Chapter 1 Review: The Character Notebook

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SWBAT cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text in an analysis of the four major characters.

Big Idea

Beyond the Green Light: Concentrating on Characterization


The purpose of this lesson is to ensure that students have identified and are familiar with the essential literary devices that have been introduced in the novel thus far.  These devices include characterization, symbolism, point of view, and setting/exposition.  I will have students create a character notebook which will allow them to keep track of character traits, significant text examples that provide insight into the characters, symbolism, and the connection between each character and the novel's essential themes. I find that students have a better grasp of the four major characters as they gradually collect data on them.

Specific directions on how to construct the character notebook are attached.  This notebook will be used at the end of each chapter where students will add significant quotes and other information to help them comprehend the novel's important plot elements.  For lower level classes, I allow students to use the character notebook on the final assessment for The Great Gatsby.

Vocabulary Review

10 minutes

Before we begin the day's lesson, we begin by reviewing the vocabulary covered in Chapter 1.  As a continuation of the previous day's lesson, students who were assigned the vocabulary words "epigram," "peremptory," and "supercilious" will present their words to the class and indicate the definitions through context.  These three words are present in Chapter 1.

Construction of the Character Notebook

20 minutes

This part of the lesson involves the logistics of putting the character notebook together.  I will give students one piece of green construction paper, symbolic of the green light in the novel, and eight pieces of loose leaf paper.  They will fold the loose leaf and cover with the green construction paper to make a small booklet with the green construction paper as the cover.  Students will staple the interior fold of the booklet to keep the book together. 

The book will contain four sections for each of the four major characters: Nick, Daisy, Tom, and Gatsby.  Each character section will have four subsections titled, description, analysis, symbolism, and character-theme tie in.  In the description section, students will write what they know of the character thus far in the novel.  In the analysis section, they will add significant text evidence either spoken by the character, narrator, or another character that reveals information or motivations about the particular character in the section.  Any symbols associated with the character will be added in the symbol section, and finally, at the end of the novel, students will add how the character relates to one of the novel's three major themes, either directly or indirectly.  This will be done for each of the four major characters in their respective sections.

See attached directions that may be handed out to students.

Review of Significant Details in Chapter 1

20 minutes

Using a PowerPoint, I review significant quotes/text that lends insight into the characters.  Students write the information in their character notebooks and note what the information reveals about the characters.  Certain parts of the quote are highlighted in a different color: the purpose of this is to accentuate the meat of the quote and make it stand out from its context.

Wrap Up: To Live in the 1920s

10 minutes

To round out the lesson and reinforce historical context, I will show students the following video on the 1920s, and students will write a written reflection of what life was like in the 1920s based on the visuals shown in the video.  Students will note the types of activities that people were active in, the manner in which they dressed, their attitudes, etc.