This lesson begins with two staples to my repetoire: the Daily Language Practice and the SAT question of the day. These introductory activites have two purposes. First, they provide a structured segue for students coming into class from wherever they were before. The lights are shut off in my room and the sentences are flashed on the screen from the overhead projector. Students are conditioned to go straight for their class folders, sit down, and write the two sentences down. I then conduct a whole-class discussion pertaining to the grammatical errors. Sometimes, I pull a popsicle stick which has a student's name on it and ask he or she to "volunteer" an answer. (All students have a popsicle stick with their name on it. I use this for whole-class discussions.)
Secondly, these introductory activities allow students to sharpen their pencils or solict the class for one without interfering with the meat of my lesson. These activities do have some ELA value: they cover language and usage, plus a preparation for the SATs. However, be careful, the SAT link changes every day and sometimes it is math. I usually change the date to find an ELA question.
Students will take a quiz on the first three chapters of The Great Gatsby to ensure that they have kept up with their reading.
Finally, we begin reading Chapter 4 where students add to the Fact or Fiction worksheet from a previous lesson. By the end of Chapter 4, students will be able to determine why Gatsby hosted his wild parties and even why he exaggerated his background. I also ask students to analyze the names of party-goers and infer connotations associated with the names.
In this short section of the lesson, we do some grammatical review. I call it the Daily Language Practice. I put two sentences with grammatical mistakes on the projector or overhead. The class writes the sentences on paper. I then solicit the class to volunteer which errors they see. This is a great activity to begin class. It allows for a smooth segue to English class, and it offers a great review of grammar for the SATs.
To continue with SAT prep as I am encouraged by my department head, I consult with College Board to pull up the SAT Question of the Day. I put the question on the overhead and as a whole-class discussion we look at clues within the questions to lead us to the correct answer. We also discuss why the answer is correct. Lastly, we look for strategies to help students find the correct answers. The link below will lead to the question of the day. It changes daily and it is sometimes math. If the question is not ELA, I will go to a weekend date and search for an ELA question.
I administer this quiz to ensure that students understand the first part of the novel. Because so much of The Great Gatsby depends on an understanding of background information and the suspense created through the mystery surrounding Gatsby, I want to make sure students are all on the same page. It will be very difficult for them to appreciate the events in the second part of the book if they have no exposure to the "set-up" that Fitzgerald creates in the first half of the book. This set-up includes all the foreshadowing that is explained in the latter part of the novel. Students are given a quiz on the first three chapters of The Great Gatsby. This activity provides an opportunity for the teacher to check for understanding. When students complete the quiz, they will begin reading chapter 4 of the novel. The quiz questions were chosen on the basis of how they play into the second half of the book. Any point that is either further explained or part of Gatsby's "mystery" is included in the quiz. Students who have kept up on their reading do very well on this quiz; those who don't get the point that they need to pay attention and keep current with reading assignments. The quiz is multiple choice because it is a quick check for understanding; we have only read three chapters to this point.
In this lesson, I will conduct a whole-class round robin read of Chapter 4. (Round robin means everyone takes turns; I will pull names from popsicle sticks to determine who will read; I will use my judgment to determine how long each student will read.)
As students read, I will ask them to write in their notebooks the names of all the party guests who attend Gatsby's parties. Students will associate images or words to these names to identify connotations linked to the name. For example, Ripley Snells sounds like smells; what kind of person would have a name like snells? Students come to a conclusion as to the types of people Gatsby associates.
As the chapter progresses, students add to their Fact or Fiction worksheet those character traits that they identify as valid or invalid. Additionally, Chapter 4 introduces Meyer Wolfsheim. I will ask the question, "What type of person has human molars as a cuff link?" students usually respond with "gangster" or "murderer." After they have an opportunity to digest the human molar mentioning, they realize that Gatsby associates with shady characters.
At the end of the chapter, students write a response to the question, "What motivated Gatsby to exaggerate his background and why did he host wild parties when he seemed not to participate?'
"What is the source of Gatsby's motivation?" Students usually respond that Daisy is at the root of Gatsby's motivations and the reason behind almost all of the decisions that he has made after she ended their relationship.
I do this activity at this point in the novel because it has become very clear that Gatsby is almost obsessed with Daisy, and this sets up his decision to take the blame for Myrtle's murder.
Each student is assigned a vocabulary word from an assigned list (Gatsby Vocabulary Part II). Students will look up their word in the dictionary and create a flashcard. Teacher explains the difference between connotation (meaning associated with the word) and denotation (the exact meaning of the word.) Students will create a flashcard with the following information:
Latin and Greek Roots
part of speech
Connotation: "What does word sound like?"
Denotation: exact meaning of word
Write the word in a sentence demonstrating proper usage.
Students will present their flashcard to the class, noting all the listed information. Flashcards will be reviewed each day in a whole-class activities. Students will be asked to recall information on flashcard.
Additionally, students should learn a few words a night as an on-going homework assignment.
These words were selected on the basis that they may provide obstacles to student comprehension.