In this lesson segment, the students take quick notes on the plot device used by Bradbury (board notes 12-12). In a different unit with a different focus, this plot graphing could take an entire period, but the focus on this lesson is RL9-10.4, which focuses on Bradbury's language choices and in unpacking the figurative language. Since the students are having trouble comprehending the text on a literal level (some students, that is), it is important to get everyone on the same page, to talk through the overall movement of the text forward. I decided to do this via a short graph of the plot that I introduced yesterday. The point of this graph is to give students an overarching understanding and to begin to lace in some of the figurative language, so you will see short snippets of quotes written on it, and also labels for various symbols also mentioned.
This is our third day in which the students would be presenting their ideas on the document camera (Base Groups Analysis pp.30-60 F451). These ideas should be specific textual examples of language choices by Bradbury as he carefully selects words and phrases that have a high emotional valence (high affective connotation).
Two days ago, the class began showing their ideas on the document camera. I did differentiate their work by assigning tasks appropriate to each of the students’ levels. I am hoping that each of the student pairs who present will be ready to identify and explain the figurative language well (SL.9-10.1)
It is always stressful for the students to be at the document camera making presentations of their own work; it's also taxing on their attention spans to listen to other students, but it is a great way to see what types of literary meanings they are building on their own, with a peer support. I can also ask q & a to take the discussion up a level.
The goal of this lesson is for students to show their understanding of figurative language through explaining strong connotative language. I plan to ask students repeatedly which particular words have a strong feeling or "carry strong connotations" (RL.9-10.4) The students have been seeming to do this more and more independently, and they often seem to be able to explain how these word choices create symbolism and other literary patterns.
In this section, I will model expert reading of the text with a strong oral interpretation (video: Whole Class Reading). I typically like to have the students read in pairs, but several of them commented to me yesterday that they like to listen to the audiobook at home, so I will provide them with some nice listening and stop occasionally to see how they are understanding.
I will stop periodically and ask about character insights (RL.9-10.3) with such questions as Why do you think the character does this? How do you think the character feels about this and why? I will also stop and point out strongly connotative words (RL.9-10.4) which are a consistent feature in Bradbury's effusive prose.
In this way, I hope that the reading will continue to be a pleasure for the students. They have expressed concerns that the book is almost too difficult for them (RL.9-10.10). By hearing my oral interpretation of the text and some guiding questions along the way, I am hoping to scaffold a more informed and enjoyable reading for them when they do it independently.
I plan to finish class by having students take stock of where they are through a few discussion prompts. As of right now, they are struggling with the book, but in yesterday’s class that began to improve, and in today’s class, it also should improve as the students make their thinking more visible. I plan to set them to reading at home with independence.
I will ask:
What makes you successful in reading this book? What parts have you enjoyed?
What gets in the way? What can you do at home if you are finding the reading hard to understand?
Is there any kind of resource that we can post on our class's page on google+ that you might find helpful as a fix-up strategy?
For homework, the students will continue with 10-15 pages per night. I post the reading schedule on the board and even give them little bookmarks with dates and page numbers. (Some students have a different edition of the book for some reason, so I work with them individually to adjust the schedule.)