Class begins with a quick write activity. The students are asked to write about the aspects of the society in the novel they feel are utopian and then justify with evidence their feelings. In all, the students are given about 3 minutes to write their individual responses. While students complete this task, I make my way throughout the room to stamp the Reading Assignment 1 questions in their Novel booklet for completion.
Once this time is up, I ask the students to pair up with a person they have not spoken to recently. I like to have the students continue cultivating relationships with classmates throughout the year, not just the kids they speak with on a daily basis. In their pairs, they each read their writing aloud and then have a couple minutes to talk about similarities and differences, as well as any disagreement determined (as necessary). I give the students five minutes in all for the share-outs.
Once we have completed this task, I have the students return to their seats and we do a quick review of the homework. I have the students read the questions aloud and pick other students to answer. The questions in the booklet are more related to general comprehension, so the answers do not tend to vary much from student to student. Most of the more in-depth analysis and thinking happens in activities and writing tasks. I provide these questions in the booklet to help students stay focused and on track as they develop a strong foundation to build their ideas and interpretations upon.
After reviewing Reading Assignment 1, I talk to the students about character. We have worked throughout the year, so far, analyzing character types and character development. As we start really getting into the novel, I feel it is important to bring our previous work back to the forefront of the students' minds. I do this by asking the students to share with me different characters that stood out to them in the literature we have read up to this point. As students mention a character, I ask the other students to tell me everything they can about him/her/it. We look at the characters in a technical way, identifying whether they are static or dynamic, round or flat, and protagonist, antagonist, or other. We follow that with character traits and relationships to and with other characters. Students bring up characters from Squeaky ("Raymond's Run") to Mr. Mead ("The Pedestrian") and beyond. As we continue to discuss, I ask the students to tell me what they think a foil is. Some students look at me, bewildered, and ask if I am referring to aluminum foil that is used to preserve leftovers. Other students go down a very different path, referring to the math procedure, F.O.I.L. I love the attempts, and celebrate each one. I follow their ideas with a short note that I ask them to add to previous notes taken in the year where we talked about and gave presentations on the various types of characters in this lesson. I share with them that a foil is a character in a story that contrasts with another character (commonly a main character), usually illuminating or highlighting one or more of their attributes/traits. I ask the students to think back to past literature they have read, either in this class or anywhere, and look for stories that include a foils. The students immediately gravitate to books like The Hunger Games. They mention characters like Katniss and President Snow as great examples. I wrap up this portion of the day by asking students to be diligent as they are reading in order to find use of foils in our novel.
I give the remainder of the class period to the students in order to complete the vocabulary practice for Reading Assignment 2 from inside their novel study booklets. I will be stamping this activity for completion to begin class the next day.