The students will demonstrate their knowledge of theme by identifying a theme for film presented in class.



Materials Needed

• Audio visual equipment capable of playing a DVD and movies from the internet
• Old comic commercials—for ex. Superbowl commericals (
• 30 minute television or film clip (ex. House, ER, The West Wing, etc.)
• Theme—Lecture Notes   Lecture Notes.Theme.Lesson Two



Lesson Directions

Anticipatory Set/Hook
Play a series of popular commercials (ex. Old Superbowl commercials ). After each commercial discuss the message or the “point” of the commercial. What ideas are expressed by the commercial? Watch four or five commercials and begin introducing the concept of theme.




STEP 1: Instruction: Define and discuss theme. See attached lecture notes. Questions to consider: What were the themes of the commercials we watched? What are common themes found in literature? Discuss themes of popular movies? Give tools to identifying theme: what’s the moral of the piece? Consider the action of the characters or main plot points, what happened and what were the consequences? How do these pieces relate to society at large? What aspects of the piece support the theme? (These students are beginning students, so if their themes are basic, simple, and even trite (like love conquers all, good is triumphant over evil, etc.) these are a start. Identifying and supporting the theme takes practice. )


STEP 2: Activity: Play an extended clip of a serious film, documentary, or television episode. Choose a piece that is contemporary and dramatic, for example, an episode of House about euthanasia or an episode of The West Wing about chemical warfare. Encourage the students to take notes and begin picking out themes.


STEP 3: Discussion: As the clip completes, divide the class into small discussion groups. Pose specific discussion questions and write them on the board: what was this episode saying about euthanasia, or chemical warfare, etc.? How can you state that in a theme? What other themes did you find?


STEP 4: Assignment/Assessment: After the group discussions, students will write a theme that they or their group thought of. Each student will be required to turn in his or her own statement of theme.


STEP 5: Closure: With the time remaining, ask for volunteers to state their theme. Students might be hesitant for fear of being wrong, but encourage a feel that there are no “wrong” answers (though, there are certainly better ones). Question each volunteer briefly and allow them to defend their theme with evidence from the piece.




Theme Statements