Lesson: Brenda Werner - "Perspectives"

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Lesson Objective

7th Grade/Language Arts: This lesson gives students guided practice in analyzing texts and considering multiple perspectives to increase their confidence and skills in inferring, evaluation, and critical thinking. Seventh grade students are increasingly more capable of higher order thinking, which is required for secondary and post-secondary coursework, standardized tests, and living in a global world.

Lesson Plan

Required Lesson Plan Template





Author Name

Brenda Werner


Lesson Name



Content Area(s)



Grade Level(s)

7th Grade



60 minutes


Lesson Theme and Topic

Often times, in order truly understand others, particularly people from outside our community, it is necessary to put ourselves and their shoes and consider their unique perspectives and the experiences that have shaped them. 


I chose this theme because I think it is common for people to perceive differences as strange or inferior.  I want them to learn that differences, whether in traditions, beliefs, or practices are more likely to be respected when they are understood.


Instructional Objectives


Students will consider the world beyond their immediate environment and understand multiple perspectives. 


Students will analyze diction and syntax to make inferences that are supported by textual evidence.


Specific Global Competencies 


Students will identify and assess the accuracy of personal “understood” knowledge of a foreign country or region.

Students will examine the values and mores in China as presented in an excerpt from Country Driving and Divergent while comparing the motivations and reactions of characters portrayed in the passages. 



Alignment to District or State Content Standards and Testing and Assessment

RI.1: Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of

what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from

the text.

RL.6 Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of

view of different characters or narrators in a text.


Instructional Strategies and Activities

The teacher will introduce the following vocabulary words:  diction, syntax, tone, inference, perspective, and fledging.


Students will take 4 minutes to respond to one the following 5 quick-write prompts:

  1. Everyone else was laughing.
  2. I knew how it felt to be an outsider.
  3. It was time to change schools again.
  4. Follow these rules and we'll get along fine.
  5. Everyone was staring at me.
  6. He had no idea about the hidden rules.

Students will be invited (but not required) to share the topic of their chosen quick-write. 

Distribute the passage from page 16 of Country Driving (passage below under resources) and ask a volunteer to read it aloud while students follow along and annotate.  Students will then read it silently and continue to annotate with the following questions in mind:

  1. How does the passage make us react or think about any characters or events within the narrative?
  2. Who speaks in the passage? 
  3. What is noteworthy about the diction?
  4. How do the important words relate to one another?
  5. Do any words seem oddly used to you?  Why?
  6. Compare the narrator’s attitude and Mr. Wang’s attitude toward requiring Chinese customers to return the rental car with a full tank of gas.  What accounts for the similarities or differences?
  7. When Mr. Wang says, “You don’t understand Chinese people,” does his assessment of the narrator seem credible?  Why or why not?
  8. What is the overall tone of passage?

Students will hand in their close read questions.  The teacher will lead a class discussion on the passage by bringing the passage up on the Smart Board and asking students to come up to the board and circle any noteworthy words (#3) and to discuss the tone of the passage (#6 and #8).

Save the Last Word for Me:

The teacher will ask the class to consider the first four chapters of Country Driving and in groups of 5, students will select a passage from the first 4 chapters of Country Driving and lead the group by reading the passage and calling on 2 students in the group to comment on why they think the passage is significant before opening it to the group if anyone else wants to add another layer of analysis.  The student who chose the passage then has the last word by sharing why he or she chose it as a significant passage from the book.  This activity encourages deeper thinking about China’s culture, landscape, people, and history. 






Formative Assessment

“Save the Last Word for Me” activity, quick-write journal, and class discussion, Close Read.



In “Save the Last Word for Me,” students may choose a passage that appeals to their interests and understanding. 



Country Driving by Peter Hessler

Close Read Passage:

For my road trip I rented a Chinese-made Jeep Cherokee from a Beijing company called Capital Motors.  It was a new industry---even five years earlier, almost nobody would have thought of renting a car for a weekend trip.  But now, the business had started to develop and my local Capital Motors branch had a fleet of about fifty vehicles, mostly Chinese-made Volkswagon Santanas and Jettas.  They were small sedans, built on the same basic model as the VW.  Fox that was once sold in the States.  At Capital Motors, I often rented Jettas for weekend trips and there was an elaborate ritual to those transactions.  First I paid my twenty-five dollars per day and filled out a mountain of paperwork.  Next, the head mechanic opened the trunk to prove that there was a spare tire and a jack.  Finally we toured the Jetta’s exterior, recording dents and scratches onto a diagram that represented the shape of a car.  This often too a while—Beijing traffic is not gentle, and it was my responsibility to sketch every door ding and bumper dent.  After we documented the prenuptial damage, the mechanic turned the ignition and showed me the gas gauge.  Sometimes it was half full; sometimes there was a quarter tank.  Occasionally, he studied it and announced: “Three-eighths.”  It was my responsibility to return the car with exactly the same amount of fuel.  Week to week, it was never the same and one day I decided to make my own contribution to the fledgling industry. 

     “You know,” I said, “you should rent out all the cars with a full tank, and then require the customer to bring it back full.  That’s how rental companies do it in America.  It’s much simpler.”

     “That would never work here,” said Mr. Wang, who usually handled my paperwork.  He was the friendliest of eth three men who sat in the capital Motors front office, where they smoked cigarettes like it was a competition.  “That might work in America, but it wouldn’t work here,” Mr. Wang continued.  “People in China would return the car empty.” 

     “Then you charge them a lot extra to refill it,” I explained.  “Make it a standard rule.  Charge extra if people don’t obey and they’ll learn to follow it.”

     “Chinese people would never do that!”

     “I’m sure they would,” I said.

     “You don’t understand Chinese people!” Mr. Wang said laughing and the other men nodded their heads in agreement.  As a foreigner, I often heard that, and it had a way of ending discussion. 


Quick Write Prompts from About Education: 50 Quick Write Prompts



Wheeler, K. (2014).  Close Reading.  Retrieved from https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/reading_lit.html




  • Close Read



  • Guided practice in analyzing texts and considering multiple perspectives increases students’ confidence and skills in inferring, evaluation, and critical thinking.  Seventh grade students are increasingly more capable of higher order thinking, which is required for secondary and post-secondary coursework, standardized tests, and living in a global world.    


Lesson Resources

Close%20Read%20Questions.docx   Activity


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