This unit has focused specifically on analyzing figurative language in Fahrenheit 451. The lessons in this unit have been an adventure and an exercise in trying a new kind of focus for me as a teacher. Therefore, I am using this lesson to ask the students how it went on an affective level and to see how they are processing what they have learned (SL.9-10.1). It's pretty exciting to see how they have come along, but it's vitally important to gauge how they are feeling about their work. I initially selected the figurative language standard (RL.9-10.4) for this novel because Bradbury has such a strong focus on strongly affective word choices. As such, I would not start the school year with such a treatment, as we needed to focus first quarter on the more basic standards primarily (RL.9-10.1, 2, 3). Of course, we hit many other standards along the way, but the point of emphasis in this unit was selected along with the timing here at the end of 2nd quarter on this challenging standard (RL.9-10.4).
I plan to ask a series of semi-structured interview type questions and then do a google-doc survey that will push students to come up with some examples (SL.9-10.1). The goal will be to gauge affect, metacognition, and epistemology. I am using the google doc survey (specfically a google form) because it tabulates responses in a handy table that I can then have at my fingertips as I plan second semester. I have selected the three broad categories of inquiry (affect, metacognition, epistemology) by reading the assessment research of Afflerbach and Cho (see chapter in Handbook, linked here).
What was your favorite part of the novel?
To what extent does it relate to today's world? Did it make you think of anything new?
What important insights did you gain about reading figurative language?
What tools or activities helped you the most?
How are we doing as a class in terms of discussion?
How are we doing as a class in terms of writing?
How you you feeling about reading literature now?
How are you progressing in discussion? Anything that I should know about encouraging you in discussion? What makes you feel happy and successful?
What about writing? Anything that I should know about encouraging you in your writing? What makes you feel happy and successful?
The purpose here is to use informal discussion to pre-assess for next semester. We are taking a semester break for exams, so I can be busy about the task of using the responses to these questions to inform my planning... in between grading semester papers! My goal as an instructor is to recruit all of the students to offer substantial opinions (SL.9-10.1) on the range of topics.
Have you read the books, seen the movie?
What do you know about the language, people, politics, etc., of this area?
What questions do you have about the Taliban? Afghan culture? History?
What types of poetry have you read?
Do you enjoy performing, writing, reading poetry? Any favorite poets?
Have you ever heard of Poetry Out Loud?
Have you read Romeo and Juliet? What is your attitude towards the idea of reading Shakespeare?