Thursday, February 21, 2013

Central Message, Lesson, and Theme, Oh My!

This week we are starting our unit on Fairy  Tales.  We thought this would be a perfect tie in for stories such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood (don't talk to strangers, anyone!?!)  Before jumping into the familiar fairy tales and trying to find the central message, lesson, or even theme I thought we should at least discuss what these things ARE.

We first compared nonfiction and fiction.


I wrote this out quickly on the board and couldn't get it all in the photo.  We talked about how the central message, theme, or lesson is often the big idea the author is trying to get across to the reader (VERY basic here, since they have so little background with this) and how it is similar to the main idea in nonfiction text.  The main idea is often the BIG idea in the text.  A big difference between the two is that the big idea in a fiction story is always almost implied, but in nonfiction it can sometimes be stated directly in the text.

Now I can not take credit for the next activity.  Lester Laminick shared it at one of his training I attended and I LOVED it!


Then I showed a picture of a car covered in bumper stickers.  I talked about how bumper stickers get across a big idea to the viewer with very few words and usually a picture.

Then we looked at several bumper stickers and determined the big idea.

For example we talked that the "big idea" of this bumper sticker is peace on earth.  Then we talked about what this means and HOW we can have peace on Earth.  What do  we need to do?

This "big idea" of this bumper sticker is to wear your seat belt.  We discussed why?  What does it mean to be ready?  Ready for what?


The last bumper sticker was the best.  I felt we had the best conversation about it.
The "big idea" if this bumper sticker is to take care of the Earth.  We talked about which mother the sticker referred to and listed ways to take care of the Earth.

Then we related the "big idea" to what we have been studying in Social Studies- Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King Jr.  We brainstormed  "big ideas" on a t-chart (Jackie on one side and Martin on the other).  The kids came up with great ideas such as history makers, segregation, civil rights and so on.  Then students created their own big idea bumper stickers about Martin Luther King Jr or Jackie Robinson.  Some of them turned out great!



(This one is slightly blurry.  It says March on Washington).

I am really hoping this scaffolds the kids learning so they are more prepared to find the big ideas, central messages, lessons, and themes in our fairy tales!  Fingers crossed!





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