Theme Journals

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Transcript Theme Journals

Theme Journals
In-Class Notes, Activities, and
• By the end of the lesson, each student will be
able to compare and contrast themes from
their novels with themes from other works of
literature in their reading response journals.
Responses will be evaluated using a standardsbased rubric.
Instructional Content
Discuss themes in children’s stories
Complete and discuss opening activity
Discuss what a theme is and is not
Have students find theme within the song
lyrics and discuss
• Define compare and contrast
• Model journaling process
Themes in Children’s Stories
• What is the title of your book?
• Write a one-sentence summary of your book.
• What are the themes (morals, lessons, truths
about life) that are expressed in your group’s
• How are these themes expressed in your
book? In other words, how does the author
communicate these themes to the reader?
Themes in Music
1. Write a one-sentence summary of your song.
2. What is the author trying to say?
3. What are some universal themes (truths about life,
society, or human nature) that are revealed in the
4. What conflicts are present in the song (person vs. self,
society, etc.)?
5. What is the mood (feeling, atmosphere) of your song?
6. What is the tone (writer’s attitude) of your song?
7. Using your green figurative language glossary, highlight
and label examples of figurative language.
Themes in Music
• On your lyrics, please
highlight examples of
the following:
Internal and external
– Symbolism
– Personification
On a piece of paper or in your notebook:
Think of three animated movies and
describe their theme(s)
The Lion King
The Little Mermaid
Finding Nemo
The Princess and the Frog
Toy Story
How the Grinch Stole
• Shrek
• Tangled
Any others???
• Theme is a truth about
life that is revealed in
literature. It may be a
lesson, moral, main idea.
There are several possible
themes for each of these.
• Make sure you write the
theme in a complete
sentence and avoid
Subjects vs. Themes
No matter how long
traditions have been in
place, there is always room
for change.
It is important for people to
remember and recognize
the traditions of their
What is a theme?
• A theme is the main idea, or message, of an
essay, paragraph, or a book.
• The message may be about life, society, or
human nature.
• Themes often explore timeless and universal
ideas and may be implied rather than stated.
• A theme is considered one of the fundamental
components of fiction.
What is the difference between a
subject and a theme?
Many students get these confused. A subject can be
expressed in a word or two: courage, survival, war, pride, love,
etc. A theme is the idea the author wishes to convey about
the subject. It is expressed in a sentence and is a general
statement about life or human nature.
Subject: Pride
Thematic statement: Pride can be the downfall of the
greatest people.
When not taken to extremes, pride is
necessary for people to be successful.
Subject vs. Theme
In your composition books, brainstorm a
list of all the subjects your novel explores
(examples: love, pride, parentrelationships, magic, war, basketball,
independence, etc.).
How to Write a Thematic Statement
Start with a subject. Choose one that is abstract (love, jealousy, peace,
friendship, hope) vs. concrete (basketball, school, WWII, dragons) .
Theme is an abstract idea plus a comment or observation which addresses:
human motivation
human condition
human ambition
AVOID – clichés– your thematic statement should not sound like a
fortune cookie or the moral of an Aesop’s fable.
INSTEAD – put it into your own words, elaborate, add sophistication
AVOID – absolute words – all, everyone, each, none, always, never, etc…
INSTEAD – sometimes, often, we, adolescents, frequently, etc…
AVOID – specifics of plot, character name and setting
Abstract idea + comment or observation = thematic statement
Thematic Statements
For pop song lyrics
Find one or more lines from
the song to support your idea
Hint: Finding the lyrics first
can help you write the
thematic statement. Focus on
what the author is trying to
tell us in those lyrics- What is
their tone? What is the
message that they are trying
to convey?
Thematic Statement
Write the theme of your
song in a one-sentence
thematic statement
Refer to the examples on
the following slides.
Thematic Statements
For pop song lyrics
“I’m a thousand miles away
girl but tonight you look so
pretty… Hey there Delilah,
don’t you worry about the
distance, I’m right here if
you get lonely.”
(from “Hey There Delilah”
by Plain White T’s).
Thematic Statement
No matter how far away you
are from someone, if you
love them enough, you can
make it work.
Thematic Statements
For pop song lyrics
“My tummy’s turning and
I’m feeling kinda homesick.
Too much pressure and I’m
nervous. That’s when the
DJ dropped my favorite
tune… So I put my hands
up…and the butterflies fly
(From “Party in the USA” by
Miley Cyrus)
Thematic Statement
When we are nervous and
feel out of place, letting go
of our fears and focusing on
what is positive in our lives
can change our mood and
our outlook.
Thematic Statements
For pop song lyrics
“You got designer shades to
hide your face and you wear
them around like you’re
cooler than me”
(From “Cooler than Me” by
Mike Posner)
Thematic Statement
Some people use
materialistic things to hide
their own insecurities.
Thematic Statements
For pop song lyrics
“I know when I compliment
her, she won’t believe me.
And it’s so sad to think she
doesn’t see what I see.”
(from “Just the Way You
Are” by Bruno Mars)
Thematic Statement
Even if you feel insecure,
there is someone out there
who loves you just the way
you are.
If true love exists between
two people, they will be
beautiful to each other
regardless of how they look
on the outside.
Thematic Statements
For pop song lyrics
“The traffic is stuck and
you’re not moving
anywhere…You’re on the
road, but you’ve got no
destination… It’s a beautiful
day, don’t let it get away.”
(from “Beautiful Day” by
Thematic Statement
When we feel like we are
getting nowhere in life, and
when we feel lost and
alone, recognizing and
appreciating the simple
beauty that can be found in
our everyday lives can
change our outlook and get
us back on track.
Thematic Statements
For pop song lyrics
“See the world in green and
blue, see China right in front
of you. See the canyons
broken by cloud… And see
the bird with a leaf in her
mouth, after the flood all
the colors came out. (from
“Beautiful Day” by U2)
Thematic Statement
If we open our eyes, our
minds, and our hearts, we
will see that the world is full
of hope and beauty.
Thematic Statements
For pop song lyrics
“The wind of change blows
straight into the face of
time, like a storm wind that
will ring the freedom bell
for peace...”
(from “Wind of Change” by
The Scorpions)
Thematic Statement
Like the wind in a storm,
change is often turbulent,
but with change comes
hope for freedom and
Thematic Statements
For pop song lyrics
“Take me to the magic of
the moment on a glory
night, where the children of
tomorrow dream away on
the wind of change.”
(from “Wind of Change” by
The Scorpions)
Thematic Statement
The hopes and dreams of
future generations begin
and end with change.
• Write down a line or two
from your song that express
its theme.
– Note: You may use the
ellipsis… to omit words or to
skip to another line.
Thematic Statement
• Based on the lines that you
chose, write a thematic
statement for your song.
Thematic Statement for Ender’s Game
by Orson Scott Card
“Don’t start apologizing for
them Ender. Just because
they didn’t know they were
killing human beings
doesn’t mean they weren’t
killing human beings” (Card,
If people around the world can
communicate with open minds and
open hearts, we can avoid the
atrocities of unnecessary wars. In
this scene, Ender is starting to
realize that the buggers were not
intentionally killing humans, they
were just trying to protect their
queen. If they could have found a
way to communicate with one
another instead of killing one
another, countless lives would have
been saved.
Text (Passage from your book)
• Write down a line or two
from your book that express
its theme.
– Note: You may use the
ellipsis… to omit words or to
skip to another line.
Thematic Statement
• Based on the lines that you
chose, write a thematic
statement for your book.
Compare and Contrast
• The Arizona State Standard is:
The student will compare and contrast themes
across works of prose, poetry and drama.
• So now that we know how to determine the
theme and write a thematic statement, we
need to take it to the next level.
• To compare is to show how two themes are
the same.
• To contrast is to show how they are different.
Compare and Contrast Themes
• Look at the thematic statement that you
wrote for your novel (last night’s homework).
• Look at the thematic statements that we
wrote for the song lyrics.
• Do any of these themes relate to a theme
from your book? If so, how?
• Tell how these themes are similar and how
they are different.
Theme Journal Example
“…it’s easy to forget why
Earth is worth saving. Why
the world of people might
be worth the price you
pay… So that’s why you
brought me here, to make
me love Earth. Well it
worked” (page 243, Ender’s
Game by Orson Scott Card).
One theme that is common in both
Ender’s Game and the song
“Beautiful Day” by U2 is that when
we feel like we are getting nowhere
in life, and when we feel lost and
alone, recognizing and appreciating
the simple beauty that can be found
in our everyday lives can change our
outlook and get us back on track.
Ender, like the character in this song
feels lost and alone. He has left his
family to attend Battle School, he is
alienated and bullied by his peers,
and he feels like he just wants to give
up. His visit to Earth is a turning
point because it helps him remember
how beautiful it is and that it is worth
fighting for.
Theme Journal Example
“I ain’t making a face, ese.
This is my face.’ Michael
said his face had changed
during the summer. He had
read a GQ magazine… and
noticed that the male
models all had the same
look on their faces… a
scowl” (from “Seventh
Grade” by Gary Soto).
One theme that this story has in
common with the song “Cooler
than Me” by Mike Posner is that
people often do ridiculous things to
look “cool.” Like the character in
the song who uses her designer
sunglasses to hide her face,
Michael’s scowling is probably
masking his own insecurity about
his looks. By emulating the models,
he is trying to be something he’s
not instead of just accepting and
appreciating who he is and how he
Homework: Theme Journal
• Select a passage from your
book that shows the theme.
• Think of a song, short story
or another book that
expresses a theme that is
similar to the one above.
• Write a response that
compares and contrasts a
theme from your book to a
theme from a song, short
story, or another book.
• Explain how the writers
express the theme in each.
Thematic Paragraphs for Short
• Write a thematic statement for a short story that
we have read in class and support it with
evidence from the text.
• Stories to choose from: “Seventh Grade (teal
book),” “All the Years of Her Life” (paper), “Three
Skeleton Key” (green book, 65), “The Monkey’s
Paw” (red book, 186), “The Landlady” (red book,
171), “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” (red book,
581), “Amigo Brothers (green book, 245),” “After
Twenty Years” (green book, 191) “Ender’s Game,”
“Lamb to the Slaughter” (paper)
Thematic Statement
• What is a theme or message from the story
you have chosen? In other words, what truth
about life, human nature, or human behavior
is the author trying to reveal? It may be a
lesson or a moral, or it might just be a
Template/ACE (Answer, Cite, Explain)
• TS: topic sentence, ANSWER
• CD: concrete detail, fact, example, passage from
text, CITE
• CM: commentary, your thoughts, analysis,
explanation of how the CD relates to the TS,
• CM: second sentence of commentary, tell me more,
elaborate, dig deeper, CONTINUE TO EXPLAIN
• Write a second chunk (repeat pattern from above,
• CS: concluding sentence, summarize your ideas and
relate back to your TS
“Seventh Grade” hour 1
One theme from the story “Seventh Grade” by Gary Soto is
that sometimes people try to impress others by being
someone or something they’re not. For example, Michael
notices in a GQ magazine that all the models are scowling,
so he decides to scowl to look attractive to girls. This shows
that he is willing to go to extreme measures, even changing
his facial expressions, to get a girlfriend. This also shows
that Michael has succumbed to the pressure to look the
way society expects him to, instead of being happy with
who he is. In addition, after claiming to know French in
order to impress Teresa, Victor mumbles “Wee wee gee gee
in September,” and completely humiliates himself. This
shows that, like Michael, Victor goes out of his way to
impress somebody, only to end up totally embarrassed.
This also shows that Victor and Michael are insecure about
who they truly are. To conclude, this story teaches us that
if we want to find true friendships and relationships, we
must be true to ourselves and others.
“Three Skeleton Key” hour 2
One theme from “Three Skeleton Key,” by George G. Toudouze, is
that teamwork and perseverance can help people survive a
crisis or difficult situation. For example, on page 73, the
lighthouse keepers “battled the horde of maddened rats” and
the rats “retreated.” This shows that the men would not have
been able to defeat the rats alone because they were drastically
outnumbered by the “horde.” This also shows that working
together and never giving up enabled them to succeed despite
the dire situation they were in. In addition, after the rescuers
unsuccessfully attempt to scald the rats with steam, instead of
giving up, they come up with a new plan to lure the rats to their
death with a barge of smelly meat. This shows that the
rescuers, like the victims, are willing to do whatever it takes to
save the lives of others. This also shows that by putting their
heads together, they were able to solve a problem that they
couldn’t have solved on their own. To conclude, the characters
in “Three Skeleton Key” cooperate and give their all to survive a
potentially deadly scenario.
“Drummer Boy of Shiloh” hour 4
• One theme from “The Drummer of Shiloh,” by Ray Bradbury, is
that even when we feel small and insignificant, we have an
important contribution to make in the world. For example, at
the beginning of the story, Joby wonders if the soldiers will “go
away, the war with them, and not notice him lying small here,
no more than a toy himself” (582). By comparing himself to a
small toy, he shows his lack of experience and maturity, as well
as his fear. This also shows that Joby, as the drummer boy, feels
that his role in the war is less important than the soldiers in the
battle. After Grant sees Joby crying, he convinces him that he
must become the general of the army in the event of his death.
This shows that as a drummer boy, if Joby fails to keep a steady
beat, the soldiers cannot defeat the enemy. This also shows
that Grant has faith in Joby and is counting on him to continue
to lead the army to victory. To conclude, this story shows us
that even if you are young and inexperienced, you have the
power within yourself to accomplish great things.
“All the Years of Her Life” by Morley Callaghan
One theme from “All the Years of Her Life,” by Morley Callaghan, is
that a person’s choices and behaviors can have unintended
negative effects on the people who care about them. For
example, after convincing Mr. Carr not to have Alfred arrested for
shoplifting, Mrs. Higgins tells her son that “You’ve disgraced me
again and again… It’s one thing after another and always has been
(5). This shows that poor decision-making is a recurring event in
Alfred’s adolescence and that this isn’t the first time his mom has
had to “save” him. Her harsh tone and word choice are a result of
years of stress and anxiety due to Alfred’s thoughtless actions.
Later that night, Alfred sees his mother’s “frightened broken face”
as she “trembled,” “sighed,” and struggled to sip her tea (7). This
shows that despite her calm composure at the drugstore, her
patience is wearing thin. This also shows that her constant fear
and worry over Alfred is taking a physical and emotional toll on her
well-being. To conclude, this story conveys the importance of
carefully considering our choices and actions because they impact
everyone around us.