We will start today by reviewing chapters 29 and 33, which they read while I was absent. I want to give them time to talk about how the class went and ask questions about the chapters. Pip's attitude, in these chapters, contrasts with the chapter we will read today, so it's important that they have a solid understanding.
In chapter 35, Pip returns home for his sister's funeral. The night before he leaves to return to London, he has an uncomfortable conversation with Biddy, who has been treating him more coldly than she used to do. When he questions her on her behavior, she predicts that Pip will never return to the forge. In the moment, Pip is appalled at her candor and promises that he will return often to take care of Joe, but the next morning, as Pip leaves, he realizes that Biddy was right all along.
The students will read this chapter aloud using the "popcorn reading" method. The individual reading can read a single paragraph or a few, whatever he or she is comfortable with, and then they pass the reading to someone else, who repeats the process. They are comfortable enough with the language now to read in this format without taking double the amount of time necessary. We will stop intermittently to answer questions and clarify reading. For instance, I will stop early on in Pip's conversation with Biddy to ask about tone(RL.9-10.4): what does it suggest when Biddy only addresses her friend as "Mr. Pip?" The answer to this question will help guide us through the rest of the scene.
We are reading this chapter aloud and in this method because it's important to understand Biddy's role in Pip's growth, as well as her keen perception of him, but that's hard to pick up on when reading at home, silently. Hearing her curt responses to Pip's questions highlights her feelings toward him. Plus, popcorn reading supplies ample opportunity for questions and clarification in between readers. Stopping intermittently will help us in the final section of today's class, where we focus on Pip's reaction to Biddy's apt assessment of him.
I love focusing on a small excerpt of text with students. Here is a sample of how I approach this method with this chapter (RL.9-10.4). The mists rising give the reader a sense of Pip's internal struggle and forces us to react to the choices he makes. Analyzing the symbol of the mist helps us determine theme, which is shaped and refined by mists throughout the text (RL.9-10.2).
This is the first of two classes of the day, so we will continue our discussion, if need be, when we return this afternoon.