Writer's Practice: Analysis of Close Reading & Critical Viewing

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SWBAT write an explanatory paragraph, drawing on the representation of "The Great Gatsby" in film and print, and evaluate another's writing, providing clear feedback by completing a practice, test-prep writing

Big Idea

Connections and Comparisons: Like F. Scott Fitzgerald, students draw from their experiences (in viewing and reading) to demonstrate understanding of the novel.

Introduction & Welcome: It's French Bread Day!

8 minutes

I open class with a welcome to French Bread Day, and hold round two, "The Final Four" of our vote on Girl Scout Cookies. The #1 seed, Samosas (a.k.a Caramel De Lights) face off against the #4 seed, Do-Si-Dos (a.k.a. Peanut Butter Sandwiches), while the #2 and #3 seeds, Thin Mints and Tag-A-Longs (a.k.a. Peanut Butter Patties) face off. 

As with the Daily Holidays, Friday Favorite votes serve to build a sense of community and trust within the classroom, encouraging students to share their thoughts and participate in a wide range of discussions, build on others' ideas, express their own ideas clearly (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1). In addition, the practice developing and supply evidence for their claims--even in an informal situation--should translate to students' writing as we develop more critical and evaluative pieces this semester (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1b). 

(Incidentally, Samosas crushed Do-Si-Dos, and Thin Mints edged out Tag-A-Longs by one vote.)

Independent Writing

25 minutes

Students are provided with a copy of the practice writing prompt for in-class today. This writing prompt draws on analysis of a key scene in two different media, in this case film and novel (RL.9-10.7) and, drawing evidence from the film and novel, apply that analysis (W.9-10.9a) to an informative, explanatory paragraph which provides sufficient evidence to show the students' understanding (W.9-10.2b), maintains formal tone (W.9-10.2e), and clearly concludes their thoughts (W.9-10.2f).  

Students are doing formal writing at this point as test preparation. This writing prompt is along the lines of the the writing students will be doing for upcoming formal assessments. In order to prepare for the upcoming test, students are asked to look back at their notes and reactions to the text and films of "The Great Gatsby." I ask students to select the scene we watched from either Chapter I (Tom & Daisy's living room) or Chapter II (The Valley of Ashes) that we read, closely. Students are asked to write one paragraph that addresses the following, drawing on Costa's Three Levels of Questioning to explore the ideas in detail, demonstrating not only knowledge of the material, but critical thinking and an ability to apply their understanding:

  1. What do you find noticeable, important, or interesting about the scene in the text and at least one of the film versions? Identify, and describe in detail, this aspect of the scene. This can be pretty much anything, but if you get “stuck,” please focus on the description of the setting or on characterization. (Level 1)
  2. Why do you think this aspect is important, interesting, or significant? Explain its importance and meaning in detail. (Level 2)
  3. Evaluate the aspect as portrayed in the film or films versus the text; how well does the scene do at “showing” what Fitzgerald describes? Make sure you elaborate in detail to justify your opinion. (Level 3)

Students have twenty minutes to plan and write their responses. As they write, I circulate the room getting a feel for their direction and topic. This also allows students a chance to ask me for any clarification they may need.  

Peer Editing: Reading, Review, and Revising

15 minutes

After their writing time, students are asked to trade papers with the person sitting next to them and read their evaluations (for ten minutes). The peer editors should read with and eye to evaluate the argument and claims in their partner's paper, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient (RI.9-10.8). Specifically, peer editors are asked:

  1. Did they address all three levels of questioning?
  2. Did they just rehash what we discussed in class? (It’s okay, be honest!)
  3. Did they come to the same conclusions that you did about the scene?
  4. Did you learn anything new from them? 

Students should share their responses with their partners, present their findings clearly, concisely, and logically such that their peer can follow the line of reasoning in a way that allows for constructive criticism (SL.9-10.4). 

Students are then given the opportunity to develop and strengthen their writing by making any necessary revisions to their response (W.9-10.5)

Two-Minute Warning: Wrap-Up & Reminders

2 minutes

With two minutes remaining, I ask students to return to their seats and move desks in rows. Students are reminded we will be wrapping up "The Great Gatsby" over the next few days, to complete the vocabulary list attached to today's writing prompt, and to please come to class with any questions they may have for test review.