Hotseat Discussion of Opening Chapters of Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Day 2 of 2)

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SWBAT engage in thoughtful questions and answers in a discussion of character and theme development in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Big Idea

Hotseating provides that amazing and elusive discussion quality, "uptake," in which students truly challenge each other with thoughtful interpretation questions.


Today, my students are engaging in a second day of the hotseat discussion, and here's why:

1.) The hostseat typically takes a period or half a period to prepare; as such, it takes a period or two to properly enact.

2.) It's high energy and high engagement.  The students get to ask each other important questions in dramatic roles (SL.9-10.1).

3.) It addresses character inference in important ways, guiding students to make and support their inferences (RL 9-10.1) about character development (RL.9-10.3) in a different modality (dramatic) than we typically do (analytic). 

Concluding Hotseat Discussion

25 minutes

The image for this lesson shows a chair on fire, and that is really the key to the second day of the hotseat.  The students should show more intense insights into character (RL.9-10.3) and theme (RL.9-10.2), and they should all be ready to participate (SL.9-10.1).  I look to see that 100% of the students are involved and that there is enough energy in the discussion to pull everyone in. 

Each student on the hotseat will last about 5-10 minutes, so we will work our way though the rest of the students who have not yet gone, and we will then take the time to process at the end.  Generally, there is an emphasis on character insight since the students must ask three questions of each character, with one of them being an inferential question such as, "Why did you do this..."  or "How did you feel when..."  (RL 9-10.3).  The students generally find this to be an intriguing bit of role play, and it helps me to get important formative information on how they are reading the characters and understanding the text to date.  

Group Processing--How did it go?

5 minutes

In order to determine my student's comfort with this new discussion strategy and to determine whether the hotseat helped to deepen their understanding of characters in the text, I put following two questions on the board and ask the students to write responses on a 1/2 sheet of paper, which forms the exit slip.

1) How did the hotseat go?  How could it be improved?

2) Most importantly, how well did you gain insight into the characters that we discussed today (RL 9-10.3)?  Do you think that you get better character insights through regular class discussion, hotseat discussion, or writing?