Teaching Theme. Again.

So, back when I had about 6 followers, I wrote about theme.  And how much fun it is to teach.  Not.  Anyway, I'm getting the hang of it (finally) in my 14th year of teaching.  In that post, I wrote about my theme epiphany: Have kids think like the teacher.  If you were the teacher, what life lesson or idea would you use this book to teach other kids about.

I also wrote about how much I love the website Values.com.  It's basically real life theme.  If you've never see the billboards, here are a few:

There's a person.  Enough to give you their story.  Then a one or two word THEME.  Brilliant.  If you visit the website, you can get a longer background story for each billboard.

On Monday and Tuesday, we used the Mimio lesson I made using some of the billboards and stories.  We went through the different stories, and the kids tried to guess the theme for that person.

I also read a book each day with a strong theme to it.  We did a lot of turn and talks with this.  Calling on just one student isn't going to help the whole class.  Theme is hard.  They need a lot of chances to talk it out.

On Wednesday, I read another book, and then each kiddo sketched out their own billboard for a fictional character of their choice.  Some kids needed more help, but that was good because it gave me a chance to talk out theme with them one on one.

On Thursday, they made their billboards.  I love how they turned out.  Take a peek:

Percy Jackson

Stephanie from Stephanie's Ponytail


Wodney Wat

It's been a great week.  Today the kiddos are going to spend some quality time with our laptops and the Values.com website reading some of the stories from other billboards.  And I will clean my classroom.  It's a win win.


  1. Oh I like the second and third columns! I love glitter fun haha :)
    Third Grade Tidbits

  2. I think the 3rd column is the most glittery. Happy Thanksgiving! Love the theme idea. I need to do this lesson. Mine just blew theme big time on the last benchmark test.

  3. I really like this idea...what a great way to get kids thinking about themes and also making connections. Thanks for sharing. I like the green glitter best!

  4. Last column = best glitter! i'm heading off to check out Values.com. Hitting theme hard after Thanksgiving.

  5. Love your ideas! Thanks for sharing.