Reflection: High Quality Task Dialogue in the Plot W: Lessons from "Everybody Knows Tobie" - Section 2: Short Story as Model


No doubt about it, I am asking the students to engage in a high level, critical reading of the story, "Everybody Knows Tobie."  But why this particular text?  It seems, in many ways, a bit out of date: the main character's sensibilities, as well as those of the townsmen, seem to reflect a kind of racism that is less compelling to my students these days.  He has a paper route.  His hourly wage is a pittance by today's standards.  The students have been more compelled by a number of other stories that we have read this year.  Thus, as a result, I would probably make a substitution on this short story for something that is more compelling and that still has dialogue, characterization, and a strong plot W.  

I tagged this reflection with "safety" because the story also focuses on a somewhat dicey issue of race and de facto racism.  I think that these topics can be intensely personal and incendiary, so it's important that any teacher using this story (or others like it) present it with tact and sensitivity.  

  Why this story?
  High Quality Task: Why this story?
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Dialogue in the Plot W: Lessons from "Everybody Knows Tobie"

Unit 3: In My Mind's Eye: Writing Powerful Narration
Lesson 7 of 10

Objective: SWBAT explore dialogue in the PLOT W by examining a text featuring this plot device, "Everybody Knows Tobie."

Big Idea: Students enjoy writing with the element of surprise when they use dialogue to propel a Plot W narrative structure.

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