What It’s About: Plot and Theme


ELAR-Grade-7 Literary Genres What It’s About: Plot and Theme
Students discuss how they can find theme in a story. Then, they read O. Henry’s story “The Last Leaf” and examine its multiple themes. Next, they compare theme in “The Last Leaf” and in Charlotte Brontë’s poem “Life.” Finally, they choose a work that they know and discuss its themes.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

1:1 Devices
Teacher Pack

The Pack contains associated resources for the learning experience, typically in the form of articles and videos. There is a teacher Pack (with only teacher information) and a student Pack (which contains only student information). As a teacher, you can toggle between both to see everything.

Here are the teacher pack items for What It’s About: Plot and Theme:

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Overview

In this experience, students discuss how they can find theme in a story. Then, they read O. Henry’s story “The Last Leaf” and examine its multiple themes. Next, they compare theme in “The Last Leaf” and in Charlotte Brontë’s poem “Life.” Finally, they choose a work that they know and discuss its themes.

Objectives

  • Identify the theme of a story.
  • Distinguish between theme and plot.
  • Compare the themes of a story and a poem.

Duration

One class period. You may assign students the story “The Last Leaf” (provided in the Student Pack) to read at home before beginning the experience.

Vocabulary Words Used In “The Last Leaf”

  • quaint: unusual or old-fashioned
  • pneumonia: an infection involving the lungs
  • wielded: hold and use, usually a weapon or tool
  • contempt: the feeling that someone or someone is worthless
  • persistent: to continue in the face of difficulty
  • endure: to suffer through something with patience
  • acute: an immediate or intense situation

Vocabulary Words Used in “Life”

  • lament: expressions of grief or sorrow
  • elastic: flexible
  • despair: great sadness


“What’s the story about?” That’s the question most readers want the answer to before they choose a story. It can be answered in two very different ways:

  1. “What’s the story about?” can mean, “What’s the main action?” For example, “It’s about a woman who ensures that her family survives a tornado.” That’s an answer about the story’s plot.
  2. “What’s the story about?” can also mean, “What is the author saying in this story?” For example, “The author is showing that people can find beauty and grace in disaster.” That’s an answer about the story’s theme.

In this experience, you’ll learn about both meanings.

Objectives

  • Identify the theme of a story.
  • Distinguish between theme and plot.
  • Compare the themes of a story and a poem.


African American student sitting on floor in library, reading

In this experience, you’re going to read a story called “The Last Leaf.” You are also going to explore how different texts have similar themes. Remember, the theme is the message that the author is trying to convey.

Let’s try one example.


Guess which of the following popular movies has the theme: “The courage to be independent can lead to great adventures.”

A) Cinderella
B) Toy Story
C) Finding Nemo
D) Frozen

Explain your answer to the poll question.

Post your answer

Ask for student volunteers to share their answers. Point out that many stories are related thematically.


When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

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The Complete List of Learning Experiences in Literary Genres Unit.
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