Reflection: Lesson Planning A Quest For Autonomy in Their Eyes Were Watching God - Section 2: Pre-Reading Activity


One interesting thing in this activity and with this book is the intersection of the author’s use of the vernacular and my students’ own struggle with Standard English. Specifically, when rewriting the sentences in this worksheet in Standard English, students made their own mistakes. For example, in this sample worksheet, this student was not able to recognize the words knowed and ain’t as words that needed to be rewritten in Standard English. She overlooked similar things, but overall, it seems clear to me that she understood the content of these sentences, which was the main goal of this activity. I don’t expect this students to get lost in the narrative because of the vernacular. Not all students struggle with Standard English though. This other sample worksheet is an example of a student who was able to write mostly in Standard English. The only confusion I see is with the specific expressions this student is not familiar with and was not able to substitute with her own word. An example is in the phrase “I reckon” in #5 and the nickname “Mouth-Almighty” in #6. Still, whether students struggle with Standard English or not, rewriting these sentences from the novel did help them focus on the vernacular Hurston uses and did give them practice figuring out how to read it. 

  Lesson Planning: Useful Worksheet
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A Quest For Autonomy in Their Eyes Were Watching God

Unit 1: Reading Their Eyes Were Watching God
Lesson 2 of 12

Objective: SWBAT begin to track the development of a central idea in the novel, autonomy, by keeping a list of quotes that reveal the main character’s quest for autonomy.

Big Idea: Janie's quest for autonomy begins now

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English / Language Arts, Black English Vernacular
  50 minutes
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