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Freckle Juice activites and ideas- great idea for teaching theme using Freckle Juice. TheAppliciousTeacher.com

Understanding Theme: Freckle Juice Activities and Ideas

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Are you ready to introduce your third graders to the classic Freckle Juice but aren’t sure where to start? Today, I’m sharing Freckle Juice activities we did in our third grade classroom!

This week, we’ve been reading “Freckle Juice” by Judy Blume.

Freckle Juice activites and ideas- great idea for teaching theme using Freckle Juice. TheAppliciousTeacher.com

To help make the text more meaningful, I used it as a close reading opportunity to teach the ever-tricky idea of theme.

Close Reading with Freckle Juice

Now, I know in close reads, you’re supposed to read the text a bazzillion times… but I knew my kiddos couldn’t handle that structure of reading for this long of a text, so instead, after reading a chapter as a class, we re-read shorter bits and pieces to comb for deeper meaning. This worked so much better for my class of busy bees!

I followed the structure and routines suggested in, “Close Reading in Elementary School” and outlined beautifully by Lindsey from,  “Lyndeseykuster.com”.

Close reading steps for theme

Seriously, head over and grab this FREEBIE!

After each chapter, we’d complete a step.

Once we finished the first chapter, we looked at the characters and identified the problem and a possible solution.

Book chat sheet, story structure

I love this book talk sheet from Lyndsey’s post!

We also wrote a short summary and made predictions in our Reading Response Journals.

freckle juice writing response

another one…

freckle juice writing response

Love their responses!

By Weds, we were ready to discuss the idea of theme in a text and I introduced my new interactive anchor chart.

theme anchor chart

Understanding Theme with Freckle Juice

When we finished the book on Thursday, we were ready to ID the moral of the story and use text to support our answers.

I’d loved to say my kiddos just “got it” and we had a fabulous theme lesson, but honestly, I had been building the story’s moral for them all week.

Throughout our read, we discussed the reasoning behind Andrew wanting freckles and whether they would truly solve ALL his problems. This groundwork made for a powerful discussion on the author’s use of theme, and as we filled out our anchor chart, it was a #proudteachermoment for sure!

So, to use the chart, we first identified the lesson Andrew learned in the book. I loved the wording of their lesson, so I used it, just as it was said to me! 😉

interactive anchor chart for theme, siting evidence

Once we had the moral figured out, we began finding evidence to support our answer. I gave each student one sticky note (didn’t want to overwhelm them on our first time around) and asked them to find a quote from the book that supported our moral of the story.

This is definitely one of the trickiest things to do as an 8-year-old. You have so much text to look through it can be overwhelming! To help minimize the stress, I discussed how to search the text using chapters and pictures as guides. Then, zero in on the characters and what they’re saying and thinking.

This leads to answers like this…

siting evidence

BOOM! Talk about evidence! Folks, to say I was proud is an understatement. My heart swelled with joy! Not only did we understand the theme, we could also support it!

What a great introductory lesson to theme!

Now this lesson did have a teacher tear…and I have to share this moment with you! As fellow educators, I know this will touch your heart the same way it did for me!

A Special Moment in Our Classroom

One of my students is on the autism spectrum and struggles with wanting to complete work. Upon receiving their sticky note for this lesson, they crumpled it up and tossed it on the floor (along with other distracting behaviors- like taking off our shoes). I’m a huge believer in students finding their own way to learning… so I ignored the behavior for the moment and kept the lesson momentum going.

As students put their sticky note evidence on the chart, they sat on the carpet. Once everyone had theirs up (except our little friend), we reviewed everyone’s evidence.  We discussed each sticky note and grouped them together if we could. I gave high-fives when they did an exceptionally good job citing evidence (which was SERIOUSLY everyone!) . This piqued our friend’s interest, and they asked for a new (non-crinkled) sticky note to jot down their evidence.  #teacherwin.

But what happened after made me cry…

Once they brought it up and placed it on the chart, we read it and discussed it. Their answer was right on point so I gave him a high five. Then the class cheered, clapped, and gave them high-fives!

People: MY CLASS cheered and clapped for this student! I literally choked up, and a big ‘ol tear rolled down my face! We’ve worked so hard to be encouraging and kind to one another, and at the fourth week of school, I seriously doubted that these kiddos had it in ’em. But they do! It was truly one of the best lessons in my teaching career.  Not because of the content but because we were able to be kind and encouraging members to everyone in our classroom community.

And that people… was my practically PERFECT day of teaching!

Freckle Juice Theme Craft

To continue our work on the theme, we used our interactive anchor chart as a reference and, on Friday, completed this fun little writing craft. I love this Freckle Juice activity idea!

freckle juice writing craft

You can grab this free download in the Applicious Resource Library! Just sign up below!

Students used the details we discussed the previous day to write a paragraph explaining the lesson learned or theme of “Freckle Juice”.

Make some Freckle Juice

We ended our “Freckle” journey by sampling some homemade freckle juice!

freckle juice

Made from my secret recipe, of course!

Make some Freckle Juice for your students by mixing lemon line and orange soda with grape juice! I mixed it in a pitcher while the kids were at specials, then labeled it with a quick “Freckle Juice” sign! The kids thought it was hilarious. This is one of my must-do Freckle Juice activities idea!

Overall, we had a blast this week! It was a mountainous journey, but this week has given me hope that the rest of the year can go well! (Fingers, eyes, legs, and toes crossed!)

Freckle Juice Activities

So here is a week full of Freckle Juice activities and ideas! Do you read this classic book with your students? Honestly, I know it’s an oldie, but so many of my students connected with the main character and his desire to change something about himself. The final lesson learned is we are ok just how we are. Isn’t that the lesson that will stand the test of time? Comment below and tell me how you use this activity in your classroom!

Freckle Juice Themed Writing Craft

freckle juice theme craft free download

Like the Freckle Juice theme craft? Grab it and tons of other amazing ideas in the Applicious Resource Library!

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Hi, I'm Leigh.

The Applicious Teacher is all about creating hands-on and engaging lessons that align with the standards while still having time for your life. This is your place for ideas, tips, and resources for the REAL teacher!


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