Lesson: Let "The...Game" Begin

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Lesson Objective

establish the plot of the Westing Game, introduce sequence mapping, continue use of QAR and vocabulary development

Lesson Plan

 Lesson Name:  Let “The…Game” Begin!            Course: High School Language Arts by Anke al-Bataineh

 

Objective:   establish the plot of the Westing Game, introduce sequence mapping, continue use of QAR and vocabulary development

 

Essential Questions:            (write on board)

Why is this book called “The Westing Game”?

Will all the heirs really get money from Sam Westing?

What do we know so far about each of the characters?

 

Materials:           

QAR

QAR worksheet

Vocabulary Builders

Ch. 5-9 worksheet

Character Assignment Roster

Character Trackers

 

 

Anticipatory Set:         (5 min per day)

Ask a student to sum up where the story has taken us so far, and where we left off. Ask Essential Questions.

 

Input:         (5 min per day)

Distribute the worksheet for chapters 5-9. Explain that we will pre-load some vocab, but students can still ask questions as we read. Explain that there will be time each day to answer the questions they can, and that they may help each other (if appropriate in your classroom). They will be expected to look at the QAR template and label the comprehension questions before answering. This is practice for answering future questions in other contexts. (Continue this practice throughout the year!)

 

Explain that there will be a test with some of these words and some of the comprehension questions at the end of these chapters.

 

Guided Practice:         (25 min per day)

Read chapters according to the procedure you have chosen.

 

Notes:

In Ch. 5, we are given huge insight into Grace Windsor Wexler. Pause at hints about her and check if students understood them. Also help them understand oblique comments like Turtle’s “pajamas” statement on pg. 27. Help students see the unspoken dynamics between characters.

Make sure to explain the subtleties of pg. 29, paragraph 11. This shows both how Grace is racist and old-fashioned, and how she thinks of herself as the opposite. A generational perspective might help students recognize this contradictory attitude.

 

In Ch. 6, it is best to dramatize the reading of the will, even if students are reading independently or in groups, as the succession of events is complicated. It can be really funny to have a student secretly prepped to act the part of Grace Windsor Wexler.

 

Independent Work:         (25 min per day)

After Ch. 7 is a good place to stop and assign students to characters. This will be needed for their final presentation, but until then it helps them focus on certain elements and reduces confusion. It also encourages them to think critically about how their character can win the Westing Game, and whether (!) their character is the killer! It is best to make the character assignments seem random because you will probably need to sell boys on being girl characters and vice-versa.

 

When they are assigned, begin giving them time whenever possible to fill out the profile of their character. In my experience, students struggle with this. The skill of gathering evidence should have already been established, but you may need to put a text on the overhead and model the strategy of scanning for them, in order to help them to scan the book for their character’s name.

 

After Ch. 9, provide time for students to finish the unit worksheet, helping each other where necessary. Provide time to study for and take unit test

After having read Ch.9, provide students with paper towels and markers and ask them to make replicas of their clues. Post these in the classroom, making sure to put them as randomly as possible. You don’t want students to catch on too quickly!


Conclusion/Assessment:         (10 min per day)

Ch. 5: What feelings can you tell that Turtle has toward other characters (like Jake, Dr. Denton Deere, etc.) by the way she acts. Explain the evidence you found.

Ch. 6: How, do you think, did Sam Westing know how each person would respond to his will?

Ch. 7: What do you (or your character) think your clues mean? What makes you (or them) think that?

Ch. 8: What, do you think, is Judge J.J. Ford’s hypothesis about the answer to the Westing Game? What is making her think this way?

Ch. 9: Make a hypothesis about what will happen at the party. Tell what you base your prediction on.

 

Vocab to Watch Out For:

See unit worksheet

Lesson Reflection:

What went well?

What would you change?

What needs explanation?

Kids were very flexible about which character they got. They didn’t seem to care too much about gender, and they seemed not to have formed too many judgements yet about the characters.

Ch. 8 is especially long, it’s good to be strategic about how to break it up, since you’re unlikely to finish in one day, and students should get some independent time to research their characters.

It helps for the character assignment to seem random. However, if you can orchestrate that the following characters be “played” by students who are rarely absent or unlikely to transfer out, this will help immensely:

-Sandy McSouthers

- Otis Amber

However, if you can orchestrate that the following characters be “played” by students who are rarely absent or unlikely to transfer out, this will help immensely:

-Sandy McSouthers

- Otis Amber

- Crow

            Turtle Wexler is the central character, but I assigned her originally to someone who was then transferred out. I did her presentation as an example of what I expect. You might assign her to the weakest student and do the same, allowing that student to earn credit a different way. Or your students might not need a model at all. (OR! You might not want to dress up like a little girl, and may choose a different character to model!)

 

If you exhaust all options for characters and still need more, it wouldn’t hurt to have some people be Julian R. Eastman and Barney Northrup, since they have some suspicious elements to them as well!

- Crow

            Turtle Wexler is the central character, but I assigned her originally to someone who was then transferred out. I did her presentation as an example of what I expect. You might assign her to the weakest student and do the same, allowing that student to earn credit a different way. Or your students might not need a model at all. (OR! You might not want to dress up like a little girl, and may choose a different character to model!)

 

If you exhaust all options for characters and still need more, it wouldn’t hurt to have some people be Julian R. Eastman and Barney Northrup, since they have some suspicious elements to them as well!

 

 

 

Lesson Resources

westing game test 2   Assessment
850
westing game test 2 5   Assessment
388
westing game 5 9   Classwork
422
letthegamebegin   Lesson Plan
853
charactertracker   Classwork
637
Character Assignments   Activity
817

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