Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Using Interactive Common Core Reading Journals to Teach Theme

The students that I work with at each of the grade levels just completed mini lessons on theme.  This is the interactive notebook page that each of them created and use as a reference.  Common Core Standard RL.2 refers to it as theme.  For informational text, it is usually called the central idea (RI.2).  In both cases, Common Core wants readers to understand the deeper meaning of the text.

After we complete the lesson each day, the younger students review using theme flashcards (yes, common theme flashcards). Then, they use theme task cards in their literacy center station.  The middle school students faithfully use the theme exit slips each day as a review.
Click Here For Information About Theme Task Cards
Click Here For Information About Theme Exit Slips

Students often get theme and main idea confused.  The Venn diagram has really been helpful with getting them to understand the difference.

Yellow watercolor paint was painted along the edge of the paper.  Common Core tabs have been added to the student journals to make it easier for us to locate information.

This is a new foldable.  This helps with Common Core Standards RL.3 and RI.3.  Across the grade levels, Common Core wants students to understand, describe, and/or analyze the connections between ideas or events.  The arrows were drawn to help students remember this while they read.  This will be used with my students within the next few days.


  1. Love it! And, I'm excited to be your newest follower!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  2. New Subbie here! Let me first start off by saying I am in LOVE with your site!! So informative!!! A few questions, I teach 3rd Grade, do you have any other products that cover the Common Core standards other than the Reading for Information (RI)standard? And how do you qualify for the "visiting points" and what can I use those points towards (your TPT products)? Lastly, I'm finding that my students are losing stamina when we have Interim assessments. When they get to the last story (normally our interims have 3 stories), they stop doing their strategies. I'm giving them breaks, snacks in between (pretzels), stretching, and even little notes of encouragement. It's basically boils down to "laziness". Do you have any strategies or suggesstions that may help? I even give parties to those that pass the test.

  3. Hi Denise!

    Thank you so much! I truly understand what it is like. This is the time of the year when kids really get fatigued. My strategy is to make everything into a game! (Really I am a big kid too!) We play the game 'The Kids Against The Teacher' where students answer a question, and I get the point if the student that is selected to answer the question is wrong. They get the point if they are correct. I use my teacher-created games too and also use many toys. Time each day has been zipping by, so I have not posted as much as I have wanted to lately. I am planning to do several blog posts, some will feature the different games that I play with the students using everyday household materials.

    There are several new games on TpT that were recently posted. They are for Common Core Literature. One game is listed below.


    Take Care!

  4. Love this idea of an interactive reading journal using the CC tabs...great way to keep us focused how to dig deeper with comprehension! I am your newest follower!

    Table Talk with C & C

  5. Thank you very much! It has been so helpful and students really enjoy taking notes.

  6. You have provided so many wonderful resources! I will be incorporating them into my lessons for the upcoming year. I am learning so much about the new common core standards. I really enjoy the organization of interactive notebooks. Are you willing to post the common core tabs in your store?

  7. Thanks so much. I am so backlogged because the end of the school year got so busy, but I have several posts and pictures still on my camera to share about Common Core freebies. I will be posting tabs and will provide interactive journal information soon.

    Thanks again!

    1. I can definitely relate to the end of the year craziness! Thanks so much for responding :)

  8. These journals look so fun and creative. Very engaging.

    The Math Maniac

  9. Where can I find the foldables, such as the main event one?