Determine How a Theme is Shaped by Specific Details in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

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SWBAT determine how a theme emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details by using a Time-Order chart.

Big Idea

Determining and analyzing the theme is easy when using the right tools


10 minutes

To bring in background knowledge into this lesson and assess for understanding of the text thus far, students take a short chapter quiz which they can also use for the student learning activity part of the lesson.  

On some quizzes I also focus on mechanics and conventions, but this quiz is mainly to ensure that students can establish the events of the text and have a basic understanding of how these events affected the characters' relationship as well as a theme of the text.

Building Knowledge

20 minutes

I explain to the students that there are several themes in this novel and that we have begun to identify the themes in previous lessons.  In chapter 7, Rowdy Sings the Blues, the loss of friendship that Junior suffers when Rowdy, a boy who had always protected Junior as the two of them were growing up, does not understand why Junior wants to transfer to a white school.  

I point out that the theme, loss of friendship, is exemplified when Rowdy has trouble forgiving what he sees as Junior’s abandonment of the reservation and, more importantly, the abandonment of their friendship.  I explain that the events that lead up to how Rowdy reacts to Junior will be graphed using a Time order Chart.  As the standard RL.9-10.2 requires of students, I plan to ask them to identify how this theme emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details now that we have determined the theme together.

Student Learning Activity

35 minutes

Using the Time-Order Chart, students are asked to use the information from their chapter quiz and text based evidence which supports the theme established in the chapter Rowdy Sings the Blues.

As students work in pairs or individually, I circulate among them answering questions and asking probing questions to reflect on and to increase their ability to think about the meaning of the evidence.

Citing thorough textual evidence, as asked in RL.9-10.1, requires the ability to analyze inferences in the text as well as locate specific supporting evidence.  I ask my students to approach the reading like detectives and find the meaning that lies behind the words that they read. For a few of my students this task is fun, but for most it can be difficult. 

In order to make an inference, my students need to have some of the background knowledge about the chapter. This is one reason I begin this lesson with the chapter quiz. I also support their "detective work" by building context and asking thought-provoking questions.

I ask thought provoking questions of student who get stuck. Instead of letting him or her "opt-out" I instruct them to re-read the section to get a better understanding of the events.

Wrap Up

10 minutes

Ticket to Leave

For a wrap up students are asked to restate the theme of the chapter and provide one piece of evidence to support the theme.