Reflection: Applying Literary Elements to "Seventh Grade" - Section 2: Analyzing the Plot of "Seventh Grade"


While my Honors students can complete the analysis of a plot diagram with minimal guidance, the students in my co-taught classes need additional support and scaffolding. Even 'regular' English 7 students need additional support.

The students in my co-taught classes consist of 'fluent' English language learners, students with disabilities, students below grade level, reluctant learners, and highly motivated students.  I've got them all in my classes.

To provide the support without completely frustrating  and overwhelming my students, I give them manipulative to help them sort out which plot event is in each plot section. The manipulative are the plot events, names of the protagonists and antagonists, conflicts, etc. on strips of paper. I've outlined what I put on the strips of paper. You can download a copy here.  It's also in the resource section at the end of this lesson.

  • Conflict: Victor wants Teresa to be his girlfriend, but he keeps embarrassing himself.
  • Protagonist: Victor
  • Antagonist: either Teresa or himself (I prefer himself to Teresa, personally)
  • Exposition
    • Setting: first day of school, Fresno, CA
    • Major Characters in the Exposition: Victor, Teresa, Michael
  • Rising Action
    • Michael tells Victor that he'll impress girls by scowling.
    • Victor gives Teresa's name when the English teacher asks for an example of a noun.
    • Victor spies on Teresa at lunch.
    • Victor pretends that he can speak French.
  • Climax: Mr. Bueller doesn't let on that Victor knows French, so Victor is able to successfully impress Teresa.
  • Falling Action
    • Teresa asks Victor for help with French.f
    • Victor goes to his next two classes.
  • Resolution: Victor goes to the library to check out French textbooks.

I have them work together in their pods to sort the events into the specific sections. However, I have to stress that if you were to ask my students to sort all of these slips at once, their brains would explode and no one wants that.  Therefore, I chunk them.  I ask students to identify the conflict. We write that on the plot diagram.  I ask students to identify the protagonist and antagonist.  We write that on the plot diagram.  I ask students to identify the major characters, setting, and basic situation in the exposition.  We write that on the plot diagram. I ask students how Victor finds a solution to his problem (climax). We write that on the plot diagram. 

I go through the same exact steps as with my Honors classes, but in much smaller pieces.  My inclusion classes have a manipulative to help guide them.  They have their groups to help them. They have two teachers (me, the general education teacher, and my co-teacher) to help them.  This year they actually have three teachers to help because I have a student teacher first semester. 

It takes much, much longer.  However, I can teach something quickly but not have mastery OR I can teach something slower to ensure mastery. Slow and steady wins the race and quality, not quantity, and please insert your own idiom here.

  Providing Scaffolding for Learners
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Applying Literary Elements to "Seventh Grade"

Unit 2: Analyzing Literature with Gary Soto’s Seventh Grade
Lesson 7 of 8

Objective: Students will be able to determine and analyze the central conflict and theme by mapping its development over the course of the text in a plot diagram.

Big Idea: Plot diagrams help students visualize how the central conflicts develops throughout a story.

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45 teachers like this lesson
october 2013
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