Analyzing Conflict Between the Main Characters Junior and Rowdy In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

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SWBAT identify how characters develop or advance the plot through their conflicts in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by using Two Column Notes to chart evidence and answering questions on a Reading Guide..

Big Idea

Determining how conflict moves the story forward.


10 minutes

I begin this lesson with having the students take a short quiz on chapter 6, "Go Means Go" which addresses the protagonist decision to ask his parents if he can attend better school and consequently leave his Indian friends. After speaking with his parents, Junior decides to transfer from his reservation school to Reardan High, a white school that is more than twenty miles away.

This chapter sets up major conflicts that Junior will experience with his friends and himself. I want to assess student comprehension of their reading as well as give them an opportunity to predict the outcome of his decisions. 

The The Absolutely True Diary Quiz Go Means Go is a formative assessment which I chose to give in the form of short writtn answers which include text dependent questions as required in standard RL.9-10.1



Building Knowledge

20 minutes

I facilitate a quick review of the chapter 6 quiz.  I explain that conflict is what makes a story "juicy," I ask students how Junior's decision to leave the reservation school may create conflict in his life?

I then explain that conflict adds excitement and suspense to a story. The conflict usually becomes clear at the beginning of a story and as the plot unfolds. I inform my students that they will start to wonder what will happen next and how the characters will handle the situation. 

Next I review characterization and conflict by using a visual presentation I created for internal and external conflict. Identification of types of conflict is not a 9th grade CCSS skill, but I include this into today's lesson because I am also teaching to the students in front of me and review is frequently necessary with struggling learners. 

I like using the power point as a visual cue for them to focus on as well as to think about a question being asked.  I end the power point with an oral formative assessment (slide #8) on whether a conflict between the characters is internal, external, or both.  During the oral formative assessment I use the Cold Call strategy to check for understanding.

Student learning Activity

35 minutes

Students will read Chapter 7 and identify how the two main characters advance the plot through their conflicts by using Two Column Notes to chart evidence.

Using a T-CHART

To meet the requirement in the common core standard RL.9-10.3, which asks students to analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, students must be able to organize their thoughts while reading the story. To assist them with this mental process, I give students a T-Chart to cite evidence of each characters internal and external conflict. 

T-Charts are a graphic organizer in which my students' lists and examines two facets of this topic, in this lesson internal and external conflicts of the two characters. I like using a T-Chart because it requires active reading, that is, my students need to process what they read for the notes to be taken.  It also helps them to organize their thoughts while finding the evidence to support their answers RL.9-10.1.

In addition to using a T-Chart to identify internal and external conflicts, students are answering questions on their Chapter Reading Guide .  I circulate among groups to check for understanding.


Wrap Up

10 minutes

Ticket to Leave:

I want to find out how many students met today's learning objective  by asking students to read their answers to question 5, Rowdy Sings the Blues which asks them to explain how the Conflict that the two characters are experiencing advances the plot as required in standard RL.9-10.3. Students take a turns reporting out until the bell rings.