Analyzing Main Ideas and First Read for "Monsters"

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Students will be able to analyze a story's plot and word choice by completing a first read, asking questions, and identifying vocabulary words.

Big Idea

Putting a toe into "Monsters" with the first read.

Double Daily Grammar

20 minutes

We didn't have school on Monday, and the bellwork is designed for four days, so today was Double Grammar Day.  It's a holiday all on its own! Party time!

We did some intensive practice with apostrophes to show possession. Some of my students have a hard time with knowing where to place the apostrophe.  Let's consider the word spider.  If something belongs to just one spider, it is spider's.  If something belongs to more than one spider, it is spiders'.  If the sentence is just talking about spiders and nothing belongs to the spiders, then no apostrophe is used.  

 We're working on the difference between a clause and a phrase.  A clause has a subject and a verb, but can't stand on its own.  A phrase may have a subject or verb, but it doesn't have both, and certainly can't stand on its own.

Writing about Main Ideas

20 minutes

 Yesterday students worked with their chosen vocabulary words and re-read the biography about Serling.  Today, they're starting with a quick paragraph about the main ideas in that biography.

I reminded students of the quote in the picture to the left.

I gave students about seven minutes to write their paragraph before sharing in their groups and then with the whole class.





"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" First Read

20 minutes

Today students started reading "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" for the first time.  I gave them about twenty minutes to start reading the play.

I gave them this handout which I'll talk about in tomorrow's lesson in depth.

I also briefly went over the structural differences between a play and the typical stories that they've read.  They both have plots with exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. They both have dialogue. They both have characters that can be protagonists, antagonists, major, minor, static, dynamic, round, and flat. They both have conflicts and suspense and can use flashback and foreshadowing.

However, there are some structural differences.  Dialogue in plays aren't written in sentences with dialogue tags.  They are written with the character's name, a colon, and then the words the character speaks.

Another huge difference is the stage directions.  The stage directions are in italics and can appear anywhere in the play.  Plays often start out with stage directions to describe the setting, but are used throughout the play when the author wants a character to speak in a certain tone or do a certain action. In teleplays, stage directions also include specific instructions for lighting and camera angles.

Many students want to skip the stage directions, so I made sure to explain that they are important.  They give critical information about the setting, character actions, and tone.

The information about stage directions and dialogue are on this Teleplay Reference Sheet.  This is a double-sided reference sheet.  The first page has the information about dialogue and stage directions, which I also talk about in this video. The second page has common literary devices such as foreshadowing, conflict, theme, mood, etc.

Lesson Resources

Today's lesson picture is a quote from the Rod Serling bigraphy that I believe does a great job of summing up Serling's writing career.