Reviewing Plot, Characters, and Theme to Prepare for Assessment

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SWBAT identify key plot details and respond to higher-level questions about theme and character in the first half of the novel The Kite Runner by engaging in test preparation strategies.

Big Idea

We turn towards preparing for a summative assessment of the first half of The Kite Runner to gauge how well students are progressing with the challenging text.

Quiz: prepare for the test

10 minutes

Split Quiz. One technique for formative assessment of students is to do a split quiz.  In the case of the quiz in the day-before-the-test lesson, the quiz itself KITE RUNNER quiz 225 counts for very little relative to the Big Test the next day, yet the quiz can be an excellent way to communicate with students about their level of preparation and what type of review they need to do for the multiple-choice segment of the test (RL.9-10.1).


Here's how the split quiz works:  I have the students complete both sides of it (which are identical).  They rip the quiz in half, score both copies, turn in a copy to me, and keep the other copy as a review guide.  Simple!  [note: Many thanks to Rick Womelli for this idea which was presented at a differentiated instruction conference.]  The vertical format makes it sort of a bookmark, too, which is hopefully a convenient reminder that they can slip into their books.  I've used the split quiz numerous times over the past couple of years and find that it helps students to have a tangible reminder of how far they have progressed toward mastery.  

Variation.  I did not select to do it this time, but often, I'll have the students write a note to self on the back of the split quiz.  For example, I might ask, What type of studying can you commit  to doing for this test?  What will help you do well with this tomorrow?  They will then write a response of the back of their copy of the split quiz, and I think this puts them a bit closer to completing the studies that they need to do.

Discussion Review

25 minutes

Review Key Content.  The summative assessment (TEST!) tomorrow will also address student thinking along thematic lines (RL.9-10.2) and character-analysis lines (RL.9-10.3).  I find the students do a poor job of preparing for these types of questions since they are so expansive, and we sometimes receive responses from students that are bathed in generalities.  Instead, I want to use this review session to briefly activate their memories on key examples that they can use, and I also want to talk through with them how they can create a study sheet at home.  Finally, several of the questions guide students to think backward in our course, to make larger connections across units and tests.  This is important because we are further along in our school year and have more to consider in our collective experience. 


I will ask.

1. Compare Amir to his Father (RL.9-10.3).  What is one flaw and one positive personality trait that they both have in common?  To take notes on this, I will write a quick t-chart on the board.

2. How is Afghanistan’s culture expressed in the book thus far (RL.9-10.6)?  What culture terms can you recall from our study sheet?  And while you don't have to memorize the sheet, try to commit 5-10 words to memory so that your short answers tomorrow are more specific.

3. Dehumanization RL.9-10.2) occurs in the Afghanistan, the U.S., and again in Afghanistan (as Rahim Khan tells the story).  What examples of dehumanization can you remember, and what are located on your  lunar notes?  How can you use these notes to study for the test?

4. Point of View.  The last couple of chapters are told by Rahim Khan.  How does this change of narrators affect the story?  Why do you think that Hosseni made this choice?

5. Earlier in the year, we discussed the importance of persistence (RL.9-10.2) and being willing to work through failures.  Explain whether you think Amir has this quality of persistence (not giving up).  Do you think Amir is persistent by nature or becomes persistent in the story?

6. Identity means coming to better understand who you are (RL.9-10.2; RL.9-10.3).  Compare Amir to either Junior in Absolutely True Diary or to Jin Wang/Danny in American Born Chinese.  Do you think that Amir has developed a strong identity?  How might he stack up compared to other characters that we have studied?  I will do a quick concept web/map of what the students say and encourage them to study these notes for these.


Meta-study Discussion.  How can you use the various notes sheets to study for the test?  Where do you study?  What makes for a successful study session?  How do you go for an A on an essay test instead of just settling for a C (or lower)?

SSR: Read and Interview

20 minutes

During the last several minutes of class, students will have time to read the  novel, and I will take this time to interview students who might be having trouble finishing the book or who might have had some trouble achieving well on previous quizzes or discussions (RL.9-10.2).  The goal will be to encourage them to do well and to challenge them to take up the mantle of being a good student in reading a challenging text (RL.9-10.10)!  This is a key moment for differentiation as we lead up to an important assessment event. 

I will ask (individual students, depending on need):

1.) How can you get caught up with the reading?  What seems to be working for you?

2.) How will you use the study guides that we have created together in class?  How does your answer match your preferred learning mode?  For example, if you benefit from auditory learning, can you take the time to be quizzed by a family member or to explain what you know?

3.) Do you need any extra help after school or during study hall?  Who can help you with this at home?   What online tools do you have (audiobook on youtube, etc.)?