WANTED! Understanding of Archetypes (Character Analysis Day 2)

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SWBAT gather information from a relevant digital source in order to collaborate and demonstrate understanding of characterization and character archetypes through "Wanted Posters".

Big Idea

Cowboys and Braves and Ranchers, OH MY! Let's break down character archetypes of the Old West!

Introduction & Welcome: It's National Chocolate Mint Day!

3 minutes

It's Chocolate Mint Day, and I take a moment to welcome students and share Mint Chocolate Chip may be tied with vanilla for my favorite iced cream flavor. We'll come back to favorite chocolate on Friday, for the "Friday Favorite Poll." 

As always, the Daily Holiday serves to draw students in, building student ownership and a sense of community in the class. 

A Resource: TVTropes.Org

5 minutes

Students have been struggling with the concept of archetypes as a way to categorize and analyze the traits of characters, how they interact with other characters, and how they advance plot or develop the theme (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3). In order to provide students with a resource from which they can begin to search for characters who fall into the same archetype contrast one-note, flat characters with well-rounded characters, I provide students with the informal site, tvtropes.org.

I project the page for the Forty-Niner, using it as a demonstration of how TVTropes is laid out, the additional examples of characters who share the traits of Uncle Billy from "The Outcasts of Poker Flat." We have been using the Forty-Niner irregularly because most of the students are familiar with Stinky Pete of "Toy Story 2," but not as familiar with the history of the California Gold Rush; this allows me to reference an archetype they know, but may not realize they know. 

I let students know that the archetypes provided on the Character "Wanted Poster" Project cal all be searched on TVTropes, providing students a chance to gather relevant information from a digital source, as well as assess the usefulness of TVTropes in identifying archetypes (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8), as it is an informal wiki, and not a vetted academic source. I stress to students this fact, and that because of its informal nature, TVTropes should not be considered a "reliable source" for research, but can be a good place to start for ideas. Additionally, I stress that students should stick to the given pages for links and information, and avoid the habit of "link surfing" as they look at the site. Their goal is to find examples of the archetypes with which they are familiar, and include those in their poster.

As students complete their posters today, the focus should be on the archetypes, as yesterday, the focus was on characterization.

Character Analysis Posters: A Small Group Investigation, Continued

40 minutes

Students continue yesterday's look at the characters and archetypes in "Outcasts of Poker Flat" and "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" (as noted above, the focus today is on archetypes), Students return to their work groups to complete their image of the character; "the good, the bad, and the ugly" of him or her; and examples fitting one of their character archetypes. As noted yesterday, for our purposes, the good is what redeeming quality the characters have, the bad is the reason they are an outcast, and the ugly is their fate. Students need to cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support their analysis of the character's traits (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1), in order to identify, analyze, and include on this poster how the character interacts with other characters, advances the plot, and contributes to the regional, Western local color of Harte's writing  (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3).   

I provide students with markers, colored pencils, the paper for the poster, and any other materials they may need. 

As they work today, students may use their personal electronic devices (phones) or the classroom computers to use TVTropes as a resources.

As the continue to collaborate, students are able to share their reactions and understanding of the story, stimulating a thoughtful exchange of ideas (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1a). Working in collaborative groups, students have the opportunity to respond to diverse perspectives if they arise, qualify or justify their own views if challenged, and make new connections or reactions to others in light of their peers' perspectives (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d), especially as they seek to understand the story and the characterization of each outcast.

As students work, I circulate the room and ask students to explain what they have developed so far, in order to provide them (and me) with a "preview" of tomorrow's presentations, in which they will be expected clearly present their information, supporting evidence, and reasoning. In this video, students explain they chose to base their image of John Oakhurst on Bret Harte, the author, as he was a closest model they could find. In this video, I challenge students to explain their choices, so as to provide complete information to the class. 

Two-Minute Warning: Wrap-Up & Reminders, Homework

2 minutes

With two minutes remaining, I ask students to wrap up their posters if they have not already, to divide the labor to complete--for homework--anything they have not as of yet completed, to return my supplies, and to return to their seats. I remind students that tomorrow, they will be presenting these in class.

I also remind students that during the presentation of their information, supporting evidence, the class will be expected to take notes in order to develop a study resource for "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4).

I remind students they should be reading "Naturalism,Jack London's biography and "The Law of Life," looking for examples of how "The Law of Life" utilizes the characteristics of Naturalism provided in the reading.  This reading is due once we have completed the presentations. "The Law of Life" is a short story, and I feel confident students will be able to make time to "fit it in" on their own over the next few days.