Getting "Moody" by Analyzing Word Choices in "The Most Dangerous Game"

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SWBAT compare the treatment of mood created in "The Most Dangerous Game" and a movie clip of the story by charting images and sounds.

Big Idea

Authors manipulate mood and students discover how, by collecting evidence

Do Now

10 minutes

For the "Do Now" today, I am asking my students to complete an anticipation guide for some topics in the story, "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell.  I found the anticipation guide here. I am choosing to have them do this anticipation guide because it will motivate them to think about these topics as we read, write about, and discuss the text. After they complete the anticipation guide, I will ask students to talk to a partner about their opinions and compare them.  This is an opportunity for them to share and justify their perspectives (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d). They can also question their partners' ideas in order to make new connections to the topic. Check out this video of a group of students discussing their opinions on the topics.

Building Knowledge

15 minutes

In this part of the lesson, I will model how I read and chart examples (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1) of figurative language about the setting on a T Chart in order to determine the mood that these descriptions create (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4). On the left side of the chart, I will model how I want my students to chart examples of imagery, metaphors, similes, and personification that describes the setting.

I will explain to students that they will chart as much as possible on the left before writing anything on the right. This is because they need to determine the mood after charting the evidence.  I will model with the first page of the text and students will chart on their own paper as I chart on the Smart Board. For now, we will leave the right side blank until we have read a bit more, but I might speculate on the mood based on the evidence I have so far--just so that they see where the lesson is leading. Based on the lessons we have had so far, I'm guessing (not assuming because I know how that can turn out)  that they will breeze through this in the application section. I think this is a good hypothesis, but we'll see.

The flipchart shows some of the examples of figurative language that I modeled as well as some of the ones that students helped to chart. In order to view the flipchart, download the free ActivInspire Software at the Promethean Planet site.


Application: Charting Evidence about The Setting from the Text

20 minutes

After reading the first page and charting the details about the setting, I will ask my students to work with a partner to continue reading the next two pages of the story and charting textual evidence about the setting (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1). I am having them work with a partner to chart textual evidence because I think two heads charting examples are better than one. In other words, the tree with more branches may yield more fruit! I want my students to have as much evidence as possible in order to determine the best mood word(s) for the right side of their chart. Essentially, on the right side of the chart, I am asking my students to determine the meaning of the figurative language (about the setting) in order to identify the mood it creates (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4).

Application: Charting Evidence from the Video Clip

20 minutes

For this section of the lesson, I am having my students view a  nine minute clip of "The Most Dangerous Game from the 1932  Cooper and Schoedsack production of the movie on Youtube.

This was a suggested resource in our Harford County Public Schools curriculum document. I am using it because it will gives students a chance to analyze the representation of a key scene from two different artistic mediums (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7). I linked the movie at the bottom of the T Chart in the flipchart, so I will be able to get to it easily during the lesson. I am only showing the first 9 minutes of the movie because this is the part in which the setting is developed. I am showing only the first nine minutes because I don't want the movie to be a substitute for reading (as students often think), so I am limiting the viewing to just the clip that will help students meet the objective. After all, this is English, not Movie Watching Class!

As students watch the clip, they will chart images and sounds used by the writer/director of the movie to establish the setting. I am having them chart this in the bottom section of the T Chart they were working on earlier.

After the video, I am having students turn and talk for about two minutes about the images and sounds they charted (from the clip) and the mood the images and sounds create.  I am also asking them to compare the mood in the story to the mood in the movie clip. I am having them do this because this is how we get to the "nitty gritty" of the objective, and I will be asking them to write about this in the closure. In this conversation, my students will be discussing and sharing their charts (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1a) to justify what they say.



10 minutes

For the closure portion of the lesson, students will respond at the bottom of their charts to the following question:

"Compare the description of the setting and the mood it creates in the movie to the sights and sounds in the movie and the mood created. Use details from both the text and the movie to explain your comparison."

I am having my students write this response because it will tell me whether or not they understand the impact of word choices AND whether they can compare the treatment of a key scene in a written text and a movie (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7). This writing component will also serve as an assessment of their ability to develop their responses with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2b).


3 minutes

For homework, I am having students read pages 44-51 of "The Most Dangerous Game" and having them complete text dependent questions. These text dependent questions were provided in the Harford County Public School Curriculum document as suggested material and were adapted from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). I am having them complete these questions because they will aid in their comprehension of the text and they will need to use what they gather in responding to these questions in the next lesson as we explore more about the complex characters in the text.