Using Details to Determine Theme


Getting Started Details:

  1. Go to and sign in using Google.
  2. One person in your group should create a new mind map.
  3. Click on Share at the bottom of the screen.  Then type in email addresses for the rest of the people in your group and invite them to edit.

The Activity:

Your goal is to determine the theme of the story using the important details the author has given you.  Remember that a theme is NOT a bumper sticker, a "moral to the story," or something that could apply to other stories.  It is the argument that author is making about humanity--something that is a universal statement (so it applies to anyone).  To determine theme, use this mind-mapping tool to:

  • Generate a list of the author's important details
  • Sort them into categories that are helpful to consider as a group
  • Connect the details that go together or have interesting relationships
  • Elaborate on how the pieces fit together.

You may build your mind map in any way that makes sense to your group.  If you need an idea to get started, here is one way you might begin.

Image of sample mind map