Education Technology

NCTE: Assessing Theme

Published on 07/19/2006

Activity Overview

Students will develop original themes for potential use in original stories. This work can be done as a unique exercise or be worked as part of an ongoing unit toward creating original short stories. They will exchange and assess one another?s work.

Before the Activity

See the attached Activity PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity.

Print the appropriate pages from the Activity for your class.

Install the LearningCheck(tm) App on the students' graphing calculators following the attached instructions.

Review the terms theme, conflict, dialogue, characterization, repetition, and symbol. Review how the theme is developed through details elaborated in the elements of a story. Refer to Activities 1 and 2, as needed. Have the students open the LearningCheck(tm) file THEME.edc, and open the section Theme3.

During the Activity

  • Distribute the appropriate pages from the Activity to your class
  • Distribute the LearningCheck(tm) file(s) to your class using TI Connect(tm) and the appropriate TI Connectivity cable
  • Follow the procedures outlined in the Activity


  • Students will: Comprehend theme in literary works and works of popular culture.
  • Analyze a short story to identify the theme.
  • Develop their own thematic ideas and themes for a story.
  • Identify and evaluate the literary element of theme in professional models and peer writing.
  • After the Activity

    When the assessments are completed, the students should review the critique of their work. Allow students to discuss these with their reviewers for clarification. After this debriefing, reconvene the class. Ask for volunteers to read their own theme outlines.

  • If the class is just starting to investigate narrative elements, the teacher can use some of the examples to begin a discussion about plot or characterization (or whatever element will be next explored.) This will help the students to see that their ideas can be carried forward into future work.
  • If the class is ready to start writing their own original narratives, then discuss how their previous work on other elements can be used with their themes to create their short stories.