Prove it with Textual Evidence: Miss Havisham’s Death Was no Accident

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SWBAT come to class prepared and explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from the text to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas on events in chapter 49.

Big Idea

You think that Miss Havisham wanted to die. Can you convince me?

Note to the Teacher

Today is an early release day, so the period is shortened. It is also activities week, a time when we are shown a student-produced video in A block about the upcoming events. It's informative and important, but shortens the class even further. I only have about 30 minutes of time in learning today.

Getting Started

5 minutes

We will start class today by taking out the homework. As this is the routine, they know to begin this way, but instead of collecting the work right away or reading it, I will simply glance at each desk to make sure that everyone has something to work with during class. Last night, they were asked whether Miss Havisham purposely lit herself on fire or whether it was an accident. They had to prove their point of view with textual evidence. We are going to have a very abbreviated debate according to their conclusions. 

Let's Debate

15 minutes

Calling this a debate is probably too generous. But I want to show how important textual evidence is when answering any analytical question. I anticipate that while most of the class will decide that Miss Havisham committed suicide, there will be some holdouts, who think it's an accident, more because that's what they think than because they found evidence to prove it. I can even anticipate which students will be on which side of the argument (probably about 5 students total), but I don't want to call them out. That just wouldn't be effective. Instead, it will be more effective to let their peers demonstrate what close-reading can do for an argument (SL.9-10.1a). 

I will give each side a couple of minutes to word their argument. During this time, I will try to focus each group, helping them combine their ideas into reasonable arguments. I will keep telling them to consider audience; they need to know what to say to the specific people on the other side of the room. They also need to nominate speakers: who is going to present the arguments aloud?

Then I will let the "accident side" of the argument begin the debate. They will explain why they came to their conclusions, hopefully citing textual evidence (RL.9-10.1). Then, I will ask the opposing side to present their argument. Here's a clip from class. After each side presents, I will ask if anyone has any questions for the opposing side (SL.9-10.3) or if they changed their point of view, and if so, why (SL.9-10.1d)? I am hoping that a thorough understanding of the chapter and characters will act as a guide and will drive home my point. 

What would you do?

10 minutes

Before we read the next chapter, I want to allow time to reflect upon Pip's perspective (RL.9-10.3). We spent a lot of time focusing on Miss Havisham's state of mind, but in her last moments, she asked a great deal of Pip: forgiveness. I want to get a sense of what the students think of that request and whether they think Pip should indeed forgive her (W.9-10.10). I am hoping to have enough time to have them write first and then discuss, but we may only have time for discussion (SL.9-10.1). 

Wrapping Up

2 minutes

This is the start of a long weekend, so I will not see my freshmen again for four days. Therefore, they have a significant amount of homework. For homework, students will read chapters 50, 52, and 53. Each is short, but important.