"Self-Reliance," Day Three

1 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to analyze a text's language for figurative, connotative, and denotative meaning by reading and analyzing Emerson's "Self-Reliance."

Big Idea

A vast sea of words made clear--close reading for meaning.

Do Now: Learning Reflection and Work Habits

10 minutes

Students complete our biweekly learning reflection and work habits as their warm-up today. This routine activity requires students to reflect on their growth and on areas for improvement, focusing on what actions they have and can still take to learn. By reflecting on these actions, students take ownership of their own learning.

"Self-Reliance" Read-Write-Share

35 minutes

On our final day studying Emerson's "Self-Reliance," we close as we started--with read-write-share.

I continue to read a paragraph at a time, using my expertise as a reader to place emphasis on key words and phrases.

After, students process independently, writing down a short summary of the paragraph and a comment (question, connection, agreement, or disagreement). This writing time helps students build their own confidence as readers of challenging text, but they also get affirmation or aid through the next step in the process.

We use our written notes to discuss, using hand talk to move from speaker to speaker. Students control this conversation: to add a comment, they use a plus sign; to disagree, they use a slash; to make a connection, they link their fingers; to ask a question, they create a hook with their hands; and to change the topic, they create a delta (triangle) sign. I am simply there to clarify or, in rare cases, correct as students make meaning of the text together.

Today, students consider:

  • why Emerson uses "corpse" to describe memory--it's a negative word which creates a dark tone
  • what the allusion to Joseph means
  • whether or not "To be great is to be misunderstood" is an accurate statement
  • And more

Read-write-share helps students build their reading skills with support and engagement; it's a great strategy for use with any challenging text. Students succeed when they are able to delve into aspects of the text which actually interest them, and with 30 different interests in the room, we still discuss all the critical points--which words make most meaning, why some statements are included, and how practical the claims actually are.