Reflection: Student Ownership Is J. Alfred Prufrock a Murderer? And What DOES "Jilted" Mean?! - Section 4: Closing


I love assigning students homework which does double duty like these reading questions.  First, it requires students to actively and critically engage in text while reading.  Second, it makes our NEXT class period completely owned and guided by students (with a diverse viewpoint, as students of all levels are coming up with the questions) and helps me out when other matters (like grading a MILLION research papers!) are clogging up my time.  Another bonus of this kind of homework activity is that it gives me instant feedback the next day about how well students completed their reading assignment based on the depth and quality of questions they are asking.  Sometimes I will give them question-minimums (like 2-3 a page), but often if I assign clear "minimum" requirements, I get ONLY the minimum amount of questions (and depth!) from these responses.  Instead, when I assign these questions I instruct students to ask all the questions they would want answered to clarify their reading before taking a quiz.  This way, students read with the intention of understanding on their own rather than skimming with the belief that we'll do the "heavy lifting" comprehension next class period.  To reinforce this assignment, I sporadically DO give quizzes immediately after all students have asked (and gotten answers for) their personally-generated questions.  In my experience, if you apply this sort of assignment randomly, the number of students who actually read and generate meaningful questions climbs.

One other note: with a text that is this complicated and foreign to students, I would never just quiz them without giving them a time to get their questions answered.  I want to encourage them to ask and collaborate to investigate texts, so a quiz immediately following an extremely difficult text typically results in my struggling readers shutting down VERY early in the process.  

  Letting Students Grapple with Tough Texts and Lead the Exploratory Charge
  Student Ownership: Letting Students Grapple with Tough Texts and Lead the Exploratory Charge
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Is J. Alfred Prufrock a Murderer? And What DOES "Jilted" Mean?!

Unit 8: A Renewed Focus on Modernism
Lesson 2 of 4

Objective: SWBAT identify and evaluate allusions, word choice, figurative language, and author's structural choices in "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" through class discussion and debate.

Big Idea: Explore ambiguity & allusions with discussion and student-generated questions with two of the oddest cats in literature: J. Alfred Prufrock & Granny Weatherall!

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