Reflection: Novel Discussion, Day Two - Section 2: Novel Discussion


I was lucky that today's lesson could proceed with relatively few changes given the unexpected absences I faced, but I've learned over the years that it is best to just expect the unexpected. I always have a back-up plan.

My district, of course, requires emergency lesson plans in the event I cannot make it into school--these sit in my sub folder in case they are needed. Since I don't know what unit my kids will be studying when/if these plans are used, they are very general and sub-friendly--vocabulary practice drawn from top SAT words. The lesson asks students to define and use words in a fictional story, making the activity engaging and as lengthy as needed (it's a LONG list of words).

Still, what about those days when technology crashes? When students are unexpectedly absent and the lesson isn't easily adaptable? My go-to options include:

  • extra practice--we study skills, not texts, so I can always assign extra practice which doesn't require a lot of preparation. For example, I could ask students to find figurative language in a section of text we've already read but not yet analyzed (while studying figurative language).
  • academic games--I have a few games I can pull out which relate to CCSS concepts. My favorite is a vocabulary game, designed to get students to brainstorm lists of words they might not normally use. I give them a three letter combination (example: M E R), and they must list words which feature those letters in that order. After 3 minutes, they compare their list with another student and cross off any words in common (hence the push to use words outside of "normal" vocabulary).


  Other Emergency Plans
  Other Emergency Plans
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Novel Discussion, Day Two

Unit 2: Finding Themes and Making Inferences in Literature
Lesson 5 of 17

Objective: Students will be able to discuss a novel by posing and responding to questions, incorporating others into discussion, and presenting their own ideas and justifications.

Big Idea: Moving beyond talking at one another--true discussion.

  Print Lesson
English / Language Arts, Literature, discussions, Huckleberry Finn, My Antonia, fallen angels, novel
  45 minutes
copy of book choices
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