Writing about Theme with iWrite

Continuing with our exploration of the Common Core, this week I've discovered a useful website for the second standard under "Key Ideas and Details." Standard 2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text. This standard is a broad one but also a very important one as it focuses on analysis which is among those higher order thinking skills so important to students becoming independent learners. It is unlikely you could (or should) cover this standard with one lesson. Students need multiple opportunities to learn about and meet this standard. iwrite from Great Source (Haughton, Mifflin, Harcourt) offers a lot of useful material online for both teachers and students exploring not only central ideas with writing but also many other topics and types of writing. Of particular use for this standard, is a section dedicated to writing an essay analyzing the theme in a work of literature. This section takes students through the step-by-step process of developing an idea related to theme and writing an essay about it. The site also offers printable graphic organizers like the "theme chart" which students can download and print. As the title of the suggests, much of the focus is on supporting the development of writing skills. The website is organized into three main sections—for teachers, parents, and students. All three areas have an impressive depth of useful content like the Glossary of Literary Terms and the Grammar Handbook. iwrite also offers help for parents supporting their students. One of the coolest features on this site is the Power Point lessons you can download. You'll find them under "Mini Lessons" in the Educator's section.