Have tone and mood been stumbling blocks for your middle grade students? One of the most frequent questions I get from teachers is about how to teach tone. Now, I no longer have to reply, "I'll be darned if I know!" ;) Here's an awesome trick to teach kids what tone means and how to include it in writing!
Teaching Theme - Link to blog post with several ideas for interactive reading notebooks. First tree defines theme; second tree used to determine theme. Write the topics covered in the tree trunk (Home, Family, etc.), write a theme statement in the branches, and write text evidence of the theme in the tree's leaves. Practice finding the theme by watching Youtube videos of "theme songs" from old sitcoms and determining the "theme" of the show from the theme song!