Day two, we are using Harvard's Visible Thinking Routines from Project Zero to continue our inquiry into the events of the novel as things heat up. Amir is headed into battle with is past and with Assef, so these discussions and later the notes (see next section) are critical for students to stay dialed into the story.
Today's routine is Think Puzzle Explore: Visible Thinking from Harvard which is typically used at the beginning of a unit. Here, I am using it because Amir is on the threshold of a monumental change--confronting Assef; confronting the past--and it makes sense for us to take a broad view of the significance of this moment from the standpoint of the evolution of Amir's character (RL.9-10.3) and from a structural view (RL.9-10.5), since the plot of the novel has been gearing us up for this event for nearly 300 pages!
This is meant to be a quick discussion starter, and I will ask:
As Amir goes back to face his past, what do you Think about? What puzzles you? What do you want to explore?
In responding, I will ask students who have read ahead not to give out any spoilers!
Today's notes are a continuation of yesterday's lesson, so please see, but the difference will be that our follow-up discussion will be a bit longer, and I expect to hear, at least briefly, from each student at least once.
Again, as time permits, I will close class with time for students to read The Kite Runner silently. This important maintenance work in order to keep the joy alive! Plus, we are entering into some key scenes, and I want the students to all be dialed in to the discussions. Further, there is a bit of a range of reading speeds in class, and some students are well ahead of these scenes in the novel, and some are behind. I wanted to complete the class notes as a way of coming to a shared understanding of key scenes and moments--of course, I differentiated which parts I assigned to which pairings of students in class, as I wanted them to write about a scene that is familiar to them--and then the students could progress to their reading at whatever point of entry is personally relevant.
I think it is very much possible that a teacher could switch the order of these two activities with a different rationale, and I would be curious to hear what you have done with these middle chapters, especially with average-level readers!