Reflection: Grappling with Complexity Reading Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” – Day 1 of 2 - Section 4: Whole Class Discussion


Other classes were able to get to the point where they suspect it is an abortion. This class was way off. There was no indication that the word “operation” may refer to a surgery, like the group who considered an operation refers to a criminal act. Some were good at finding it highly unlikely that they are planning a criminal operation. I decided to entertain this line of thinking because I wanted them to have the opportunity to struggle with the text and get to the point where they realize that some of their initial conclusions sound very off. Their highlighted papers, such as this student’s copy of “Hills Like White Elephants,” suggest they were able to identify the significant parts of the story, but were not able to make the necessary connections. This has to do with the fact that they are still learning to pay close attention to the language, which has been a struggle for them. I wondered whether I should have helped them focus on the word “operation” today or wait until the next class period. I decided to wait until the next class period and help them arrive at the conclusion themselves. What should be a climactic point of discovery for students is no more if I am the one that makes the discovery for them.

  Grappling with Complexity: Difficulty Making Inferences
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Reading Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” – Day 1 of 2

Unit 5: Modernist Literature
Lesson 8 of 17

Objective: SWBAT begin to make sense of this story by independently reading it closely and then testing their initial conclusions through discussion.

Big Idea: Students struggle with a story like this one, but given time, they will reach moments of discovery that are rewarding for them to experience and for me to see.

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2 teachers like this lesson
English / Language Arts, Writing Process, Modernism, citation (Research Writing), Reading Strategies, discussions, questioning strategy
  50 minutes
pix readhillslikewhele 1of2
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