When students enter, they find white dry erase boards at the center of their tables. I have the students count off as 1s and 2s. The 1s will have Mildred and the 2s will have Clarisse and are to complete a circle map that focuses on the traits and experiences of that character. I give the students 3 minutes to work on their circle maps as I go through and stamp the vocabulary assignment from the Novel booklet that students were to complete in the previous class or as homework.
Once this time has passed, I ask the students to share with me some traits and experiences they wrote down for Mildred. They share such as how she seems detached from her husband, that she appears overly connected to or dependent on the people in the parlor walls, for example. Once we have a solid list that the students feel genuinely represents their thoughts and ideas, I ask them to tell me what they feel the most important pieces are. As kids make suggestions, I ask the others to show thumbs up or thumbs down. Items/Concepts that get a majority of the students to give a thumbs up are then circled to denote them as being somehow more important. We repeat this process for Clarisse in exactly the same way. Some things the kids share include the fact that she seems to be very outgoing and friendly, but is considered antisocial in this society, and that she seems very intelligent, especially for her age. This process takes about 10 minutes altogether.
I conclude this portion of the lesson by asking the students to look at our lists, focusing especially on the items that we circled to label as being the most important, in order to see if there are any pieces that are in contrast to one another. I conclude this activity by asking the students to decide whether or not they feel these two characters are foils for one another based on the evidence we were able to compile.
I give the students the remainder of the class period to work on the reading assignment, which is to finish the first section of the novel, The Hearth and the Salamander. Students are unlikely to complete this section of reading in the time allotted in this class period. I stop them about a minute before the class period ends to offer my suggestion that they complete any of the questions in the novel study booklet that they can, rather than putting it off and having to do it all at once.