Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Introduction To The Things They Carried - Section 3: Mimicking the Author's Writing


I hoped this activity would lead to a creative interpretation of what the contents of their school bags reveal about them and make up a quick story about it. It is a task that calls for students to think critically and conceptually, which is an area of need I have been working with my students to develop further. Happily, some were able to come up with an interesting way of describing what connects their collective contents. For instance, in the sample above, students were able to say that what they carry is based on passion and listed items that reveal hobbies and things this particular group of students devote time to. Others were more basic and literal. A few groups, for example, said the things they carry are determined by school, which is a literal explanation of the contents of their bags. That is not really surprising because they were literally looking in a bag meant to carry school supplies, but I did encourage them to get creative and make up an interesting story from what they found. I had enough interesting comments to be happy with this activity. I believe they are now more ready to understand what O’Brien is trying to do in the opening chapter of The Things They Carry.

  Sentences Students Wrote
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Sentences Students Wrote
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Introduction To The Things They Carried

Unit 9: The Things They Carried
Lesson 1 of 6

Objective: SWBAT prepare to take in Tim O'Brien's novel by reflecting on what they carry in their bags.

Big Idea: Making up a story about the contents of our school bags is a small-scale entry point to this novel.

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