“Dr. Dorian, Dr. Dorian, Paging Dr. Dorian!”

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SWBAT ask and answer questions to understand a character in a text by identifying key details.

Big Idea

The doctor is in; and he is ready to dispense his wisdom about the miracle of a web and soothe the concerns of a mother.


7 minutes

Context and Overview:

In the reading of Charlotte's Web, we come upon Chapter XIV: "Dr. Dorian." I decided to do a reading with text dependent questions because I want to take the time to dissect the role of Dr. Dorian. As an authority figure, Dr. Dorian validates the magic of Charlotte--by having Mrs. Arable reflect on the miracle of the web itself. By the end of the chapter Mrs. Arable's nervousness is gone, and leaves feeling that both her children are "fine." 

The text dependent questions I have developed ask the students to dig into the text for evidence. Valuing evidence is a shift with CCSS.

After reading the chapter, I bring the students to the rug for Socratic Seminar. We will continue to discuss Dr. Dorian, as well as Mrs. Arable. While we met Mrs. Arable in the first chapter, and in the chapter, "A Talk At Home," I take the time to analyze her character some more.

Then, my students will take time to either analyze Dr. Dorian or Mrs. Arable with a graphic organizer. They are looking for how the character looks, says, feels, and acts.

Afterwards, the students will take this information and write a paragraph.

Lesson Opening:

I start on the rug, and share the student friendly: "I can ask and answer questions to understand key details about characters."

Then, I ask the students: "What do you know about doctors?" I ask the students to think about the question, then turn to their partner and share with each other. Afterwards, a few share out loud.

Reading Chapter XIV: Dr. Dorian

25 minutes

In reading this chapter, my intention is to draw attention to the crucial role of Dr. Dorian. The text dependent questions ask the students to go back into the reading to find the answers. To keep the reading lively, I sometimes will use a cloze reading method. This means, that as I read, I leave a word out--the students are expected to chorally read that word. It keeps them engaged. All my students have a copy of the chapter book and are able to chime in when I leave a word out.

I have attached the list of questions for this chapter of Dr. Dorian. I like to brainstorm as many questions as I believe will be helpful. Part of having a meaningful discussion is making sure I am prepared with follow up questions to take the students deeper. It's good to have in case we need them. If we find ourselves in a bind about not knowing what follow up question to ask, one can resort to asking: 

1. How do you know that?

2. Tell me more about you mean...

To begin, I am having my students predict orally what this chapter is about:

In reading page 107, we get into the discussion of: Why is Mrs. Arable visiting the doctor? Here are some of their responses:

Mrs. Arable Thinks Fern is making Things Up

Why Is Mrs. Arable At Dr. Dorian?

The question of what the word  advice means is asked.

Illustrations also tell the tale of this story and one student notices an item that hangs on the wall on page 109. It is worthy noting. And, I take the time to discuss it with the students. I think it is important to note the value of the degree and how it helps to establish him as an authority on many matters. 

A student has something to say about the way Mrs. Arable looks.

Socratic Seminar

10 minutes

I gather students on the rug. We sit in a circle. We review the reason for Socratic Seminar and the rules for participation. Then, we engage in a discussion with the following questions:

1. Who is Dr. Dorian? What did we learn about him?

2. What else have we learned about Mrs. Arable?

3. What surprised you about Dr. Dorian/Mrs. Arable?

I hand off to student after asking the first question.

I remind students to answer with evidence from the book/chapter.

Character Analysis Graphic Organizer

20 minutes

Now, students work independently collecting evidence on either Dr. Dorian or Mrs. Arable using the graphic organizer. They work to analyze their character. In order to accomplish this task, they will need to find the evidence in the chapter. I walk around briefly in the beginning of this allotted time and give assistance as needed. Some will need help finding information about Mrs. Arable in earlier chapters. Others will need reminders to stay on task and to mind the allotted time that is given for this assignment.

Here are some of their work samples:

character analysis: Mrs. Arable is Nervous

Dr. Dorian Character Analysis

Dr. Dorian character Analysis

Mrs. Arable Character Analysis

I will call 2-3 students to sit with me at the round table so that I can give them more support. These students typically need direction because they continue to struggle with reading and comprehension.

Independent Writing

15 minutes

Now I want my students to take the information they gathered on the graphic organizer and write about their character. I want them to express what they learned about their character with evidence from the chapter.  Here is the The Writing Task.

I am curious as to what they will write about:

Mrs. Arable

Mrs. Arable Has Different Emotions

Mrs. Arable Is All Over The Place

Simple Observations About Mrs. Arable

What is Your Opinion of Mrs. Arable?

Yes Mrs. Arable is Worried

As you can see more students were drawn to write about Mrs. Arable than Dr. Dorian. I find it interesting.