Students are welcomed to class with birthday wishes for Emily Dickinson, American poet and well-known user of the thematic ideas of identity in her poem. I use this to connect to Holden's own attempts to establish his identity and start class with the Crash Course video on Dickinson's poems. I then provide students with a handout of Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop for Death--" and "I Heard a Fly Buzz, When I Died--" (the later mentioned in the video). We will read these in class, and discuss how the idea of identity emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details (RL.9-10.2), as well as review how the poems reflect the elements of the Romantic period.
By exposing students to Dickinson's writing, the get one specific option for text-to-text comparisons, and expose them to additional poetry from the Romantic/Gothic/Transcendental era. We will revisit Dickinson's poems in detail later (see lesson: "Emily Dickinson: Simplicity of Language--A Life in Isolation")
I ask students to consider the big idea for today: how genuine are they when interacting with the peers, with adults they know, with students they do not know, and with adults they do not know. A big idea question such as this helps focus the students and, along with different students' perspectives on each roles, provide variety for the students from lit circle discussion to lit circle discussion. Each role is being filled by a different student that the previous discussion.
As with our first literature circle discussion, I provide a brief reminder of the order of and direction for sharing their role assignments (see "Catching onto Holden: Independent SSR and Role Assignments" for these directions), students are free to move into their groups and begin their discussion on Holden Caulfield in Chapters 6-10 of the novel, especially how he relates to other characters, develops the plot of the story through his actions, and reveals the themes through his relationships and interactions: adulthood/growing up, elitism/prejudice, and trust (RL.9-10.3). Today, students share their group activities. The Discussion Director, Connector, and Character Sorter present strong and thorough textual support in order to analyse the Holden's characterization in novel and draw inferences about him from their reading (RL.9-10.1), students who have completed the Illustrator role present evidence and inferences from the novel in order to illustrate a scene or concept (again, RL.9-10.1) and students who have completed the Vocab Finder role will present the definition of words in context, verifying the meaning of terms from the vocab list and using the terms appropriately (RL.9-10.4). Students participate in a collaborative discussion, sharing their work and responding to each other to build on ideas and express their own clearly and persuasively (SL.9-10.1). Students have prepared for discussions by reading the assigned sections of the novel and draw on that preparation by using evidence from the novel in their role assignments in order to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas (SL.9-10.1a) . In these discussions, the assigned roles, especially “Discussion Director,” allow students to propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas (SL.9-10.1c). Through sharing their ideas and responses to the role assignments, students respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives and justify their own views and understanding, making new connections in light of the ideas their peers present (SL.9-10.1d). Students draw from their previous discussions and individual reading to move the discussion forward.
As students discuss, I circulate the room to monitor their progress and conversation. After they have completed their discussions, I ask students to turn their work in the the group's assigned folder, and plan for and work on their board game projects until all groups are done.
Students are working in groups to test themselves and each other, exchange ideas and gain a deeper understanding of the novel, and collaborate on the final board game product. Along the way, I can provide guidance and clarification, but the primary impact is for students to take ownership of the material and product.
Once all groups have completed their discussions, I open the floor for any questions and discussions the students may have regarding the novel so far.
With five minutes remaining in class, I call the students back to their assigned seats, and back into rows. I ask if they have any questions or thoughts on Holden, and remind them that we will be looking closely at his development and comparisons to other characters tomorrow.