After all the hard work we put in learning the elements of fiction, I am feeling we are ready to begin our first novel. My students have worked hard at the skills and are now ready to apply them to read and comprehend a longer complex text.
To shift the students thinking on a more thematic level, I will have them fill out the Anticipation Guide. This will expose the students to some of the topics discussed in the novel and allow for them to build some background with the theme.
Before beginning with the reading, I want to give my students as much background knowledge as possible. The novel Seedfolks, is a story that blends a lot of cultures into the plot. Having an understanding about the culture will help the students understand the character's motivation for their actions. The students do not have a love relationship with reading novels so they are a little hesitant towards getting started. However, I have a very diverse classroom so the fact that the story deals with a variety of cultures does seem to intrigue them enough to get them going.
To help the students shift their thinking to the themes covered within the novel, I will display the Power Point Introduction and discuss what it means to be an agent of transformation.
To begin this novel, I have the students watch a video that will read aloud the story "The Lotus Seed" and discuss the importance of cultures and being an immigrant to a new land. This will help the students have some understanding for the characters in the book. Each character presents a culture unique to the community which isolated them at first, but by the end, the blending of the cultures is what brings the community together.
As the students watch the video, I will have them answer The Lotus Seed Questions. This will help them work with the media and comprehend the key ideas.
I will use these questions for a discussion to help the students develop empathy for the characters feeling alone. This will help the students see what is motivating their decisions.
To help my students process their learning and to assess their learning, I will have the students complete a closure Slip. I will ask the students to think about how the community can be affected by one person and his or her actions. This will open the door for students to really begin thinking about "theme" without realizing that is what they are doing. It is a great way to also review character traits and motivation!