Chapter 7: The Death Car

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SWBAT cite strong and thorough textual evidence to explain the demise of Gatsby's American Dream through a written reflection.

Big Idea

Her voice was full of money: Daisy's impact on bankrupting Gatsby's American Dream


The key to the lesson is for students to see how Daisy is not only the object of Gatsby's affection, but she is also the catalyst to the demise of Gatsby's American Dream.  My point is for students to recognize how language is the instrument that Daisy uses to pull down Gatsby's dreams.  It becomes clear with her response to Gatsby that she did love Tom once and "loved you too."  Those three words make it clear to the reader that Daisy is not serious in her affair with Gatsby.  However, we begin to see that Gatsby's inability to recognize Daisy's insincerity sets the stage for a series of unfortunate events that begins with the death of Myrtle Wilson.


Daily Language Practice

10 minutes

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.

This activity is CCSS aligned as it demonstrates command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Unit 1 Vocabulary Review

5 minutes

Each student is assigned a vocabulary word from an assigned list (Unit 1 Vocabulary).  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:

  • One side: Visual representing the meaning of the word
  • Second side: 

                     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.

SAT Question of the Day

10 minutes

Teacher uses the attached link to show the SAT Question of the Day on the projector.  Teacher engages students in a whole-class discussion on finding strategies to answer the question.

1920s Presentations (Finish)

15 minutes

Students present their 1920s Projects to the class.  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.

I chose to include the attached example because it demonstrates additional technology that students can use to present their topics.  This student used Prezi as the vehicle to showcase his project.  He also used a song from the time period to frame his presentation.  The topic Zelda Sayer Fitzgerald is significant because it represents how an author will base a character on an actual person.  Students may recognize some of the same character traits in Daisy that are present about Zelda.  Many critics believe Zelda is the model for the Daisy character.  However, in recent years, other critics have cited similarities to an earlier girlfriend of Fitzgerald's.

Character Notebook: Chapter 6

10 minutes

In this activity, I ask students to find text evidence that showcases the real character information about Jay Gatsby.  I ask students the following questions:

"Who is Jay Gatsby?"

"Where is he from?"

"Who are his parents?"

"Where did he go to school?"

"What is the significance of Dan Cody?"

When students have found text to answer these questions, we review their evidence.  I then show the attached PowerPoint to reinforce or mention those things that students did not bring to the table.  Students write their text evidence in their character notebook.

Overall, students have difficulties in recognizing that Gatsby is essentially trying to recreate the past.  I will have to do some scaffolding to help them come to that conclusion if they do not reach that point on their own.  I also must point out the irony in Daisy's dislike of Gatsby's parties.  He staged them to lure her to his house; she never shows up, but when she does, she is appalled by the cast of characters who attend.




Chapter 7 Round Robin Read

30 minutes

As the class reads Chapter 7, we will consider how Daisy contributes to the demise of Gatsby's American Dream.  What series of unfortunate events leads to the combustion of Gatsby's dreams?  We will also ponder why Fitzgerald makes Daisy, Gatsby's definition of the American Dream, the catalyst for his demise.  What message is Fitzgerald trying to make?  Essentially, Daisy is a double-edged sword who provides both the incentive for Gatsby's American Dream and the fire for its destruction.

The class will read the novel together in a whole-class read.  Either I or students may choose a popsicle stick to identify the next reader.  Sometimes students love the power of choosing the popsicle stick.  It adds some drama to the reading.

For homework, students will read the remainder of chapter and write a brief reflection of how Daisy contributes to the demise of Gatsby's dream.  Students will pull text evidence to support their ideas.