Analyzing Character’s Influence on Theme in Night, Chapters 1-6

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SWBAT explain how a character advances a theme by completing a character analysis chart and presenting those charts to their peers.

Big Idea

Is a character influenced by theme, or is theme influenced by character?

Warm Up and Mini Lesson

15 minutes

Class is going to begin with students answering the question: Who are some of your favorite characters and why?  After five minutes of writing, students will share out their answers.  As they are talking, I will record their thinking on the Smart Board.  I want to have a list of reasons why particular characters are memorable.  After they talk of a couple minutes, I'm going to ask the students if their favorite characters are part of their favorite book/movie/show.  I will then add to our list ideas about the connection between the character and our understanding of what the show/book/movie is about (theme).  


After this brief introduction, I will explain that one of my favorite movies is The Breakfast Club, which is a movie which celebrates differences by bringing together 5 very different teenagers in a Saturday morning detention.  Students will watch the lunchtime clip.  After watching, I will write STEREOTYPES at the top of the board and each of the 5 character names underneath that.  After students watch the clip, I will ask them to come up to the board and record all details about each character from the clip.  I'll ask them to evaluate what their lunch choices, mannerisms, dress, appearance, speech, etc. reveals about their character.  After they are finished, I fill in anything I "read" in the clip and will explain what these character traits reveal about STEREOTYPES.  Since most students haven't seen the film, I will have to do the majority of the writing here, which is exactly what I want!  Modeling for students is the key to success!!



Student Work Time

20 minutes

At the beginning of student work time, I will distribute the Night character analysis sheet.  Each student will be instructed to choose a character from the novel and choose one of four themes for our unit ([loss of] innocence, silence, courage, bearing witness).  Students will work through the character analysis worksheet.  As students are working, I will walk around and formatively assess student understanding.

Now that we have worked on identifying theme throughout the text, I want students to analyze how characters influence the them and vice versa.  This activity will demonstrate how all components of a text work together (RL.9-10.3).   This video, character develops theme and vice versa, explains why I teach this important skill.  


5 minutes

At the end of class, students will write one question on the back of their page.  This question will be a lingering question about the assignment, about Night or about a previously learned skill.  Students will then turn in their assignment.  

Questioning is a great way for students to develop critical thinking skills.  I want students to constantly be questioning the text, their own learning, and even, me.  I often ask students to ask a question because it helps deeper their thinking and it is a great formative assessment tool for me.