Determining How the Meaning of Words and Phrases Establish the Theme in How it Feels to be Colored Me

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SWBAT determine the theme of the essay How it Feels to be Colored Me by analyzing the author’s use of figurative language.

Big Idea

What does "I have no race, I am me" really mean?


15 minutes

During the prior lesson's Student Learning Activity, students began reading the essay How it Feel to be Colored Me. For the Activator I ask students to finish reading the essay while answering the questions integrated within the text focusing on standard RI.9-10.1.

I check for understanding by circulating among the students asking questions and keeping them focused on the task.

Building Knowledge

20 minutes

Common Core Standard  RL.9-10.4 requires students to determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings as well as analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone. 

There is never enough review with my students so I explain that figurative language is language that communicates ideas beyond the literal meaning of words. Next I'll ask students to look and listen to my demonstrations of either literal or figurative speech.  I then walk to and open the classroom door while saying, "I'm going to walk out into the school's hallway."  I close the door and begin again but this time I open the door and say, "I am walking out into my future success."  I then ask students which was an example of literal speech and which was figurative, and why?

After a short discussion I then explain that the use of figurative language can make descriptions unfamiliar or difficult ideas easier for the reader to understand. The most popular types of figurative language, also referred to as  figures of speech, are similes, metaphors, and symbols. I explain that this essay's author uses vivid figurative language to get her message across to the reader. I  review how figurative language (metaphor, symbolism) can be used effectively to advance theme and how it effects the author's attitude or tone by using examples from the essay as required in standard RI.9-10.4

I use the Cold Call technique to check for understanding by asking random students to define metaphor and symbolism using an example from text.

Student learning Activity

30 minutes

Supporting common core standard RL.9-10.2, determining a theme or central idea of a text, using the essay, How it Feels to be Colored Me, I provide my students with a teacher created (I designed it) graphic organizer for Topic and Theme with the instructions to include evidence and page number to support their chosen theme RI.9-10.1.  Students will also identify quotes that incorporate the use of the figurative language we reviewed during this lesson.

I give students the choice of working individually or with a partner to fill out the graphic organizer. To check for understanding I use guided practice while circulating among the students checking organizers as students locate evidence from the text.

Wrap Up

10 minutes

Group Share:

Using the docucamera, I ask for a few student volunteers to share their theme organizers and discuss why they choice the phrase or metaphor to support the chosen theme?  As the students share SL.9-10.1, I also asked students if needed to fill in examples of the shared evidence in their organizers if it supports their topic and theme.  I believe it is important for my students to understand this is all a learning process and that I believe teaching each other is an essential part of achievement.