During our last class session, my students read the story, "Two Kinds," by Amy Tan. Our essential question for this unit is "How are we compelled to act on our values and beliefs?" For the "Do Now" today, I will be passing out the "Two Kinds" text-dependent questions to help students analyze the values and beliefs of the two main characters, the narrator and her mother. The sheet also includes several text-dependent questions that will help students in their critical analysis of what the text says and inferences that can be drawn from the text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1). This chart was provided by the Harford County Public School System and adapted from Maryland State Board of Education materials.
Since we read "Two Kinds" last class, I am skipping the modeling part of the lesson and moving right to the guided practice. I am not modeling because I feel confident that students will be able to work with me right away to describe the mother's beliefs and reactions and the daughter's beliefs and actions. We will do the first row of the chart together to make sure that students understand how to complete it. For this first part, we are focusing on the part of the story when the mother reads stories of amazing children in magazines.
For the application part of this lesson, my students will work together with a partner to do a closer reading of the different scenarios in the book in order to chart the beliefs and reactions of the narrator and her mother (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3). As students read more closely, they will be making inferences about the values and beliefs of the mother using evidence from the text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1).
I am chunking or separating this activity into two segments:
1) charting values and beliefs and
2) answering text-dependent questions.
I am choosing to have students work together because my students' responses are sometimes more thorough when they are able to vet their answers with a peer. Also, it is important to chunk this activity in order to keep students on track with their pacing -- once they finish one task, they can move onto the next. After all, 45 minutes is a long time, so it is important that students keep working at a productive pace in order to have time to complete the entire assignment.
Here's a sample of a student's completed chart.
Check out this video of the same student's responses to the text-dependent questions.
For this part of the lesson, I will take a little time to hear some of their responses (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1). I am most interested in their responses to the last question the first text-dependent questions which asks, "What do the anecdotes about Mr. Chong and the conversation between Auntie Lindo and the narrator's mother add to the story?" This question asks students to analyze the conflicting motivations and interactions of the characters in the story (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3).
The last question asks students to "Draw at least three conclusions about the style Tan uses for each character." This question asks students to draw conclusions about the characters based on what the author's style may reveal about the characters (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4). For instance, the narrator's mother's speech indicates that she is not as fluent as the daughter. This is perhaps due to the fact that the mother was raised in China and the daughter was raised in America. These differences in style allow the reader to draw inferences about the mother and the daughter. I'll be interested to see if my students can answer this question.
For the closure, I will have students discuss how the author and her mother were compelled to act on their values and beliefs using specific details from the story with the whole group (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.a). This will be an oral response. I am hoping students will be able to see how the values of each of the character influenced their actions. I am closing out this way because I think this is a great way to tie back to the unit's essential question and to have students cite evidence from the text to support inferences (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1).