As students settle into their seat at the bell, I wish them a "Happy National Cocoa Day," and ask how they like their hot chocolate. After a few responses, getting the students "warmed up" (pun intended), I shift focus to yesterday's activity with character foils and their homework.
As always, sharing the Daily Holiday serves to engage the students and build a sense of ownership in the class. I also use the holiday as a way to transition to a focus on Holden, as students will be reading about his time in a cold New York City today, and probably should have opted for a mug of hot chocolate had he the opportunity.
We wrap up the look at character foils from yesterday's class with a few board notes identifying foils and characterization from the students' homework by analyzing how Holden is similar to, and different from his peers, Robert Ackley and Ward Stradlater (see "Foiling Holden: Comparing and Contrasting Characters" for this assignment). By sharing their thoughts, students analyze how the complex character, Holden Caulfield, develops over the course of the novel, interact with other characters, and advances the themes of adulthood and growing up, trust, and identity (RL.9-10.3).
I take this opportunity to provide closure to yesterday's discussion, and to evaluate the students' understanding of foils in the novel by asking this question: how does the characterization of Ackley and Stradlater reveal Holden's characterization?
Before students move to work independently today, I remind them the big idea for this section of the reading is to follow how Holden handles himself on his journey through New York City.
As with previous literature circle work days, students spend a part of the class period reading and completing their role assignments for Chapters 11-15 of "Catcher in the Rye" at their own pace. The responses to their literature circle assignments should reflect Holden's development. Students especially focus on how he relates to other characters, develops the plot of the story through his actions, and reveals the themes through his relationships and interactions: adulthood/growing up, elitism/prejudice, and trust (RL.9-10.3).
Students will be working with the next assignment in the rotation; previous Discussion Directors will be working independently on the Connector assignment, previous Connectors will be working on the Character Sorter assignment, etc. (See "Catching onto Holden: Independent SSR & Role Assignments".) In order to ensure focus, students are permitted to move around the room, sit on the floor or in a different chair, and read to themselves. Despite the fact they will ask, students are not permitted to put on headphones and listen to music, as often this creates a distraction while reading. Students working on the Discussion Director, Connector, and Character Sorter roles will be seeking strong and thorough textual support in order to support their analysis of the novel and draw inferences from it (RL.9-10.1), students working on the Illustrator role are specifically seeking to draw inferences from the novel in order to illustrate a scene or concept (again, RL.9-10.1) and students who are working on the Vocab Finder role will be seeking to understand words in context, verifying the meaning of terms from the vocab list and using the terms appropriately (RL.9-10.4). Students will be working independently in order to take ownership for the material and seek ways to come to their own understanding of it.
Students are working independently to ensure they gain ownership of, and take responsibility for, the material assigned. Every student works at a different pace, every student appreciates reading in a different manner. Providing students this time to work allows them to work at their own pace and comfort level, but also to have me available if they have any questions or need any clarification.
As students work, I will circulate the room to offer advice, answers, clarification, or focus as needed.
With two minutes remaining in class, I call the students back to their seats. I remind students that anything they were unable to finish in class today is homework, and I ask them to be prepared for discussion tomorrow. As I monitor their progress throughout class today, there is no exit assignment.