Reflection: Complex Tasks Introduction to Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony - Section 4: Color-Coding the Text


I felt the color-coding exercise was helpful in that it gave students a good visual of a nonlinear narrative. It was interactive and students were engaged. Also, that they were identifying events pushed them to focus on plot and that will help them keep track of the story. This was especially beneficial for my struggling readers. They had a specific task other than just reading this complex narrative and were doing a good job of color-coding events. If the challenging language and structure confused them, they at least reached a decent level of understanding of the plot by marking the main plot points. With a more advanced class where students would not have a very difficult time keeping track of the story, I would have taken this discussion a step further and had students analyze why Silko may have chosen this narrative structure and the effect of that choice. I would have helped them understand that by doing this, events that actually took place in different settings at different times seem to coexist because they are deeply connected. Rather then being confused about why Tayo is in the middle of the jungle in Japan and at home unable to sleep in the same paragraph, I would guide them to discuss how Tayo’s experience at war is intricately connected to his insomnia and trauma at home. I believe my students can make these connections, but I would need to plan additional activities that my schedule does not leave room for. For now, I am happy that they have tackled this difficult text and are able to talk about the characters and events without being defeated by the complexity.

This is an example of a student's copy of Ceremony color-coded.

  Complex Tasks: Color-Coding the Text
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Introduction to Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony

Unit 4: Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony
Lesson 1 of 11

Objective: SWBAT tackle a complex text with an interactive strategy. SWBAT understand a cyclical narrative structure, typical of Native American literature.

Big Idea: Colors interact to reveal an interesting narrative structure.

  Print Lesson
English / Language Arts, Native American literature, fiction (Analysis), fictional narratives, Leslie Marmon Silko, narrative structure, character analysis, storytelling
  55 minutes
pix introlms sceremony
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