Themes All Around Us


Today we started class by finding common books to study theme closely over the course of the unit. Here are the groups:

Ender’s Game: Advik, Hannah, Manya

Divergent: Joao, William, Kartik

Rise of 9: Peter, Thomas

Hunger Games: Vin, Hyun Min, Junho, Ashish

The Maze Runner: Aryaan, Hansin, Vivaan,

Stargirl: Ella, Neha

We Were Liars: SeoYoung, Karina

The Hobbit: Nicholas, Karan

Looking For Alaska: Imaya, Georgia, Thomas

DaVinci Code: Shawn, YoungSeo

Divergent: Leyna, Betsy, Grace


—Theme Mini-Lesson—

Themes are all around us. We looked at a couple of songs to help explore that idea. Themes are what the text is really about. They are what the author is trying to teach us about life. We looked at Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery to practice collecting ideas about theme. We used a guide to help us collect:

1. Name a central problem or issue the characters face in the story.

2. Reflect on the parts of the story that pertain to the problem.

3. Think: “What is this story teaching me about this problem?”

4. Write long about your thinking to grow ideas, perhaps by asking how different characters relate to that issue.

1. A problem in the story is that there is a tradition that the town has to stone one person each year.

2. We discussed that all the town members participated in the lottery and the stoning. Mrs. Hutchinson seems innocent but is still killed. No one tries to stop the stoning.

3. The extreme and abhorrent practice of stoning one person makes it clear that Jackson thinks this practice is wrong. Because of this, she is showing that traditions need to be questioned and understood instead of blindly following them.

4. Write…

Homework – Write a page and a half in your writers notebook on a theme in your book (the one you chose) following the steps outlined in the lesson.


—Feed Read Aloud—

We read to page 28 in Feed.




Tuesday Feb. 3

We are continuing our work today with reading information texts. Yesterday we looked at three different informational text structures:

Problem/Solution: The author will introduce a problem and tell us how the problem could be fixed. There may be one solution to fix the problem or several different solutions mentioned.

Cause/Effect: The author describes something that has happened which has had an effect on or caused something else to happen. It could be a good effect or a bad effect. There may be more than one cause and there may also be more than one effect. (Many times, problem/solution and cause and effect seem like “cousins” because they can be together.

Compare/Contrast: The author’s purpose is to tell you how two things are the same and how they are different by comparing them.

You read the article 7 Billion and Counting yesterday and identified the main idea, structure of the text, and supporting ideas. Today, we will look at the structure of each paragraph and how that contributes to the overall central idea of the article.

Now try with this article on HIV-invected people in India.


Writing/Grammar Work

One way to make our writing stronger is with sentence fluency. Because of the complexity of the informational texts we are writing, combining sentences can help with clarity and conciseness. Let’s look at using subordinating conjunctions to help us do just that.

Now go back to your Africa mini-research paper. Did you use this structure? Find two to three places where you could use this to combine sentences and write them in your readers notebook.


For homework, you need to prepare for the final Africa book club tomorrow. Use the Africa Book Club doc.