Write to Right: Writing an Introduction and Casting the "Right" Vote in "The Most Dangerous Game"

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SWBAT draft the introductory paragraph of a comparison contrast essay; SWBAT evaluate characters' advantages by participating in an online poll

Big Idea

Students "write" before they vote to see who is "right" about characters in "The Most Dangerous Game."

Do Now

2 minutes

For the "Do Now" today, I am asking students to take out their planning documents for their comparison essays. This will include their Venn diagrams with thesis statements, and the outline template I gave them in the previous lesson. We will use all of these documents today as we draft the introduction of the essay.

I'll also give them a preview of the rest of the day by telling them we will also do fun interactive voting activity about the characters in "The Most Dangerous Game" with their cell phones later in the lesson.

Building Knowledge

15 minutes

During this section of the lesson, I'll tell my students that I want to give them some time to draft the introductions for their comparison contrast essays. The assignment is to write a fully developed essay, comparing two characters from "The Gift of the Magi," by O. Henry, and "The Necklace," by Guy de Maupassant. They will either compare the two main male characters or the two main female characters.

Before writing today, I will be giving them a menu of  suggested items that they can include in the introductions. I am choosing to provide this menu because I have noticed that students tend to struggle with writing the introduction, and I do not want them to feel defeated before we get into the critical part of the writing. I'll have a list of elements of an introduction paragraph started already, and have them add to the list based on their memory of what they included in the introduction of their first essay written a couple of months ago. I will also caution them that they should never merely write sentences that respond to the items in the list. After all, when ordering from a menu, it would be gluttonous to order everything! On the contrary, they should organize their ideas so that the introduction hooks the reader, gives sufficient background information and shares the blueprint (thesis statement) for the rest of the essay (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2a).


Appplication: Writing the Introduction

45 minutes

In this part of the lesson, I am asking my students to spend time writing their introduction (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2a). Before I release them to write, I will remind them that the thesis statement that they created last class will be the last sentence in their introduction. All of the information that they provide before that, will be building up to the thesis.

Forty-five minutes is a substantial hunk of writing time, but I am allowing them class time to do the writing because this is a great opportunity for me to provide additional teaching and feedback to students that need it. Here's an example of an introduction written during the class writing time: Student Intro. They will be reading and re-reading their introductions during this writing process. I also think this time is important because they will likely be revising and editing their ideas (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5) as they go along, and I want them to have sufficient time for this.

Application: Using Evidence to Evaluate

10 minutes

After they have spent 45 minutes writing their introductions, I will transition to the reading objective for this part of the application. We are changing gears a bit to do a fun activity with Polleverywhere.com., and part of the lesson connects to the story we have been reading, "The Most Dangerous Game," by Richard Connell. I have chosen to break up the lesson into a writing and reading section because I want them to see that reading and writing are connected. Even though they are not writing about the same story we are reading (this time), the analysis that we do transfers between the disciplines. This is also a good way to break up instructional activities to keep students motivated and engaged.

I am using http://www.polleverywhere.com/ because it is an interactive way to determine how much students understand about a topic or to gauge their opinions. It can also be used to help them showcase vocabulary that they have learned.

I created the poll, and students will use their cell phones to vote. Okay, Okay, I know that cell phones are outlawed at school, but for educational purposes, I'm prepared to make an exception.

The responses to this question will come up on the screen as a bar graph.

The first question is :

1) Who do you think will win the most dangerous game?

Here's a screenshot of the responses to the first question: bar graph screen shot

I am asking students to vote on this question, just to get their opinions about how they think the story will end. This is an opportunity to take a vote on a key issue (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1b). I will ask a few students to share (orally) why they think a particular character will win based on evidence (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1) from what they have already read in the story.

The other two questions are:

2) What are the advantages of Rainsford?

3) What are the advantages of General Zaroff?

The responses to these questions will come up on the screen as a word cloud. The word clouds are an informal way to gauge students' use of academic words and phrases that demonstrate college and career readiness (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.6). I am asking these questions to make sure they understand the plot, motivations, and actions of each of the two main characters in the story.

Here are a couple of videos of the word clouds that were generated during this lesson.

Poll-Word Cloud 1

Poll-Word Cloud 2



10 minutes

To wrap up the lesson today, I am asking students to re-read their introductions once more with a critical eye to see if they need to make any quick on the spot revisions or edits (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5). I am having them re-read their introductions now because the more they read their drafts, the more my students will think about whether the introduction communicates exactly what they want to say.

I will then explain and model the homework assignment. I am asking my students to read the rest of "The Most Dangerous Game," by Richard Connell for homework.

As they read the story, I want them to use a T Chart to make notes about the perceptions and actions of the two main characters. I am asking them to do this because I want them to read the ending with a purpose (understand the actions and reactions of complex characters),  (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3) and this task falls right in line with the unit theme: Actions and Reactions. As we have read the last couple of stories and poems, we have always brought the conversation back to the essential question: How do perceptions affect actions?  I will also ask them to complete the after reading portion of the anticipation guide that we completed before reading.

This sample of student work shows a student's response to the homework assignment.