SSR is a prime time to check in and individualize. During this part of the novel, I am mostly concerned that the students will continue to care about Amir's story and the changes in his life and personality (RL.9-10.3) as he moves to the U.S. and then prepares to return to Afghanistan to do battle with the ghosts of his past.
To set up today's SSR (Extending Reading), I will ask students to annotate these chapters for both the shifts and growth in Amir's character and the ways in which he navigates a bi-cultural existence. While the students are reading, the SSR session will give me a chance to check in with students who are struggling with the work load (RL.9-10.10), give me a chance to ask them questions to make sure that they are understanding the character developments and begin to sow the seeds of the cultural studies that we will be doing over the next couple of days (RL.9-10.6); to do this, I will ask students about the italicized culture terms that appear in each section and gauge how students are developing an understanding of the novel during his section.
Graphic Organizer for Class Notes. I am using a graphic organizer during this section of class to help clarify key moments in the text. As I mentioned before, this part of the text has a number of key life-events, and I will place these on the graphic.
Paired Work. This is day 2 of our paired work in this area, and I expect students to finish their assigned notes section--usually a line or two of contribution to the notes sheet--and then be ready to explain their notes to the class. Meanwhile, I will I place the lunar notes on the board for them to jot into their notebooks, and check in with the pairs about how their textual references research is going (RL.9-10.1)
Plot Collaborative Notes class notes. I will add key words and phrases to the lunar notes--I call them lunar notes just as a fun nickname because the plot has this weird moonscape look to in in this portion of the novel!--and ask them to do the same: class notes close up. Thus, at the end of the activity, the students will have two forms of notes: the class notes sheet on google docs containing several of their classmates' notes; and my graphic from the board that they will copy into their handwritten notebook. I think that both forms have merit and will help the students to track along with the novel. And I am focusing on note-taking during these middle sections of the novel because there are many, smaller developments that can get lost along the way; also, it's important to trace how Amir is growing and shifting as we move along in the plot towards his dramatic return to Afghanistan.
Evaluating Amir's Character and Culture. As with yesterday, after we build the lunar notes, I will ask the following questions, but today, I expect that the students will do the majority of the talking, using their notes on the google doc as a guide.
1.) Now, after day 2 of considering these plot events, what are the most significant changes that Amir has undergone? As you connect across events, how do you think he has changed most significantly? Where did you expect him to change, but instead he remained the same? (RL.9-10.3).
2.) As you look at the big picture of all of these events together, now how does this section of the novel build the cross-cultural experience? What is the most significant thing that you have been exposed to regarding Afghan (or Afghan-American) culture? (RL.9-10.6)
Group Processing. We often do not take the time to ask the students about how the activity went and how their contributions helped create a cooperative classroom, so I will wrap up with a few questions in this vein [inspired by the Cooperative Learning research of David and Roger Johnson from the University of Minnesota].
1.) How strong is the quality of our class notes page on google doc? How about the graphic on the board? Which format works better for you to remember (i.e. the act of handwriting, or the clearer easy-to-read typed notes)?
2.) How well did we do as a team in listening to each other, making contributions, building ideas together? How could we improve in our norms?