Tricksters and Anti-Heroes: Analyzing Character Archetypes in "Coyote and the Buffalo"

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SWBAT analyze how complex archetypes develop over the course of the text through the understanding characteristics of the Trickster archetype in "Coyote and the Buffalo."

Big Idea

Heroic Villain or Villainous Hero? Through reading a Navajo myth, students will identify the traits of a Trickster and extend to other examples of the archetype.

Introduction: It's Buttered Corn Day!

3 minutes

Today is "National Buttered Corn Day,"  I am out sick. Being absent today, I have shared a plan for the day with the substitute, as well as the expectations of students when I'm out of the building. I ask the sub to share today's Daily Holiday in order to create a sense of continuity to the trust and community I am seeking to establish in the classroom. 

Independent Reading: "The Coyote and the Buffalo," A Trickster Tale

35 minutes

Students are asked to look over the Question Set for "Coyote and the Buffalo," on the reverse of yesterday's guide for "The World on Turtle's Back" (see lesson: "Nature In Balance: Analyzing Natural Themes in 'The World on Turtle's Back'". Today in class, students are asked to take the time in class to read "Coyote and the Buffalo" and answer the questions that go along with it. 

As students read, these questions guide them to cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support their analysis (RL.9-10.1) of the trickster character archetype (additional information here and here): how Coyote develops over the course of a text, interacts with other characters, especially Buffalo Bull and advances the plot (RL.9-10.3).

We address archetypal characters at this point because it is a skill we will revisit throughout year we we seek to analyze characters in greater depth; understanding archetypes is a practical, useful skill for understanding lit, art, culture;  the trickster is a familiar archetype for students,  from the good, but mischievous (e.g. Bugs Bunny or The Genie from "Disney's Aladdin") to chaotic and evil (e.g. Loki from Norse mythology, "Thor" and "The Avengers" or various interpretations of The Joker from the Batman franchise); and the story connects nicely with mythology, as "Coyote and the Buffalo " tells why no buffalo live in a certain region.

Students are reading and independently in order for them to gain individual understanding, as well as appreciation, of the story. Students use the reading strategies they have previously learned and mastered with which they are most comfortable or fluent. They understand early on that the onus of success falls to them. By working on their own and evaluating their responses, I can gauge their independent reading ability and scaffold, either providing  assistance or additional challenge as students require. 

Introducing Creative Writing: The Student-Written Creation Myth

10 minutes

Students are provided with a pre-writing planning sheet and prompt/rubric to write their own creation myth. In doing so, students will demonstrate understanding of the elements of creation myth and the elements of a narrative plot

Students are asked to select a feature from the area around their home town, write the narrative of the imagined experience of its creation, using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences (W.9-10.3). In order to do this, students set out the situation or an observation about the local feature, establishing point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters (W.9-10.3a). Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters, students express the story of how their local feature came to be (W.9-10.3b), using a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole (W.9-10.3c). Students use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the creation (W.9-10.3d), and provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on how the creation is resolved over the course of the narrative (W.9-10.3e). 

Today, students review the directions, begin selecting their topics, and filling in the planning sheet, mapping out the plot of their creation myth. Students are given time in class to work on this in order to ask any needed questions regarding format, content, or structure. By taking time in class today, students develop their writing by planning and focusing on what is most important for the specific purpose of this paper--demonstrating understanding of a narrative and of creation myths (W.9-10.5).

Two-Minute Warning: Wrap-Up & Reminders

2 minutes

With two minutes remaining, students are called back to their seats and asked to make sure they complete the reading for homework if they did not finish it in class. Students will be revisiting the planning sheet and creation myths in our next class.