Setting/Conflict in Tangerine, Part II: Collaborating to Refine our Focus
Lesson 2 of 6
Objective: SWBAT refine their original ideas about the relationship between setting and conflict in Tangerine.
Latin Roots Warm Up
This is our daily warm up, wherein students work with two or three Latin roots per day. The resource that I use to get my roots is Perfection Learning's Everyday Words from Classic Origins.
Every day, when the students arrive, I have two Latin roots on the SmartBoard. Their job is to generate as many words as they can that contain the roots, and they try to guess what the root means. After I give them about five minutes, we share words and I tell them what the root means.
The students compile these daily activities in their class journals. After every twelve roots, they take a test on the roots themselves and a set of words that contains them.
What new discoveries did you make after analyzing the elements of setting in Tangerine?
Were you able to make strong connections among all or most of the elements in yesterday's assignment?
Were there other elements of setting in Tangerine that you could have included on yesterday's web?
In the previous lesson, students were given six elements of setting and were asked to: 1. Pull text that related to the elements; 2. Develop a thesis that connects all or most of the elements to a theme in Tangerine; and 3. Try to identify the significance/meaning of the individual element.
Here we are again, connecting setting to conflict AND trying to get students to make connections to author's purpose and craft. In this lesson, students will work together to review their maps and come up with new, improved maps wherein the connections are strong and clear.
I put the kids into groups, ensuring that the groups are balanced between boys and girls and that there is at least one very strong student in each group. I decided to appoint the strongest students as group leaders, which didn't work that well, since my "thinkers" in this class tend to be introverts. (Though I do think it is good practice for them to have to step in and lead, most didn't really do that.)
I have classes of 28 students, so it is hard to do this kind of activity in my room. So, we went to the library and used the big tables. Each group got a big piece of chart paper and some markers. My goal wasn't really for the students to develop "pretty" charts, but to understand the relationship between the theme and the setting elements.
Working with the Ideas
The students work together -- referring to the maps they did yesterday -- to negotiate and develop the best connections among setting elements and the theme.
When they have finished, the groups present their finished products to the class.
In Tangerine, the author includes many details and elements to inform the reader (indirectly) that Tangerine County is out of whack. The county is named for a fruit they no longer grow there. The buildings are built on land that was developed without respect for the natural environment. The theme of man against nature (and vice versa) is present throughout the book. Paul Fisher, the main character, sees what is going on around him and understands that nature is fighting back. This conflict mirrors other conflicts in the book, but it is one that students often overlook because the book is very rich with lots of action unfolding throughout.
A few sample maps are included to show how the students approached it. For me, what makes it on the paper isn't the biggest deal (though it does help me see who "gets" it.) Instead, if the students are engaging in conversation about the symbols and looking at their work critically, I think the assignment is helping to accomplish an important goal.
In the next lesson, students will be reflecting on the differences between their individual maps and the group product, so I wrap up the lesson by asking students to think about the work that they did in their groups and to consider whether or not they feel like they have a better handle on the content, post-discussion. (Obviously, as the teacher, I hope the answer is yes :))