Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Theme and My Friend Molly Lou Melon

Today, I did a lesson on theme.  It was so much fun!  My friends and I had a great time with it.  Last week, I posted a few anchor charts that inspired me.  Here is how my theme anchor chart came out:
We began by discussing what theme is in a book and how we can figure it out.

I had the themes prewritten but covered with chart paper.  My friends then worked with a partner to discuss common themes they have run across in their reading.  I charted them on another piece of chart paper, a sloppy copy of sorts.  We then uncovered the prewritten chart to see how many they were able to come up with.  They were tickled, as was I, that they came up with almost every theme I had already posted.  Now, my theme chart was inspired by the one I posted.here.

This is when the fun really started.  I grabbed a handful of picture books that we had already read, and we determined the themes of each.  It was great for them to see how a book can have multiple themes.  It was even better to see my friends engage in lively discussion as to what themes were more significant to each book.  I love when you can almost touch the learning!

We started with one of my favorite picture books, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell.  If you don't know this book, just trust me and go buy it right now.  It's a must have.

I selected this book to use first because the theme is very easily identified.  Molly Lou Melon is a teeny, tiny first grader with some, well let's say interesting physical traits!  Here's a picture:

I know!  A bit scary.  But, don't be fooled.  She is simply adorable.  Here's a picture of her getting on the bus for her first day in her new school.

Do you see her?  She really is adorable.  And more importantly, no matter how much a bully makes fun of her, she remains proud of who she is.  The illustrations in this book are amazing.  My fifth graders love this book, and its theme is one all kids need to hear. You need this book! And so, this was the first one we started with.

My friends then went on to identify the themes for Mr. George Baker,  The Great Kapok Tree,  Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters,  and The Lotus Seed.  After that, I sent my friends off for independent reading.  When we came back to share, they discussed what they thought the theme of their books might be.  Now, key to this lesson is to extend identifying the theme by having them link the theme to their lives.  How does this theme relate to my life?  It really helps them understand theme and lets them see why books can be uplifting, teach lessons, and help us learn about ourselves when we apply some thinking.  Because time was short today, and because we got carried away discussing the themes of our picture books, I'm planning to do that part of the lesson tomorrow.

So, that's about it.  I just wanted to share how I teach theme and introduce you to Molly Lou Melon.  I love that girl!

*****Came back to edit post!!  I found a reading of Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon on Youtube.  You know I have to show you!

7 comments:

  1. Just found your blog and I'm your newest follower :)

    ❤ Mor Zrihen ❤
    A Teacher's Treasure

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  2. I was just checking out Pinterest and spotted the picture of the cover of Molly Lou Mellon and had to click in to see what it was all about. I absolutely love this book! It was passed down to me from a relative - for me to read to my daughter. I will use this lesson this week with my 4th grade class! Thank you for the great idea! I can't wait to share this book with them (in this way)!

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  3. Same Anonymous from above...Finally found the time to do this lesson with my class - We had "Black Out Bullying Day" here in MA. I was so happy to have this book and this lesson to share with my class today!

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  4. You are teaching motifs not themes. It is because of people like you that I have to re-teach things to high school students.

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  5. @ruralprisoner - My dear, if you'd looked up theme & motif you'd have found that motif is considered to be one of the synonyms for the word theme. Contextually, theme has a more literary cache to it; while motif is more commonly used in reference to artistic efforts. But, all in all, the words may be used interchangeably.
    ManyTotems

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  6. @ruralprisoner - My dear, if you'd looked up theme & motif you'd have found that motif is considered to be one of the synonyms for the word theme. Contextually, theme has a more literary cache to it; while motif is more commonly used in reference to artistic efforts. But, all in all, the words may be used interchangeably.
    ManyTotems

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  7. You have a fantastic site here! I am homeschooling 5 children and I am definitely using the ideas you have shared. Thanks so much for putting the time into your blog!

    W/a Smile, Tiana
    seagullsinthemountains.blogspot.com

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