Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Teaching Theme with Fables

Hey everyone! It's Meredith from Creativity to the Core!
It's a BRAND new year, and I am so happy to say that I am now in a position that I absolutely love! I am now teaching third grade reading at the school I worked in last school year. I am so fortunate to have amazing teacher friends and a very welcoming staff there! I was hired to provide support to two teachers who are over our county limit in students, so I teach additional small groups during their normal reading block.
This handy shower caddy works perfectly for a traveling teacher! I just put all my supplies inside on Monday, and carry it back and forth from classroom to classroom each day!
My job sort of looks like co-teaching if you were to observe the layout of the room and lesson plans. I spend the morning with one teacher and the afternoon with one of my teacher besties! It has been a HUGE blessing to be able to work with her this week. I can't wait to see how the rest of the year goes!
This is our reading block this week, complete with cutesy Melonheadz clipart!
This week we are teaching a topic that is very tough for third graders - theme. We dove right into mini lessons and small groups on Monday. No time to waste! I had many inquiries about the activities so I figured I would give you the inside scoop!
Timed Theme Sort Warm-up Activity
When the kids came to small group,  we began a "Timed Theme Sort". {Disclaimer - This is nothing fancy!} I found the handout shown above on Pinterest. You can grab it here. I made enough copies for my small group, cut up the pieces, and put a set in each envelope. This was a warm-up activity to get students familiar with common themes, and to show me which words we needed to focus our attention on. I gave them about 5 minutes to match their words and sentences. A full version of the handout was kept at the table for early finishers to check their answers.
After we sorted, we got straight into the text. I made these quick flip flaps to go along with our text. You can grab 8 of the flip flaps free here! Have your students glue only the part under the word "Theme". This allows them to flip the flap up like any other interactive notebook. After reading the short fable together, students analyzed different aspects of the story. 
To make the activity more challenging, I had some groups do more writing than others. This group copied the moral of the story under the flap (The moral is listed in bold print at the bottom of each fable in this book). I then told them to write the moral in their own words on the white flap. This helped some students to have a better understanding of the story as a whole. Finally, I urged them to think of one word to describe the message of the entire story! And TA-DA! They find the theme. 

I was enthralled by how engaged all students were while we read these fables. They absolutely adore this book. It is so kid friendly, and is written in a language that they relate to. Some of my groups were almost silent because the students kept reading ahead while we were waiting on other students to write! {Music to my ears!}

That's it for now! I hope you enjoyed getting an insider's view on this simple, fun, yet effective activity to engage students while teaching theme!

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1 comment:

  1. I have been working on theme with my 3rd graders this week too! Now I have even more ideas of how to help them figure it out!! The timing of this post was perfect - thank you!
    Fun and Learning at BBA