Analyze Parts of a Plot Diagram and How an Author Unfolds a Series of Events (Day 2 of 2)

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SWBAT comprehend and analyze theme, plot, and character development in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by creating plot diagrams.

Big Idea

How does plot motivate the action and drive the theme in a story?


15 minutes

This is Day 2 of the lesson on using a Plot Diagram.  For today's Activator, students will take Plot Quiz 2  because I want to determine how much information they retained from the previous day's lesson.  I give them five minutes to complete their quizzes and then ask them to exchange papers with a partner as we correct them as a whole class. I ask them to write the initial of the student who is correcting the quiz in the right hand corner of the paper as this creates a sense of accountability for each student who is scoring the quiz.

I read the question and using the Cold Call technique for checking for understanding in which I choose a student at random to answer the question.  If someone disagrees or has a question, we stop and discuss the correct answer. Thus, this quiz has dual purposes: to assess my students' knowledge, and to review what we have learned.

Building Knowledge

15 minutes

Using a docucamera,  I review the parts of the plot diagram by looking at the plot diagram I used the previous day while telling the story of the Penn State scandal.  After students seem to understand this diagram, and have asked questions, I project a blank Plot Diagram on the screen and explain that they will be plotting the events of The Absolute True Diary of a Part-time Indian using this plot diagram organizer.  I begin with modeling the Setting and Exposition. As my students are asked to give an objective summary of the story through the plot, I  ask what they think is a message or theme that the author is establishing through the novel's characters and conflict RL.9-10.2?  I facilitate a short discussion of theme and then give them a choice of using two different Plot Plan organizers, one having fewer lines than the other. 

Due to their inconstant attendance, some students will have read more of the novel than others. I instruct them to plot the events they have read and to use their novel, notes, and quizzes to refresh their memories. 

Why I reteach plot diagrams

You may be thinking that spending two lessons on using a plot diagram is redundant and may not be necessary. In the previous lesson I reviewed and retaught plot and in today's lesson they are applying their understanding of plot to this novel.  For an average or high ability reader this may be true, but struggling readers and those who have missed a lot of school, which is called "lack of opportunity", repetition is necessary. To help struggling readers it is necessary to use lots of repetition. Repetition helps to “cement” the information in a student's mind. I try to keep it fresh, though, so they don't loose their motivation to participate and learn.

Student Learning Activity

30 minutes

Using evidence form the text students begin filling out their choice of plot diagrams  RL.9-10.1. They refer to their novel, notes and quizzes. I use the cold call strategy and wait time to check for understanding of the basic elements of plot.  I also circulate among the class, keeping them focused on the task by asking probing questions such as, "What leads up to the climax?"  "Where does most of the novel take place?"  "What event brings resolve to Junior's conflict with Rowdy?"


Wrap Up

15 minutes

Report Out

Using the docucamera, I ask for a volunteer to share his or her plot diagram with the class.  I ask students to follow the events and if they are missing an event to add it to their organizers. I also encourage my students to speak up if they disagree with the sequence of an event or part of the plot, i.e. Climax.  For example, I expect my students to come to the conclusion that the climax is the second basketball game, when Arnold's school wins and he is carried by his team on their shoulders. This reflection is essential to their understanding of plot and characters effect on theme. If this occurs, I plan to point out that Arnold feels ambivalent about his situation, as the team he beat used to be his home town team.