Analyzing Balance: Representations of Yin and Yang in To Live (Day 1 of 2)

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SWBAT demonstrate their ability to cite textual evidence to support analysis of a theme by creating Yin/Yang charts about To Live.

Big Idea

We will explore the ideas of Taosim as represented in the book today and consider the author's message about the importance of a balanced universe.


10 minutes

We will start class with ten minutes of reading time. I will read with students during this time. 

Philosophy Overview: Tao Te Ching

15 minutes

As we begin to wrap up our reading of the novel, To Live, we will come back to the on of the Chinese philosophies that we studied at the beginning of this unit, Taoism. To do this, we will read brief sections of the Tao Te Ching that show the idea of Yin and Yang, or the balance of the universe. 

I will make two sets of copies of chapters 19, 27 and 42. One set will be on blue paper and the other set will be on pink paper. I will ask my girls to grab a blue sheet and will ask the boys to grab a pink sheet (just to play with their expectations a little--no other reason than that =). I will then ask the students to read their chapter and try to make sense of what it is saying or teaching. I will not require them to write, though they are welcome to take notes on ideas or themes from their passage (RL.9-10.2). I will encourage them to try to make connections between what they are reading and To Live.

Once I've given the students a few minutes to read and analyze their chapter, I will ask them to join up with a person who has a different colored sheet of paper and a different chapter. In these pairs, I will ask students to share their ideas and try to synthesize each around the themes or imagery utilized to express the philosophical ideas from their passages (SL.9-10.1a). Finally, I will ask a few volunteers to share out about their dialogue. 

Ultimately, I want students to read these sections so that they can apply the ideas they are reading about to their analysis of To Live, so as and/or after students share out with the whole class, I will ask them what each of these chapters reveal about the nature of the universe. I purposefully picked sections of the Tao Te Ching that show the universe in balance so that we can think about what Yu Hua is saying through the novel about this uniquely eastern idea (RL.9-10.6)

Yin and Yang Analysis Activity

25 minutes

After we've discussed the idea of balance, specifically in the form of the Taoist Yin and Yang, I will ask students to apply their thinking to an analysis of the balance (or lack of balance) presented in To Live

To do this, I will have students work with a partner to create a Yin/Yang chart. Each chart will have eight sections for four Yin/Yang pairings. For each pair, I will ask students to cite a quote that supports their analysis (RL.9-10.1), an image that represents the balance of the pair and a two to three sentence explanation of their work. 

I anticipate that students will use all of this time to create their charts, but just in case, I will tell them that the quality of their work/effort on said work will determine if we do a discussion or a timed write to answer the thematic question next week. 

Wrap Up and Next Steps

5 minutes

We will use the last few minutes of class to clean up the room and assess how far we got in our work. I will use this assessment to determine if more time is needed for work next week.