To get everyone connected back to our reading, I have my students turn to an elbow partner and discuss what they think Tom's secret might be. A good portion of the readers of this novel will have picked up on the idea that Tom is thinking about attending his own funeral.
In today's lesson, we read chapter 17. Again, choose any reading method that words for you or your students: silent, read aloud, or the audio version.
Once students are done reading, I give them their independent writing assignment.
Here is the prompt:
A good way to understand the point of view of a character in a novel is to put yourself in their position and think about how you would have reacted to an event in the story.
Think about how Aunt Polly, Tom, and Huck felt at the end of the funeral day. Create a diary entry for each character that they would have written after the funeral.
Each entry should begin with "Dear Diary," and be signed with the character's name. Each entry should be approximately half a page. Feel free to make your entry look as authentic as possible with alternate spellings and sentence structures. Include details from the chapter. Be sure to write at least a half a page for each character.
Students have such a good time with this one that I will usually ask for volunteers to read an entry or two before class is over.
I do collect these as a formative assessment. I'm simply looking to see if they were able to connect to the emotions of those characters on the funeral day.