Who are these guys? Characterization in chapters 5-7a

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SWBAT sustain reading and continue to explore characterization of Baba, Amir, Hassan, and Assef in the opening chapters of the novel.

Big Idea

We are on an exciting adventure to accurately read (and enjoy!) a 400 page book, but first we must look at characterization.

Hook on Kite Flying

10 minutes
Activating Prior Knowledge on Kites!  A cultural comparison.
I think it's supremely important that the students understanding the importance of kite flying in Afghan culture (RL.9-10.6) at this time, both in and of itself and as a motivator to the characters and their actions in these chapters and in the coming chapters (RL.9-10.3).   I will read an excerpt from the following article and show the clip to the class in order to build up this background knowledge.
I will ask:
Have you ever done a kite duel?  (I have a personal story to share).
What is the coolest kite you've ever flown?  Where?
Have you ever seen these athletes who do kite surfing?  
How is kite flying so important in the story?
I will show:
Two links about kite flying (read & view for fun); I have selected a NYTimes article because this selection exposes students to quality print that they might not otherwise have access or the inclination to get for themselves, and the video was selected because it is high interest. Depending on time availability, I might cut this quick hook down and show only the video, but it is good to have media options, so here you go: 

SSR for chapters 5-7a. This is "The Kite Runner" section! Very key.

15 minutes

Extending Reading/SSR.

I will ask the students to read for a long segment of class (15 min) during which I will pull aside key students who have had trouble on the quizzes and seem to be flagging a bit.  This is a long and challenging book for some, and I want to make sure that I give the right kind of support.  As you look at the attached model for Extending Reading, I am in the top bubble, in which I will interview students during SSR.  

Metacognitive Prompt.

I will also provide a metacognitive prompt at the end of this time, giving students 5 minutes to write.  The goal of that is to allow students to solidify character insights and to let them take the lead (W.9-10.10).  I include the metacognitive prompt here because it is integrated into the reading model that I have designed for this unit, one that brings think-alouds, writing for understanding, and other practices to SSR as well as to other reading methods used.  

How are the characters of Assef, Baba, Rahim Khan, Hassan and Amir developed in this section? What predictions do you have for the storyline?  


Class Discussion of Characterization in chapters 5-7a

20 minutes

Discussion of Assef's character.

I think it's vitally important for the novel as a whole that we understand how awful a bully Assef is and how terrifying he can be.  I will read his character introduction with dramatic flair and let the students' character insights from the story drive the discussion (RL.9-10.3).  The goal here is to actualize Assef's character development but to allow the students to share their inferences. I have split chapter 7 into two parts because the second half of the chapter (7b) contains a very controversial scene, one that I will discuss in my notes tomorrow. I want to make sure that all of the students have the proper foregrounding before reading this section, and understanding that Assef is pure villain is important.  My role in this discussion is to play the role of connector and facilitator, asking students to reflect upon one another's ideas through thoughtful, evidence-based interactions (SL.9-10.1d).