Some people collect rocks, others collect stamps. In 5th grade, we collect themes.  Beginning on the first day of school, we started this collection.  Each morning we read a picture book and discuss what we can learn from it, identify the theme, and notice the author and illustrator's style.  We keep track of each theme on our chalkboard wall.  Each time a theme comes up again in a new story we add a tally mark next to that theme.  This activity has been so popular that our board is bursting at the seams.  The students have even started recognizing themes in other classes and activities!  Identifying these adds depth to our class discussions  and provides opportunities for making thoughtful personal connections, for thinking critically about the author's purpose, and for teaching us valuable life lessons.   🧁