Lesson Plan Block 8


Block 8 (One lesson plan)
Learning Targets: Students will be able to:

·      Respond to a long literary text, citing evidence from the novel that supports conclusions drawn from details.

·      Analyze a long literary text and for both denotative and connotative meanings.   Analyze the impact of the author’s textual choices in creating an overall effect.

·      Consider social issues raised by people’s perceptions of disability.

·      Generate compelling, well-supported interpretations of the overall meaning of a novel.

Common Core Standards Alignment: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.1

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.


Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)


Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.


Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).




Writing prompt.

·      Before class, post the statements/questions/quotes from today’s fishbowl discussion (described below) around the room.

·      Invite students to move around, find a statement, question, or quote that they find particularly compelling, and write about it for today’s prompt.   This will get students prepared for the discussion and will ensure that everyone has at least one thing to say.

Scaffolded learning activities: NOVEL DISCUSSION

·      Fishbowl discussion. This student-centered discussion of the novel will take up all of the class time today.

·      SET UP: Move the chairs or desks into a big circle. If you have tables, move them against the wall. Put three or four chairs into the center of the room facing each other in a small circle. This is the “fishbowl.”

·      RULES: 1) You can only speak if you are in the fishbowl (this applies to the teacher also).   2) Everyone has to get into the fishbowl once during class. 3) To get into the fishbowl, tap someone on the shoulder who is not in the middle of speaking. That person gets out of the fishbowl, and you take his/her spot. 4) The topic of discussion is whatever statement/question/quote is on the floor in the middle of the fishbowl. 5) Feel free to bring your response to the writing prompt with you to the fishbowl so that you can read your response, if you’d like, when your prompt appears.

·      NOTES: Teacher, this discussion will go awkwardly at first if you’ve never done it before, but students will quickly warm up to it. Initially, the fishbowl speakers will keep looking at you for validation of their input, so try to position yourself where you can’t make eye contact with most of them. Eventually, they will start looking more and more to each other and conversing with each other. When you sense the discussion starting to lag, go to the middle of the fishbowl and change out the topic. I recommend not joining the fishbowl discussion unless something offensive is said or someone is hijacking the discussion. I also recommend not answering their questions about the meaning of the statements/questions/quotes. Let them wrestle with it, give it their own interpretations, and find their own paths through it. If you have a few students who are perhaps over-enthusiastic participants, consider making a rule that, upon exiting the fishbowl, you have to wait three minutes before going back in.

·      STATEMENTS/QUESTIONS/QUOTES Here are some samples to get you started, if your novel is Me. I like having a nice mixture of prompts that invite personal responses and prompts that require more complex skills of literary interpretation. I recommend having 10 discussion prompts.   That is too many for discussion, but that way you’ll be sure not to run out.

1.    Who is the greatest “hero” or worst “villain” in the book? Why?

2.    How do you think the book will end? (IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE ENDING YET-NO SPOILERS!)

3.    What does Aunt Isabelle mean when she says “you…who didn’t let anyone separate you from Nature…you’re my hope for the human race”? How might this connect to the main theme of the book?

4.    How do personal stories like Karen’s reveal and at the same time conceal an identity?

5.    How is the theme of language developed over the course of the book? How does Karen use language differently from those around her?

6.    What does Karen value? How does Karen value things differently from those around her?

7.    Compare and contrast how Karen’s aunt dies with how Karen’s mom dies.

8.    What assumptions do characters make about Karen in the book that are not true?   What are the consequences of their assumptions?

9.    What are some beautiful/desirable things about Karen’s personality?

10. What might the tuna symbolize?

Independent application: Read Me, chapters 19-21
Materials: Journals for students. Prepared printouts of statements, quotes, or questions from the novel. These should be in pretty large print so that students can see them easily.
Accessibility: ·      Students with impaired mobility will experience difficulty with the fishbowl discussion activity. There are a variety of ways you can provide access for these students. One way is to allow them to remain in place, but call “(name of student in the fishbowl) out!” when they are ready to participate (a means of verbally “tapping” someone on the shoulder to indicate that they would like to take that person’s place in the fishbowl discussion).   That way, they can stay seated while participating. Another student can physically shoulder-tap the mobility-impaired student (so that they are “out” of the discussion) on their to the fishbowl.

·      The fishbowl discussion may present difficulty to students with anxiety, since they are literally the center of everyone’s attention. Allowing students to read from their writing prompt responses may alleviate this anxiety, but you can also consider alternate means of participating, such as filling out an index card and giving it to someone else to read for you in the fishbowl. In order to not single students out who are doing this, you can make it something that everyone does once, so that the discussion alternates freely between spontaneous responses and readings from index cards.


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