Reflection: Rigor Famous First Person Paragraphs - Section 4: What is Revealed?


After working through this lesson, I was confronted with the ugly truth: These texts were -- for the most part -- just too difficult for my 8th grade students.  It wasn't that my most advanced readers couldn't enjoy them; some did.  And I certainly relished the opportunity to read and discuss some of the most famous and beloved beginnings from novels I have read again and again.

However.  I think I got a little distracted from my purpose and I made this lesson harder than it needed to be.  Since I wanted kids to read and analyze paragraphs written from the perspective of first person narrators, I should have chosen more accessible pieces so EVERYONE could do the work and learn from it.  Instead, I had a decent number of students in each class completely confounded.  And they were not shy about sharing their frustration.

Sometimes, I get too caught up in the vocabularies they "should" have or the skills they "must have" been taught already.  While it's good to have high standards, what happened this time was that some of my message got lost.

The concept behind the lesson is strong.  The texts just need to be modified to more age-appropriate readings.


  Text Selection - What I love, versus what they can handle
  Rigor: Text Selection - What I love, versus what they can handle
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Famous First Person Paragraphs

Unit 9: Looking through the Lens of the First Person Narrator
Lesson 1 of 3

Objective: SWBAT identify and compare key elements in the first paragraphs of famous first-person novels and memoirs.

Big Idea: A novel's first paragraph provides a road map for the reader...where will it take us?

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