We open class with a welcome to National Bugs Bunny Day; "Porky's Hare Hunt," the first cartoon featuring an early version of the character, debuted on this day in 1938. We hold a quick show-of-hands poll for favorite iconic character, Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse. As always, Daily Holidays such as this one serve to hook students and build a sense of community in the classroom.
In order to remind students of the three main thematic ideas (motifs) we study in the novel: bravery, education, and prejudice, I have noted the themes on the board and ask students to prepare a t-chart in their notes.
I ask students to share their thoughts on each of the three motifs: courage/bravery. education, and prejudice in order to identify specific details for analysis of these themes (RL.9-10.2). As students share, I note their examples on the board, in order to provide them with a study guide.
This activity provides an opportunity to check for student understanding as well as for them to draw from each other as they share examples of how Harper Lee manifests the motifs in the novel. As students move into the final section of the novel (the aftermath of the trial and the Halloween pageant), we take time to check their understanding with a review of the primary themes in the novel. (While Harper Lee divides the novel into two parts, the longer second part can clearly be divided between chapters 16 and 17 as well.)
Additionally the, students will be putting sustained effort into their out-of-class Creative Projects (the summative assessment for "To Kill a Mockingbird") at this point, and these projects require analysis of one of the thematic motifs in the novel. Today, I remind students of these, in order to assist and facilitate their motivation to complete these projects.
Students are given the majority of class today to read and work independently.
To provide a goal and objective, I ask students to continue finding examples of how all three thematic motifs (noted above: bravery/courage, education, and prejudice) manifest in the novel. (RL.9-10.2).
Today, students continue reading and working independently on their literature circle role assignment for Chapters 17-21 (they have begun reading this already, on their own). By providing time today in class to address the multiple components of our look at "To Kill a Mockingbird," the students can work at a pace they feel comfortable with, produce quality work, and take ownership in the novel. Students are reading independently in class because while they work in class, I can offer clarification and assistance if the students need, and they can check with their group members if there are questions. Independent reading, even for a teacher-assigned text, immerses the student in the literature, and gives them an opportunity to appreciate the text.
The literature circles for this unit are the culmination of everything students have been working toward this school year: independent understanding of the concepts and literature, personal ownership of the material and their work, and effective, collaborative learning and problem solving. Each of these goals requires the students utilize practical communication and critical thinking skills.
Students are working in literature circles because they are both student-driven and collaborative. Students shape meaning in their literature circle group interactions, drawing from the novel. The assignments require students to discuss the novel with diverse (teacher-assigned) partners, building a sense of team identity, on a wide-range of novel related topics (SL.9-10.1), including specific details of plot events (RL.9-10.1), and how these details develop themes (RL.9-10.2), characterization (RL.9-10.3), and the narrator's point-of-view influences what we see in Scout's memory of 1932-1935 (RL.9-10.5). Literature circle assignment also require students to determine the meanings of unfamiliar words and their impact on the text (RL.9-10.4). In order to demonstrate and strengthen their own learning, students present their assignments clearly to their peers, in a manner that allows group members to take effective notes on the novel (SL.9-10.4).
With two minutes remaining, I call students back to their seats, remind them that tomorrow will be a discussion day, and that they should be working on their creative projects.