The meeting between Gatsby and Daisy begins the "meat" of the plot as students realize the necessity of establishing Gatsby's character in the first three chapters. The primary focus of this lesson is for students to take everything that they learned so far in the novel and use it to predict what will happen when Gatsby finally meets Daisy after pining over her for five years. Hopefully, students will catch the desperate nature of his actions and see how she has been a motivating force in his life. Students will also be asked to note specific plot examples to support their decisions. Students will need to consider all of the background information provided by Fitzgerald and weave it into their prediction. By the end of this exercise, they will see how the interpretations of their classmates compare to theirs, and how these interpretations can vary.
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.
As we did with the previous unit of vocabulary, students are assigned one vocabulary word from a list of words for the second half of the novel. The vocabulary list has words on one side and definitions and other information on the other. Students will find their word in the novel as we read and determine the meaning through context. If needed, I will instruct students to look up the word in the dictionary if further clarification is necessary. As we come upon the selected vocabulary words in the first part of the novel, the student assigned to the word will offer his or her definition.
To reinforce the meanings of words, I will instruct students to create flashcards of all words by writing the word and definition on one side of the flashcard. They also include the connotative meaning of the word or what the word sounds like as related to its definition. They also provide a synonym and antonym, and they use it in a sentence.
On the other side of the flashcard, students create a graphic representation of the word's meaning. This assignment is done for homework. For the first 10 minutes of every class until the vocabulary test (given one week after distribution of vocabulary list), I will give students an opportunity to flip through their flashcards with a partner to reinforce definitions. I chose the selected words based on those words that I thought students would have trouble with. Some words are indicative of early twentieth century vocabulary: words such as rotogravure and rivulets.
This activity aligns with RL 11-12 4 in which students determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings.
In this section of the lesson, we will cover some of the historical context. Many historical matters are mentioned in The Great Gatsby that may not be common knowledge to students. For example, Gatsby tells Nick that Meyer Wolfsheim fixed the 1919 World Series. This is a major plot point that paints Wolfsheim as a connected gangster and friend of Gatsby. It reveals to the reader the types of people Gatsby associates with. The purpose of this activity is to introduce students to the nuances of the 1920s and understand how a time period (The Jazz Age/Modernism) can influence a writer's purpose. Specifically, students define how their topic from 1920s culture and politics defined the decade.
Students explain how the information gathered in their research supports the notion that their topic was influential in defining the decade. Periodically, while reading the novel, students will be asked to point out how an event is unique to the 1920s.
In the example provided, a student presents Babe Ruth and his relationship to the World Series scandal. The topics chosen in this project have some sort of direct or indirect significance to The Great Gatsby.
In a review of Chapter 4, students are asked to pull significant quotes from the text that reveal new or reinforce character traits of our major characters. Following this activity, I will use a PowerPoint, to review significant quotes/text that lends insight into the characters. As slides are shown to the class, I also ask students in a whole-class discussion to identify the speaker and relate the information to the character. The class then decides which character section to add the information.
Essentially, students write the information in their character notebooks and note what the information reveals about the characters.
Students will access their prior knowledge of the characters and events in The Great Gatsby to predict the initial meeting between Gatsby and Daisy. Students will write a dialogue with description in providing an account of the meeting. They will be instructed to describe body language, include dialogue between the two, and the reactions the two characters have when they first see each other.
Secondly, students will provide evidence from the first four chapters that influenced their decisions. The predictions can be finished for homework if not conpleted. Dependent on the level of class or time of day, teacher may opt to have students work in groups or pairs.
The prediction must be at least two pages in length.
The success of this activity relates to how students present the characters and if the choices they make seem logical based on what we know about this characters at this point. Students are encouraged to carry the nuances of the characters into the predicted scene. At the end of each scene, the class will discuss whether the dialogue, etc. if believable and something the character would say or do. Students are also encouraged to explain their choices.