into it. The fox convinced the goat that his plan to escape would help both of them leave the well. Evidence to support the big idea

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35 Planting the Trees of Kenya – Step 1 Consider the big ideas Consider the big ideas As you read, remember to think about the underlying idea or message of the work. As you read, remember to think about the underlying idea or message of the work. This story has multiple messages, including : Overcoming challengesOvercoming challenges The power of one person to make a differenceThe power of one person to make a difference DeterminationDetermination Care for the environmentCare for the environment

36 Planting the Trees of Kenya – Step 2 Watch for details that relate to the general topics you’ve identified. Watch for details that relate to the general topics you’ve identified. Repeated words or ideas Repeated words or ideas Symbols Symbols Important events or dialogue Important events or dialogue Changes in characters Changes in characters In this story, Wangari identifies an environmental problem that is affecting an entire country, creates a plan to overcome this problem, and works diligently and against many obstacles, to put her plan into action.

37 Planting the Trees of Kenya – Step 3  Create a statement of the author’s point or message about the topic. Use the following graphic organizer and this sentence frame to help you: Theme word, verb, description

38 Big Idea Evidence to support the big idea Theme word / Verb / Description Overcoming challenges can allow you to reach your goals in life. Theme Graphic Organizer What Is Important to Learn /Author’s Message “ “ Overcoming challenges” Wamgari returned to her native Kenya only to find that deforestation had threatened the health of her village and the environment. She began to plant trees and to show the women of the village how to plant and care for the trees, in spite of the difficult work. Thirty years after she implemented her plan, 30 million trees have been planted and cared for. Both villagers and the environment are healthier. Remember to look for your evidence in what the characters do and say! She taught school children, prisoners and soldiers how to plant and care for trees.

39 Big Idea Evidence to support the big idea Theme word / Verb / Description The power of one person to make a positive difference in the world cannot be underestimated. Theme Graphic Organizer What Is Important to Learn /Author’s Message “ “ The power of one ” Wamgari returned to her native Kenya only to find that deforestation had threatened the health of her village and the environment. She began to plant trees and to show the women of the village how to plant and care for the trees, in spite of the difficult work. Thirty years after she implemented her plan, 30 million trees have been planted and cared for. Both villagers and the environment are healthier. Remember to look for your evidence in what the characters do and say! She taught school children, prisoners and soldiers how to plant and care for trees.

40 Big Idea Evidence to support the big idea Theme word / Verb / Description Care for the environment is essential for human health. Theme Graphic Organizer What Is Important to Learn /Author’s Message “ “ Care for the environment” Wamgari returned to her native Kenya only to find that deforestation had threatened the health of her village and the environment. She began to plant trees and to show the women of the village how to plant and care for the trees, in spite of the difficult work. Thirty years after she implemented her plan, 30 million trees have been planted and cared for. Both villagers and the environment are healthier. Remember to look for your evidence in what the characters do and say! She taught school children, prisoners and soldiers how to plant and care for trees.

41 Theme in Poetry  The theme of a poem can be found in the statement the poem (or poet) makes about its subject.  You can use the same three steps to find the theme in a poem.

42 “Those Winter Sundays” Robert Hayden Sundays too my father got up early and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fire blaze. No one ever thanked him. I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. When the rooms were warm, he’d call, and slowly I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic a angers of that house, Speaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well. What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices?

43 Step 1  Preview the title – an important clue may be found there!  Consider big ideas  As you read, remember to think about the underlying idea or message of the work. This poem’s message is about family relationships. The title, “Those Winter Sundays,” gave an important clue.

44 Step 2  Watch for details that relate to the general big ideas you’ve identified.  Clues might be found in: Repeated words or ideas Repeated words or ideas Symbols / Imagery Symbols / Imagery Important events or dialogue Important events or dialogue Changes in characters Changes in characters  In this poem, the vivid images, powerful language and reflection of the poet are clues to the poem’s message and theme.

45 Step 3  Create a statement of the author’s point or message about the big idea. Use the following graphic organizer and this sentence frame to help you: Theme word(s), verb, description

46 Big Idea Action: This father rose early each day to work. On Sunday mornings he rose before his family and made sure the house was warm. Evidence to support the big idea What Is Important to Learn / Author’s Message Theme word / Verb / Description A father’s love can be found in what he does for his family. Images: Blueblack cold Hands that ached Hear the cold splintering “A father’s love” Title: “Those Winter Sundays” Action: He worked so hard that his hands were cracked. When the rooms were warm, he’d call

47 Big Idea Final question: What did I know: what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices? Evidence to support the big idea What Is Important to Learn / Author’s Message Theme word / Verb / Description Guilt and regret can be caused by not recognizing what others do for us. Images: Blueblack cold Hands that ached Hear the cold splintering Actions: Getting up early to warm the house and polish shoes Speaking indifferently to him “Guilt and regret” Title: “Those Winter Sundays”

48 “The Basket” I’ve been sitting on the bench almost the whole season. I’ve been sitting on the bench almost the whole season. Finally, the coach sent me in. Some big guy practically mopped the court with me so the referee called a foul. He threw the ball to me so I could shoot. My big moment. My big chance. I was a sweaty mess. I bounced the ball until someone yelled “So shoot it already!” I gripped the ball tightly and pumped it up through the air. The ball landed gently on the rim of the basket, and slid through the net. YES! I felt great!! I know, I know it was the last ten seconds of the final quarter, and we were leading 110 to 66 anyway. But it was the most important shot of the game to me.

49 Step 1  Preview the title – an important clue may be found there!  Consider big ideas  As you read, remember to think about the underlying idea or message of the work. Messages found within this poem include: Facing your fears Facing your fears Belief in yourself Belief in yourself Challenges and successes Challenges and successes  The title, “The Basket,” gives an important clue.

50 Big Idea Changes in the character: He felt great – it was the most important shot he had ever made, even though it didn’t affect the outcome of the game. Evidence to support the big idea What Is Important to Learn / Author’s Message Theme word / Verb / Description Facing your fears can lead to success. “The Basket” Title: “The Basket” Background knowledge – basketball is a highly competitive game filled with challenges. Images: mopped the court with me I was a sweaty mess I gripped the ball tightly Important event: The poet makes the shot.

51 Big Idea Changes in the character: He felt great – it was the most important shot he had ever made, even though it didn’t affect the outcome of the game. Evidence to support the big idea What Is Important to Learn / Author’s Message Theme word / Verb / Description Challenges and successes can change the way you feel about yourself. “The Basket” Title: “The Basket” Background knowledge – basketball is a highly competitive game filled with challenges. Images: mopped the court with me I was a sweaty mess I gripped the ball tightly Important event: The poet makes the shot.

52 Theme Questions Any of these titles could be another title for the story/selection/poem. Choose the title you think best fits the selection. (title)(title) Provide two details from the story/selection/poem to support your choice.

53 More Theme Questions  What is the theme of the story/selection/ poem?  The story/selection/poem shows (theme). Provide two details from the story/selection/ poem that support this idea.  What is the theme of the story/ selection/ poem? Support your answer with one example from the story/selection/poem.


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