50/50 Split: Identifying Characterization Techniques in The Odyssey and Vocabulary for SSR Project

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SWBAT demonstrate their understanding of characterization techniques in The Odyssey by taking an assessment; SWBAT use dictionaries or other vocabulary strategies to define vocabulary words on their SSR projects

Big Idea

"50/50 split" is how we use our class time today by completing two different types of assessments


30 minutes

Today, we'll start with an assessment on The Odyssey. Today, I am choosing to assess their understanding of characterization (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3) techniques by having them complete a portion of an assessment. This assessment is important because we have been reading about Odysseus and the other characters in the story and we have discussed his fatal flaw. In this assessment, students will do a closer reading of passages from the assessment and identify characterization traits and methods of characterization for each passage. The assessment can be found in McDougal Littell's formal assessment book for The Odyssey, but you can create your own assessment by selecting 4 passages from The Odyssey and having students identify a character trait and describe how the reader gets to know the character (character's speech, thoughts, and actions, direct comments about the character, other character's speech, thoughts and actions, and physical description of the character).

For the vocabulary portion of the assessment, students have to select the appropriate response that demonstrates their understanding of the meaning of the vocabulary term as it is used in a sentence (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4) and (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4.a). You can create this part of the test by selecting 5 words to assess. I suggest the following words: implacable, aloof, dithering, contemptible, and wiliest. I am suggesting these words because they also align with the characterization focus of the test. When creating this vocabulary section, use the words in sentences that describe the characters in the book to make sure that students are able determine the meaning of words based on how they are used.

SSR Project Work Time

45 minutes

For the past couple of weeks, my students have been working on their SSR Book Jacket Projects on fiction texts that they have read independently. The purpose of the project is to assess their understanding of theme, summarizing, theme analysis (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2) characterization,(CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3) and vocabulary (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4.c).

I am giving my students 45 minutes of class time to work on the project today. Today's focus is on the vocabulary panel. Students must select 10 vocabulary words that are important to their understanding of the book and write the word and definitions of the words on the appropriate panel of their project (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4.c). For this panel, I am hoping that defining the words and writing them on the panel (as well as the process of selecting the words) will help students add these words to their known vocabulary. I have them focus on vocabulary this way because they should always be working to understand new words that they encounter using a variety of strategies that might include using a resource such as a dictionary to define the words.

While my students are working on the vocabulary panels, I will be walking around to check that words are appropriate to their grade level and answering any other questions about the project. Take a look at a couple of sample vocabulary panels from student projects.

Closure: Creating a Materials List

5 minutes

I will close out today's lesson by having students make a list of the materials they will need for the next class session's project work time in their daily planners. These materials might include glue sticks, construction paper, SSR text, white paper, etc.) For next class, I will be giving them an entire period for project work, so I want to make sure that they bring all of the materials they will need to maximize time on task.

Lesson Image Attribution

By LuciaSofo (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons