Author:
AMANDA MANCILLA-KIMBROUGH
Subject:
English as a Second Language, English Language Arts
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Level:
Middle School, High School
Tags:
ELA8.2, ELL, ESL, Theme
License:
Creative Commons Attribution
Language:
English
Media Formats:
Text/HTML

Education Standards

Teaching Theme: Fish Cheeks

Teaching Theme: Fish Cheeks

Overview

Attched and or embedded is a teacher's lesson plan for teaching Theme using a short story called Fish Cheeks. This short story needs visuals added to better support ELLs in the main classroom. 

Link

Teaching Theme:Fish Cheeks RL 8.2- With resources attached

 

New WIDA ELD Standards 2020               

 

My Unit Topic

Theme

Content Areas

English I - Beginner Level (7th/ 8th  grade)

NC.ELA.RL.8.2 & RL.7.2 Determine a theme of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text. 

Materials

  • Graphic organizer

  • PPT Theme

  • Video clip

  • Sentence starters/Language frames

  • Pre-reading questions and pictures

  • Short story “Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan (Located at the end of the document) 

Bulleted Summary of my Unit and the Learning Activities

  • Provide students with modified “Theme Notes”. Theme: the underlying meaning and/or message of a story; NOT directly stated in the text. THEME IS NOT THE SAME THING AS THE MAIN IDEA

A picture containing text, newspaper, sign

Description automatically generated

  • Iceberg analogy: Iceberg Model of Meaning

  • Identifying theme video

  • Theme vs Topic: The theme and the topic of a story are 2 separate things…THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. The topic of a story might be one word (ex. Love) but the theme may relate to love but it will be more in depth and is usually at least a sentence long. 

  • Read together “Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan

  • Discussion of the this short story

  • Students will work with a partner.

  • Students will complete the Theme Worksheet

  • Plot and Theme Anchor Chart/graphic organizer

Key Language Use (Most Prominent) 

  • Narrate

  • Expalin

Most Prominent Language Expectation(s)

ELD-LA.9-12.Narrate.Interpretive

Interpret language arts narratives by

● Identifying themes or central ideas that

develop over the course of a text

● Analyzing how author choices about

character attributes and actions relate to

story elements (setting, event sequences, and

context)

● Evaluating the impact of specific word

choices on meaning, tone, and explicit vs.

implicit points of view

Language Features

  • Present Simple Tense

  • Plural form of nouns

  • Collective nouns

Linguistic Supports

  • Language frames: The theme of this story is_____.

  • The author creates the theme by________.

  • The characters create the theme by_________.

  • Pre-taught vocabulary of the Fish Cheeks

Reflection

The lesson went well thanks to visual support and student-teacher interaction. Students practiced how to identify the theme of the short story and enjoyed discussing the theme of the Fish Cheeks. They were able to make a connection to their own cultural aspects of life and cultural adjustment in the US.


 

Resource: Short Story Fish Cheeks

“Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan

I fell in love with the minister’s son the winter I turned fourteen.  He was not Chinese, but as white as Mary in the manger.  For Christmas I prayed for this blond-haired boy, Robert, and a slim new American nose.

When I found out that my parents had invited the minister’s family over for Christmas Eve dinner, I cried.  What would Robert think of our shabby Chinese Christmas?  What would he think of our noisy Chinese relatives who lacked proper American manners?  What terrible disappoint-ment would he feel upon seeing not a roasted turkey and sweet potatoes but Chinese food?

On Christmas Eve I saw that my mother had outdone herself in creating a strange menu.  She was pulling black veins out of the backs of fleshy prawns.  The kitchen was littered with appalling mounds of raw food:  A slimy rock cod with bulging eyes that pleaded not to be thrown into a pan of hot oil.  Tofu, which looked like stacked wedges of rubbery white sponges.  A bowl soaking dried fungus back to life.  A plate of squid, their backs crisscrossed with knife markings so they resembled bicycle tires.

And then they arrived – the minister’s family and all my relatives in a clamor of doorbells and rumpled Christmas packages.  Robert grunted hello, and I pretended he was not worthy of existence.

Dinner threw me deeper into despair.  My relatives licked the ends of their chopsticks and reached across the table, dipping them into the dozen or so plates of food.  Robert and his family waited patiently for platters to be passed to them.  My relatives murmured with pleasure when my mother brought out the whole steamed fish.  Robert grimaced.  Then my father poked his chopsticks just below the fish eye and plucked out the soft meat.  “Amy, your favorite,” he said, offering me the tender fish cheek.  I wanted to disappear.

At the end of the meal my father leaned back and belched loudly, thanking my mother for her fine cooking.  “It’s a polite Chinese custom to show you are satisfied,” explained my father to our astonished guests.  Robert was looking down at his plate with a reddened face.  The minister managed to muster up a quiet burp.  I was stunned into silence for the rest of the night.

After everyone had gone, my mother said to me, “You want to be the same as American girls on the outside.”  She handed me an early gift.  It was a miniskirt in beige tweed.  “But inside you must always be Chinese.  You must be proud you are different.  Your only shame is to have shame.”

And even though I didn’t agree with her then, I knew that she understood how much I had suffered during the evening’s dinner.  It wasn’t until many years later – long after I had gotten over my crush on Robert – that I was able to fully appreciate her lesson and the true purpose behind our particular menu.  For Christmas Eve that year, she had chosen all my favorite foods.

Teaching Theme: Fish Cheeks CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.2

 


New WIDA ELD Standards 2020               

 

My Unit TopicTheme
Content AreasEnglish I - Beginner Level (8th/ 9th  grade)
Materials
Bulleted Summary of my Unit and the Learning Activities
  • Provide students with modified “Theme Notes”. Theme: the underlying meaning and/or message of a story; NOT directly stated in the text. THEME IS NOT THE SAME THING AS THE MAIN IDEA
A picture containing text, newspaper, sign

Description automatically generated
  • Iceberg analogy: Iceberg Model of Meaning
  • Identifying theme video
  • Theme vs Topic: The theme and the topic of a story are 2 separate things…THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. The topic of a story might be one word (ex. Love) but the theme may relate to love but it will be more in depth and is usually at least a sentence long. 
  • Read together “Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan
  • Discussion of the this short story
  • Students will work with a partner.
  • Students will complete the Theme Worksheet
  • Plot and Theme Anchor Chart/graphic organizer
Key Language Use (Most Prominent) 
  • Narrate
  • Expalin
Most Prominent Language Expectation(s) ELD-LA.9-12.Narrate.InterpretiveInterpret language arts narratives by● Identifying themes or central ideas thatdevelop over the course of a text● Analyzing how author choices aboutcharacter attributes and actions relate tostory elements (setting, event sequences, andcontext)● Evaluating the impact of specific wordchoices on meaning, tone, and explicit vs.implicit points of view
Language Features
  • Present Simple Tense
  • Plural form of nouns
  • Collective nouns
Linguistic Supports
  • Language frames: The theme of this story is_____.
  • The author creates the theme by________.
  • The characters create the theme by_________.
  • Pre-taught vocabulary of the Fish Cheeks
ReflectionThe lesson went well thanks to visual support and student-teacher interaction. Students practiced how to identify the theme of the short story and enjoyed discussing the theme of the Fish Cheeks. They were able to make a connection to their own cultural aspects of life and cultural adjustment in the US.