What's Going on With Miss Havisham? Writing Thesis Statements for Chapter 49
Lesson 4 of 8
Objective: SWBAT introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions by drafting thesis statements to characterize Miss Havisham.
To reward readers, we will start class today with a short pop quiz on the homework, which was to read chapters 47 and 48. I simply instruct students to get out a half a piece of paper-- by now they know that a half sheet of paper means that they have a quiz. Then I ask 5 questions about the reading. I'm not trying to trick them or punish them; I simply want to reinforce my high standards by reminding them to complete their homework in a thoughtful way. They don't have to write the question, nor do they have to write answers in complete sentences. This is a quick assessment. Today's questions are:
1. What does Wopsle tell Pip after the play?
2. What disturbing information does Jaggers tell Pip about Drummel/ about what he thinks about Drummel?
3. What does Pip realize about Molly and how?
4. Why is Molly's case so important to Jaggers?
5. At the end of chapter 47, where is Pip headed?
These questions may seem "nit-picky" to students at this point, but each is important because this information will help us understand later revelations, like that Molly is Estella's mother, which they can figure out right away, if they remember everything Pip learns about her in this chapter. Before moving on to the reading, I will briefly go over the answers to the questions on the quiz; that way I know that everyone is ready to continue reading.
I have been building up chapter 49 all week. At any sign of discontent or boredom, I just say, "wait until chapter 49. It's awesome and you're going to love it," so I'm starting today with a captivated audience. We are going to read this chapter using scripts that I made a few years ago: I simply photocopy enough copies of the chapter as there are characters who speak and then highlight accordingly. It took some time when I made them, but it was definitely worth it in the long run, since the students love reading this way and it gets more students involved and invested. As we read, we are going to continue to work on specific and thorough thesis statements. Yesterday, we worked in groups to develop them, but today each students will develop thesis statements independently, hopefully using their knowledge from yesterday's class.
In chapter 49, Pip returns to Satis House, at Miss Havisham's request. We will pause in the reading, probably every two to three pages, and discuss Miss Havisham's state of mind. I will ask that, like yesterday, students share in the form of a thesis statement, except that today, each person will work independently (W.9-10.2a). I will ask guiding questions, such as "is this the same Miss Havisham or has she changed? What's the change?" (RL.9-10.3) Students will have to respond stating a specific change and then we can use textual evidence to prove each statement. For instance, a thorough thesis statement might look like this: "Miss Havisham shows a new side of herself in chapter 49. For the first time, she is remorseful and regrets using Estella and Pip as pawns in her game of revenge. She begs Pip to forgive her and even makes him write it down." I give time for students to write their thesis statements first, so they are prepared when we share aloud. I won't call on every student at each stopping point, but I hope that by the end of the chapter I will hear from everyone.
The part that students love in this chapter occurs toward the end: Pip turns around and when he looks back, Miss Havisham is on fire, the flames rising as high in the air as she is tall. The imagery is depicted in graphic and shocking. Here's the moment when we read it together. And now they know why I have been building up to this moment all week!
For homework, students will be asked to reflect on that shocking image of Miss Havisham aflame, and answer this question: Did she do it on purpose or was it an accident? No matter their answer, students will have to prove their point of view with textual evidence, from this chapter and/or the novel as a whole, which means that each response shouldn't merely be a sentence or two. Instead they need to develop the argument in a strong paragraph (W.9-10.2b). And then they will be prepared for class tomorrow.