We open class with a welcome to the "International Day of Awesomeness," and I quote the class' favorite John Green's slogan, "Don't forget to be awesome.".
To get students thinking critically today, we start with today's "Monday Mindbender" brain teaser with the class, projecting it on the front of the board. A spacial reasoning puzzle, today's Monday Mind Bender is copyright Mensa, and as such is not reproduced here. However, free brainteasers can be found at "A Daily Brainteaser."
Daily Holidays and Monday Mindbenders encourage a sense of student ownership and community in the classroom, and the Mindbenders nurture a bit of healthy competition as well. Students do take pride in correct answers, and provide teachable moments when they have incorrect answers.
We begin with plot review in order to build the foundation of student comprehension, strong and thorough evidence students draw in order to support their analysis of the text and the inferences they will draw from it (RL.9-10.1).
In order to get students up and moving--there is a strong connection between physical movement and learning--as well as giving the students a chance to take ownership of the material, I ask the students to come to the board and write their answers to the questions, as well as initial their responses. The questions on the study guide ask for textual evidence, which we then use to support the student's interpretation of the novel (RL.9-10.1).
Once the questions have been answered, we go through the responses in a collaborative, but teacher-led discussion giving students a chance to express their ideas (SL.9-10.1). Each student who wrote an response is called on to explain their answers, qualifying and/or justifying their understanding, and making new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented by others (SL.9-10.1d).
As we will be exploring F. Scott Fitzgerald's complex characterization in depth, I especially focus student's discussion on the question, "What facts do you know about Nick, the narrator? What do you infer about him?" as we discuss his origins, his "opportunities," and his "reservation of judgement", with a focus how he interacts with the other characters over the course of the two chapters (RL.9-10.3).
Students receive participation credit for answering or developing at least two answers over the course of our study of "The Great Gatsby," ensuring each students gets multiple opportunities to share their answers, and motivating them to do so (with their grade). In addition providing movement and ownership for the students, this review provides me with an opportunity to gauge student comprehension, as well as motivation to get up, to share in class, and to complete their assignment.
With two minutes remaining, I pass out the review guides for Chapter 3 and Chapter 4, and I assign students to complete the chapters for three days from now (Thursday), when we will review in the same format as we did today. By reading interdependently, students are challenged to come to their own conclusions about the novel, which we will address in class.