Comprehending How Zora Neal Hurston's Characters in "Drenched In Light" Advance and Develop Theme.

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SWBAT read and comprehend how Zora Neal Hurston’s characters in “Drenched In Light” advance the plot and develop theme by reading text and answering analysis questions for creating characters.

Big Idea

What are the Five Methods for Creating Characters?


10 minutes

For this lesson I chose this photo of a young girl walking barefoot and seemingly carefree not unlike the character Isis

Words That Come to Mind....

I give students a graphic organizer for Words That Come to Mind when you think of Creating Characters.  I ask them to write everything they remember about knowing a character and their traits.  Students compare, discuss, and share their answers with a partner.  Finally each pair or small group selects five words to share and explain to the entire class.  I randomly pick a few students to share their words with the class.  


Building Knowledge

20 minutes

The common core standard RL.9-10.3 focuses on analyzing how complex characters develop over the course of a text, and interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme. This story has characters with several motives and personalities that reflect several aspects of a carefree child and overwhelmed grandparent.  I review the five methods for creating characters (characterization) and ask them to correct their organizers if necessary.  I want to reinforce characterization by re-teaching and review activities.

I review what students read about Isis and her grandma in “Drenched In Light.”  I explain that while reading the story they will answer the comprehension questions that are integrated within the text as well as answering the Character Analysis Worksheet for Isis and Grandma Watts. I review how students will work in pairs or individually to answer characterization questions. 



Student Learning Activity

35 minutes

Using the Five Methods for Creating Characters character analysis worksheet, students begin two tasks:

1. Answer questions integrated into the text while working individually or with a reading partner.

2. Fill out the Character Analysis Worksheet for Isis and Grandma Watts analyzing how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) and how they develop over the course of a text developing the theme as required in standard RL.9-10.3.

I model the how to answer first "speaking" trait for Isis demonstrating how to locate relevant evidence or a supporting quote from the text.  This activity also supports the common core standard RL.9-10.1 which requires students to cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly.

I give students a choice of reading and working with a partner or individually to complete the task. While working in groups or individually, I circulate among the class to support on task behavior and encourage analytically thinking when answering the questions.  

(I will include student work and a reflection video)



Wrap Up

10 minutes

As a ticket to leave, each student is asked to submit a one sentence statement describing a character trait of both Isis and Grandma Watts.  I read the answers, put a check on the paper and/or comment acknowledging their work and pass it back the following day.