Reading and Chunking to Analyze Details and Theme

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SWBAT analyze the theme which develops over the course of the story "The Sniper," by "chunking" theme, plot, and characterization.

Big Idea

How students benefit from "chunking" their reading into smaller bits of information.


10 minutes

This lesson is a continuation of the reading from the previous day. I wanted to give students another day to complete this task because it takes time to analyze text and I want them to avoid answering quickly.  Today’s task is another step in understanding the theme and the detail analysis process because processing and analyzing the information processed once again takes time.

Before asking them to use the Think Pair Share strategy, I model the strategy using a student or student(s) to model the procedure to ensure that students understand how to use the strategy. I allow time for students to ask questions that clarify their use of the technique.

I ask the class to think about one event they remember from the reading the day before that might give them an idea of a theme for "The Sniper."  I ask them to discuss their answers with a partner. Next I pick a few students to share their thoughts with the whole class SL.9-10.1.  Discussion in pairs takes a few minutes. While they discuss with a partner I project a stop watch on the screen so they know how much time they have left to discuss the question. I then spend about five minutes discussing answers with the class.  

Building Knowledge

20 minutes

I review the meaning of theme and the vocabulary words in slides 10-12 in "The Sniper" power point.  As a whole class activity,  I ask students to fill in the blanks with the correct vocabulary words on slide # 11.  This will assist in their comprehension of the reading as well as address the Common Core Standard RL.9-10.4 determining the meaning of words,

Using a docucamera for all the students to view, I ask for volunteers to share their drawings of the setting asked on the first "chunked" question of the reading.  This student example reflects their thinking about setting and illustrates to me the powerful imagery that the student uses to answer this question.

Student Learning Activity

35 minutes

I use a paired reading strategy for the students who want to read with a partner. In this strategy, students read the story aloud to each other Guided Reading of The Sniper (adapted from LiamO'Flaherty). Not unlike the sliced apple in the lesson's image, the reading is "chunked" into manageable sections.  I explain why this is important in the enjoy chunking video. 

While reading, students are asked to take turns first reading the text before the questions are read. They then discuss and answer the question.  I give this instruction because I have several "impulsive" readers and writers or those who skim the reading and answer to quickly to give me an accurate response.

When establishing partners I pair more fluent readers with less fluent readers, or I pair students who read at the same level and suggest that they re-read a paragraph they have already read to each other.  Some students prefer to read independently.

The adapted activity will take the remainder of the class to complete.  While they are reading I circulate among them asking questions, checking for understanding and redirecting those who are easily distracted or are off task.


Wrap Up

10 minutes
Wrap Up Discussion

For the Wrap Up I ask students to think about the message or theme of the story they just read. I write on the board a comment made by a student the previous day.  She said the author doesn't give his characters a name and asked, "I wonder why?"  I then ask them that by not giving characters names what message might this give the reader about war?  I ask students to think about this and that the answer will lead them to the story's theme.  This lesson aligns with standard RL.9-10.2 because it asks students to determine a main message or central idea of the short story and analyze it in detail especially its development over the course of the story. Chunking the information by asking students to answer analytical and comprehension questions throughout the text supported this cognitive process.