As a school librarian I often collaborate with teachers to decide what I will be teaching for the week. When I met with the fourth grade teachers they asked me to do a lesson on theme. At first I was very apprehensive about teaching theme. I usually teach science and social studies topics during media because these are not covered as frequently as reading and math.
I decided to research some possible picture books for teaching theme. I found a blog post from my friend Pernille Ripp that helped me feel more confident about teaching it. She recommended Each Kindness as one of the books to use. I also decided to read Thank you Mr. Faulker as another book for theme.
Talk about a powerful lesson. The message in Each Kindness was one that the students really identified with. They all raised their hand when I asked if they had ever been picked on or picked on someone else. The students easily picked out the theme. I decided to also read Thank you Mr. Faulker to the kids. It has been awhile since I read the book so of course I cried in front of my students. I had to explain to them that I was crying because I did not meet my Mr. Faulker until I was in college. I still remember the horrible way I was treated in Elementary school because of my ADHD. Both books reminded me of why I became a teacher. I became a teacher to treat all my kids with respect and let them know that they have some one here who cares about them.
I added a short video and an online game to the lesson. I also did a formative assessment by asking the kids to write one theme they learned from the lesson for the day on a post it. Then I allowed the kids to stick their post it to the Smart board. This is one of my favorite lessons that I have taught this year.
I am including the links in case you want to replicate this lesson in your library or classroom.
Pernille's blog post on Theme books:
Link for the video:
Link for the game: