Tough Questions & Group Discussions

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SWBAT meet in small groups to discuss "tough questions" found in their novels.

Big Idea

Why do characters ask themselves tough questions? We use literature to explore human behavior.

Whole Class Notes: Tough Questions

10 minutes

Today we take whole class notes on tough questions. They're one of the signposts discussed previously in the unit.

Tough Question

When a character is forced to ask themselves a very difficult question.

I often liken these to real life; kids are familiar with a time when they were forced to ask themselves a tough question. This is particularly applicable to middle school, especially when it comes to peers. Are the people I surround myself with really my friends? This is a tough question that most middle schoolers will struggle with.

"Iqbal" Read Aloud & Find Tough Questions

20 minutes

I use the read aloud Iqbal to model finding a character asking him or herself a tough question. In the story Iqbal, Fatima is our narrator, and she has found herself in a difficult situation. She and her friends have been freed from the carpet factory in which they are forced to work. But when she is freed, she realizes she has nowhere to go. In this example, Fatima is forced to ask herself, where will I go now?

Student Sample Whole Class Notes: Tough Questions.

As a class, we talk about why this is such a tough question. We discuss why Fatima can't return home, or why she may not want to. She has been exposed to so much, maybe returning home wouldn't be a wise decision. Maybe she will be forced to return to the factory. We talk abotu how we can't imagine being only twelve years old and having nowhere to go.

Now,  I say, you'll go into your small groups. Find your characters asking tough questions.

Literature Circles: Discussion Questions + Tough Questions

20 minutes

In small groups, students ask one another the discussion questions from their Discussion Boxes, Set 5. In addition to following the normal discussion routine, outlined in previous lessons, I ask students to find a section in their novel that showed someone struggling with a tough question. In this video, a student asks, does this quote show a character's struggle with a tough question?

I walk around and listen to the conversations had in small groups.

Finish Novels

35 minutes

Kids use the last part of in class work time to make a dent in their final pages and complete their Middle East & Asia Novels. If they don't finish today, they'll have some time to finish in the next few days. If they do finish early, they may switch back to independent reading.