Character Connections in Chapter 9

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SWBAT analyze how the relationships between characters drive the plot by creating a character map.

Big Idea

Using a character map to understand the plot.


10 minutes

To begin today's lesson, I pose this question to the class:

"What are Tom and Huck going to do tonight?"

Because we've just taken a test and it's been a few days since we've read, this is usually met with blank stares.  My response to these stares is, "Open the books you have in front of you and figure it out!"

Once someone has told me that they boys are headed to the graveyard to try to get rid of warts, I will ask someone to find the page in chapter 6 where Huck explains the procedure and read it to the class.  

I'm looking for someone to find the paragraph that reads, "Why, you take your cat and go and get in the graveyard 'long about midnight..."

Once everyone knows where we are in the story, it's time to begin chapter 9.

Getting Down to Business

40 minutes

I prefer to use the audio for chapter 9 just so the class stays together.  It would certainly work well to read it aloud yourself, call on students to read, or have the students read silently.  It all depends on the reading level of your group!

After we finishing reading chapter 9, I let the students know we're going to create a graphic organizer to keep all of the people and events from chapter 9 straight.  We are going to create a character map.

There are times I draw this on the board only, and we just have a discussion.  However, I have also had students follow along by creating their own character map.  You could start as a group and then have students finish up independently too.  There are quite a few ways to do this one!

I begin by drawing circles with the characters names up on the board.  I then ask students to use a word or two to describe each of the five characters in this chapter: Tom, Huck, Doc Robinson, Injun Joe, and Muff Potter.  What we end up with looks like the first page of:  character connections.

Then we begin to draw arrows and label them with all of the ways the characters are connected.  This is when the fun begins.  Very quickly students will see the complexities of this chapter as we build the map.  The second page of character connections is not an exhaustive answer key, simply what one of my classes ended up with.


Did They Get It?

5 minutes

Our closure an assessment piece is formative and oral today.  I poll the class to see if creating this chart helped anyone clarify the events in chapter 9.  More often than not, there are students who didn't quite get the gist of what happened in the graveyard.  

If there's time, I'll have students turn to an elbow partner and share when they think this particular strategy might be useful.  Then, I will have partners share out ideas on a volunteer basis.  Hopefully, someone will bring up the idea that this strategy can be helpful when reading a text that involves many different characters, either real or fictional.

Students keep these character maps in their binders as a reference tool.