Problems and Solutions in The Odyssey

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SWBAT analyze how complex characters develop over the course of a text by charting the problems and solutions that Odysseus faces in Book 9 of The Odyssey

Big Idea

Students are know-it alls in today's lesson-- They demonstrate their understanding of the problems and solutions of Odysseus.

Do Now: Book 9 Quiz

15 minutes

For the "Do Now" I will ask my students to take a quiz on Book 9 of the Odyssey. 

You can either have students take the quiz on their smartphones or copy and paste the questions and have students do a pen and paper version. I chose to do a pen and paper version just to avoid the issue of students not bringing their phones to class.

I chose this quiz because it is simple, quick, and will tell me whether students actually read Book 9. I am using it to assess students' understanding of the plot (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3) and (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1) It will be much more difficult to do the classwork if they haven't done the reading, so we will see what happens.

After the quiz, we will quickly go over the answers to the quiz question. For every quiz question that they answered incorrectly, I will allow my student to earn 1/2 of a point back if they find the page number on which the answer can be found and write that page number by the response on their quiz paper. I am having them do this because I want them to go back to the text to see where they made their mistakes. Here's a short clip of  students finding the correct answers to the quiz questions right before one student (who clearly doesn't want to be filmed) asks a relevant question. The most important part of the clip is the level of engagement as students had a time limit in which to find the correct answers and write down the page numbers.

Building Knowledge

10 minutes

In the "Building Knowledge" section of the lesson, students will be charting types of problems, effects, and examples (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3) and (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1) using page 4 of Jim Burke's packet on The Odyssey that can be found here.  

As I mentioned in the previous lesson, I am using these materials because I have always found Jim Burke's material to be useful. Also, I think this will give us a unique opportunity to analyze the actions of Odysseus and his followers as they experience many challenges in Book 9.

We will chart the types of problems together as a whole group, but I will have students come up with their own examples for each of the problems with a partner. The types of problems that I expect that students will list are physical, mental, emotional, environmental, etc. Charting the types of problems together will give them some focus as they begin to think about the types of problems that a person can face in their lives. I'm allowing them to come up with effects and examples from The Odyssey with their partners because they will benefit from hearing their peers examples (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.d). This will serve as a closer reading of the text after their initial reading for comprehension.

This clip shows students working on effects and examples of the types of problems that we identified together in the whole group. You can't hear the beginning, but the student in this clip was using the example of Lennie's mental problems (Woohoo!) in Of Mice and Men as one of her types of problems.

Application: Completing the chart

35 minutes

For the next several minutes, my students will work together to meticulously chart the problems, types of problems, responses, and solutions of all of the challenges Odysseus faces in Book 9 (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1). I am having my students do this because we will be synthesizing all of this information into a logical and coherent problem-solution paragraph during our next class session. This activity will serve as a first step to writing the paragraph. 

Silent Reading

20 minutes

We will close out the lesson today with silent reading time. For silent reading today, students have 2 choices:

  1. They can read Book 10 of the Odyssey (which will become homework if they have not read it.)
  2. They can read their self-selected reading book

I am giving them these choices because I have been doing a pretty good job of providing the reading time that I promised them at the beginning of the year. Now that there are no more snow days on the horizon, I really want my students to be engaged in daily reading (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10) in order to build their reading stamina and build their vocabulary and comprehension skills.

This first reading of Book 10 of The Odyssey is an initial reading, so I am not asking students to annotate or complete any charts. The reading is being done independently or at home, and we will engage more closely with the text in the next lesson. This is a different way of teaching that my district is pushing for. Our motto--there is no analysis of a text without comprehension.  I will advise them that we may have a comprehension quiz on the plot, so they had better be ready!