When students came into the classroom, I gave them a copy of the William & Mary Change Model. My school has purchased a few of the William & Mary units, such as "Persuasion," and the Change Model appears in each one. Basically, the Change Model provides a lens through which you can analyze fiction texts (actually, you can use it for nonfiction and social studies analysis also.)
So, I explained the different bubbles in the Change Model and told the students that they would be assigned sections for which they would be brainstorming examples in small groups.
After I felt that the students understood the model (basically,) I put the groups up on the SmartBoard and had the students break into four groups by assigning numbers at random around the room.
In their groups, they were to brainstorm as many examples as possible for Category 2 (Change is Everywhere) and their assigned category.
Interestingly, the students always seem to go first to nature and climate change when doing this activity. Then, they start to talk about growing up, birth and death, and cultural change. While they are talking, I circulate and ask questions. I always ask them if they can think of anything they can't change or that doesn't change. And in every class, someone pipes up with "The past." Each year, I get a kick out of trying to figure out who is going to come up with that answer, because that student is usually an interesting thinker.
After time passes, we share out and talk about our answers. This time, I just did it informally. You could also do a jigsaw or "expert groups" if you have time. I wanted to get to the next part, which is applying the change model to the novel.
Now that the students are familiar with the model, I ask them to use their same categories and find examples in the text that would fit into those categories. For instance, a "change linked to time" would be the speaker's perception of how the Devon School has changed (or hasn't changed) since the last time he visited it.
Now, since the students haven't read too far, this activity is one that we start and continue to discuss as we go along in the reading. Since the story and the conflict continues to unfold (and change, obviously,) the Change Model provides a nice lens through which to view the events.