During the previous days lessons, we read and answered basic questions pertaining to theme and the use of figurative language in Zora Neal Hurston's essay, "How It Feels to be Colored Me."
For this activator, I give each student a word splash. They first write the author's name in the center circle and then select and write words from the word bank describing Hurston and her feelings about race. Students work in flexible groups to complete their wordsplash. After five minutes, I ask for words students chose and ask a student to write them on a white board.
In the CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4 students are required to determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative meanings. I want to check their understanding of figurative language. After filling in the wordsplash, I read a 3-4 examples of metaphors and similes and ask student to put their thumbs up if they think a phrase is a metaphor, thumbs down if it's a simile and sideways if they are not sure. I also ask them to explain why they made the choice.
All my grade 9 repeaters have heard of metaphor. A few students can define it but none of them can confidently evaluate how it advances the theme of a story. Using a short power point presentation, I define, and reteach metaphor buy using one or more examples (e.g. "I do not weep at the world - I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.") of how Hurston uses fresh and vivid metaphor to effectively advance her theme in her memoir.
Addressing the common core standard CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 which asks students to initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners, I ask students to work in flexible groups either in pairs or working individually but I want to make sure they understand and remember the expectations of working in with a partner. To achieve this goal, I spend a few minutes to review a Cooperative Teams Rubric which is written in student friendly language.
In this memoir, Hurston uses very powerful metaphors, which has been described as her "personal declaration of independence." Students are asked to sit in their flexible groupings of pairs, or working independently.
I pass out the lap top computers and with my support I ask students to log onto Glogster.com and click on the Project Glog template. I give every one a list of metaphors from the story and assign each student or group 2-4 metaphors in which they will first discuss their meanings. Using the Project Glog template, they then write the metaphor and download photos which illustrate its meaning. I float from student to group, while observing the process. If any one is having difficulty working together (e.g., a member is dominating or disruptive), or not understanding the task, I make an appropriate intervention.
To wrap up this lesson I use a Share Out activity. Speaking and listening standard 9-10.4 requires students to present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically.
I first pick a student volunteer who has either completed or is almost finished with his or her Glog resume to share the template which will be projected on a screen.
I encourage them to speak clearly, concisely, and logically. After listening to the resume presentation, I encourage the class to add to the meaning of the metaphor or give a different response. I then collect all completed printed templates which I will make comments on and post on our Student Work bulletin board.