Let's Hear What You Know: Collaborative Discussion and Reading of A Tale of Two Cities (Day 1 of 2)

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SWBAT participate effectively in collaborative discussions by bringing textual support and higher level interpretive thinking to small group and whole class discussion of A Tale of Two Cities.

Big Idea

Bringing our discussion of A Tale of Two Cities to a higher level of discourse through analytical questioning and dialogue.

Reading Quiz

10 minutes

I will take a different path for a day and give the students a short reading quiz today. I am doing this for a variety of purposes and will likely not count it in the summative category of my grade book (typically reserved for bigger assessments of multiple standards). I am mainly giving this quiz to make sure students know I mean business about keeping up and to make sure that those who are trying to keep up are getting it.

It will be an oral quiz. I will ask them the following questions, both of which represent significant plot points from the section they read over the weekend AND for later in the novel/discussion of text:

  1. Why is Jerry Cruncher angry with his wife? What is she doing?
  2. What is happening at the Old Bailey and to whom?

I will let them use their reading guides for this quiz, both as a way to reward those who took the time to do their homework and as a way to support good reading habits, which suggest that difficult text requires note taking. I do not believe in "gotcha" quizzes and feel like students who take notes should be allowed to use the resources I suggested they use while reading.

Numbered Heads Together Discussion

25 minutes

To synthesize our discussions from last week with the first few chapters of book two, I will ask the students to move into their Faulkner squares and have a numbered heads together discussion (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1) of what we have read so far. These discussions group students into teams of four. Each student will number off within the group, claiming a number, one through four. Each team will also have a team number as well (I have 13 teams). I will then roll a dice to determine what team and which person will answer the question orally.

For each of the following questions, I will allow students five minutes to discuss with their group and write down ideas before leading them through discussion as a class. You might recognize the questions--they were given to the students at the beginning of our reading time a few weeks ago.

  • Dickens was paid per word for his writing. Now that you know this, think about how this impacts his style. What is he doing that is different from other authors that we have read this year?
  • This novel is both a historical fiction and a mystery of sorts. What passages or ideas seem like clues to you? What do you predict will happen based on these clues?
  • The chapter titles (and book titles) are all significant. Choose one chapter title and explain its significance to the story you are reading.

 Throughout the discussion, I will ask students to provide textual support (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1a) to back up their reasoning, which will help me to determine how much they are reading and comprehending from their independent interactions with the text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10).


Read Aloud Book Two, Chapter Three

15 minutes

After we've reviewed where we've been in the story, I will ask the students to return to their seats, hand in all their paperwork and then spend some time reading with them.

I read aloud for a variety of reasons and am selective about what chapters I will read with them over the course of a novel like this.

As you can see on my bookmarks, I plan to read about ten chapters with them over the course of the book. This will allow me to check their comprehensions/reading ability informally along the way and will also help me feel better about their ability to comprehend difficult or really important sections of the text. It is a form of scaffolding as well as a task that requires different kinds of thinking. Most importantly, though, it is an opportunity for me to model my reading strategies for them.

On a side note, I provide bookmarks to students so that they can track progress, keep up with the class if they are gone and for all of us to keep to a schedule when reading a long book. This seems to help as a tool for my students who like to plan ahead, but also works as a means of encouraging them through a tough book. They always know where I will offer them support and where they have independent reading sections, they have reminders about big ideas to watch out for.

I am actually going to take our SSR time today to do this. I'm feeling a time crunch as the semester ends and want to make sure that we get as far as we need to in Tale before we go on break. I feel bad about doing this and am trying really hard to be mindful about building the time in going forward.

Wrap up and Next Steps

5 minutes

As we wrap up class, I will hand out the bookmarks and remind them to read tonight. I will also ask them to see me if they have any lingering concerns about grades as we head into the home stretch of the semester.