When my students do a Hexagonal Learning activity, one of the groups of hexagons I usually use includes the themes of the story we are discussing. However, I have always struggled with how to help students identify the themes. It is difficult for them to discern the difference between theme and main idea. Yesterday, I found this great free video from BrainPop (no subscription needed to watch this one) that explains “Theme” using Star Wars. My 4th graders really enjoyed it. When we finished watching it, they were immediately ready to call out the many themes they observe in Tuck Everlasting. It was surprisingly easy, resulting in my lesson time being half what I had planned. Later, I found this great free printable from Minds in Bloom to help reinforce what they have learned about themes for next week’s class. Next topic to tackle: symbolism!
By the way, a great resource for themes, though the book selection is limited, is LitCharts‘ Theme Tracker tool.