We are on an assembly schedule today, so I am going to move SSR to the end of the period to make sure we have enough time for the stuff we have to do together as well as to give me a chance to introduce Night, then let the kids read if there is any time left.
Today's lesson is a continuation of the introduction I started yesterday using my own pictures from my travels to Germany and the Czech Republic. Our next step will be to consider some moral dilemmas developed by one of the veteran teachers in my department based on his readings of the Night.
I am choosing to dive into the text this way because I think that it is important for the students to understand two things. First, this is a memoir, so it all really happened to a young man who was their age when faced with huge and dangerous decisions. As they read, I want them to be very mindful of Elie's experiences and situation. Second, this text is a part of our historical unit on the Holocaust, which is a very complicated historical event that was rife with moral ambiguity. I want them to think about how they would handle situations similar to those Weizel faced and hope that they will recognize that the right answer isn't always clear.
I will ask students to get into their Faulkner squares (table made up of four students who sit near each other) so they can discuss/negotiate these topics with their peers before sharing them with the whole class (SL.9-10.1 and SL.9-10.1d). With anything like this, I think it is important for them to be able to have dialogue before being called on in a whole group setting. I will read the dilemma out loud, then let the students discuss for a few minutes before asking for a class vote and then for specific thinking about the decisions that are made.
One of the informal ways that I will assess and monitor my students' reading comprehension will be through reading response journals. After we've spent some time with the moral dilemmas, I will review these journal requirements.
Basically, I am going to ask students to choose quotes as they read and respond briefly to the quotes they choose. These will not be worth a lot of points, but I think it is important with a book like Night for students to have an emotional outlet/guided response format. Additionally, it is a great way for them to practice analyzing particular passages of text for the literal and implied meanings set forht by the author (RI.9-10.1 and W.9-10.9).
Once we've talked about a few of the big topics/ideas that will be presented in the first few chapters of the book, I will ask students to participate in a gallery walk to get to know the author.
To do this, I'll have them stand up to interact with quotes by Elie Weizel that I've posted around the room by Elie Weize. I hope they will get many things from the experience of interacting with this text, but for this particular activity, I hope that they will get a sense of Weizel's rhetorical context/purpose for writing Night (RI.9-10.6). We will also use this activity to practice the reading response journal format, which I will model for them by writing a sample journal entry using one of the posted quotes.
After about eight minutes of gallery viewing and writing time, I will ask students to return to their seats to review my sample post and to share a few of their ideas out loud. I will ask them to consider what these quotes reveal about the author's bias and to predict what that might mean in regards to his message/rhetorical purpose (RI.9-10.5).
We will end class today with SSR so that students can use this time to preview or start reading Night. They will be responsible for reading the first two chapters by Monday, though I will encourage them to read ahead so that all they have to do next week is review/reread certain excerpts of the book to prepare for class discussions and activities.
While they are reading, I will go around the room to officially check out their books. If there is time, I will also share some background information about the author, specifically his age and an overview of the experience he is writing about in the book.