Lesson 1: Story Elements that Support the Theme
- Learning Goal
- Identify the plot and main idea of a story that supports the theme.
- Approximately 50 minutes
- Necessary Materials
- Provided: Direct Teaching Theme Graphic Organizer, Guided Practice Theme Graphic Organizer, Guided Practice Theme Graphic Organizer ANSWER KEY, Independent Practice
Not Provided: Aesop’s Fables by Jerry Pinkney, chart paper, markers
will introduce and define theme as the underlying message or lesson that the author is trying to tell the reader. I will explain that the plot and main idea of stories help us to identify the theme. I will also explain that today we will be reading fables that are stories with a very clear theme (the lesson or moral of a story). I will present the blank, charted, theme graphic organizer (example provided in unit) before reading “The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf” (p. 11) from Aesop’s Fables by Jerry Pinkney. After reading the fable, I will identify the theme, “No one believes a liar,” for students. I will explain that the plot details and the main idea of a story should support the theme of the story. I will model charting the plot details that support this theme (Direct Teaching Teacher Graphic Organizer provided below in Teacher and Student Materials). For example: First, I know that the boy cried wolf twice when there was no wolf and the townspeople did not like the boy’s trick. Then a wolf really came and the boy cried wolf again. Next, the townspeople did not believe the boy and did not come. Finally, the wolf ate one of the sheep. All the main events in the plot tell a story that supports the theme that no one believes a liar. I can also identify the main idea, which should support the theme. By looking at the main events of the plot, I can identify the main idea as: “A shepherd boy lies about a wolf coming and no one believes him when the wolf really does come.” The plot and the main idea both support the theme.
Ask: How did I identify the plot and main idea that supported the theme? Students should respond that you read the story and identified the problem and solution in the story. You also identified the main idea that supported the theme by looking at the important events related to the theme.
will read “The Grasshopper and the Ants” (p. 12) from Aesop’s Fables with the theme, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what should be done today.” We will identify the plot and main idea that supports this theme. We will complete Theme Graphic Organizer B together (see Guided Practice Student and Teacher Graphic Organizer below).
will read “The Lion and the Mouse” (p. 41) from Aesop’s Fables and identify the plot and main idea of the story that support the theme. (Student Independent Practice is provided below.) Note: You will need to provide your students with the story for Independent Practice.
TIP: You may choose to read “The Lion and the Mouse” aloud to students during the Independent Practice.
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Build Student Vocabulary spare
|Tier 2 Word: spare|
|Contextualize the word as it is used in the story||When it started to get cold, the grasshopper has nothing to eat, so he asked the ants for help. “‘Please. Can’t you spare me a seed or a leaf?’ he begged.”|
|Explain the meaning student-friendly definition)||When something is spared, it means that it is given up because it is not needed. Since the grasshopper had nothing to eat, and he thought that the ants did, he asked them if they could spare some food or give it to him because they may not need it.|
|Students repeat the word||Say the word spared with me: spared.|
|Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts||Can you spare me a quarter so that I can buy an orange? Can you spare me a few minutes so that I can finish reading this chapter?|
|Students provide examples||When have you spared something that you did not need? Start by saying, “I spared ___________________ because ________________.”|
|Students repeat the word again.||What word are we talking about? spared|
|Additional Vocabulary Words||toil, disdain|
Before reading “The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf,” tell your class that you are going to read a fable about a little boy who is a shepherd. Explain that a shepherd is a person who watches and takes care of flocks of sheep. Shepherding is one of the world's oldest jobs. Originally, shepherds were boys who lived a quiet life alone, traveling with a flock of sheep. They were responsible for watching out for predators (animals that hunt other animals for food), watching for the birth of baby lambs, and providing medical care for hurt or sick sheep. Today, farm veterinarians (doctors for animals) take care of the health and medical needs of sheep.