My classes are held in 100-minute block sessions every other day. In today's lesson, we explore "What Men Live By" through reading, writing, and collaborative discussion. Activities for this work of literature take two class periods to complete.
The lesson below outlines Day One of activities.
I tell students to think about an essential question for today's lesson: Who is the master of one's fate?
I introduce "What Men Live By" by explaining to students that the story may reflect Tolstoy's personal experiences. We read background on Tolstoy from our literature book and discuss his sensitivity to social issues.
Since we have limited time and this story is lengthy, we read through the first section by listening to accompanying audio from our literature series. I stop after the exposition in Part I and ask students to write a bulleted summary of the action in this section. We debrief as a class with a volunteer sharing her summary:
Due to limited time and students' ability to read and comprehend complex text proficiently, we continue to read while listening to the audio. Once the story ends, I give students about seven minutes to write down their impressions of the text. I ask students to share their impressions with a partner; then we debrief as a class. Two volunteers share their impressions with the class:
I tell students that when watching "60 Minutes" last night, I saw a story that reminded me of "What Men Live By." I show them the story on the Health Wagon and tell them that they will complete a ticket out on what they learned today.
I ask students to write about what they learned today. Student insights demonstrate their understanding of the text and its connection to the Health Wagon segment (Student Work: Ticket Out).
Next class, we will explore the theme of "What Men Live By" and the connection between theme and technique in Day Two, which has been filmed with video clips to appear in the lesson.