What It’s About: Plot and Theme


ELAR-Grade-8 Literary Genres What It’s About: Plot and Theme
Students discuss how they can find theme in a story. Then, they read “The Necklace,” by Guy de Maupassant, and examine its multiple themes. Next, they compare themes in “The Necklace” and in Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem “Sorrow.” 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.

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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 “The Necklace,” by Guy de Maupassant, and examine its multiple themes. Next, they compare themes in “The Necklace” and in Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem “Sorrow.” 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 theme of a story and a poem.

Duration

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

Vocabulary Words Used In “The Necklace”

  • intimate: close, personal
  • ecstasy: intense joy
  • anguish: great sadness or distress
  • endeavored: worked to achieve something
  • calamity: disaster

Vocabulary Words Used in “Sorrow”

  • ceaseless: without end
  • wane: become weaker


“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 detective who commits a crime in the course of arresting someone.” 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 right and wrong are not always obvious.” That’s an answer about the story’s theme.

In this experience, you will learn about both meanings.

Objectives

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

In this experience, you’re going to read a story called “The Necklace.” Look at an illustration from the story below.


woman in evening gown looking out window while man in chair puts on shoes

What’s the story about? Unless you have already read the story, it will be difficult for you to make an accurate prediction! But predicting what the story is about can spark your interest even before you read. Try it.


Use the illustration and the title to help you make your prediction what the story is about. 

Post your answer

Briefly discuss students’ predictions as a lead-in to reading the story. Tell students that as they read, they will find out whether their predictions are correct and they will be able to say more accurately what the story is about.


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The Complete List of Learning Experiences in Literary Genres Unit.
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