To begin students on the path of thinking and interpretation, I ask them the following prompt
What does Coming of Age mean?
I tell students that their first level of analysis should be that of a prediction. Next, students take the words "coming" and "age" and write a statement that analyzes the denotation of each word. For example, coming means an arrival or approach. Age means a length of time of existence. From here, students put the definitions together to argue that this unit supports the stage in a person's life where they approach possibilities of maturing or remaining childlike.
Students will spend this time examining the structure of information so an explanation or interpretation can be made about a quote. Prior to today, students have not done an analysis on quotes to support a much larger idea in genres. Since this is the first interaction with quotes, I give step-by-step instructions for guiding students' critical thinking through the remaining lesson activities.
From the analysis of quote handout given to students, there are not too many steps that will be used to analyze each quote. As I go over each step, students must move through them in order to gain full awareness of what each quote is saying to its reader. As each step increases, so does the level of analysis, interpretation, and support from me.
Now it's time for students to practice! Students work in cooperative groups to analyze a quote relating to the big ideas of the unit. The variety of quotes pulled for student analysis ranges from themes that evolve from both fictional and nonfictional stories and theorists. I allow students to work in groups of four. The decision behind cooperative groups allows students to challenge one another in thinking while expanding the perimeters that they may present in their analysis.
Once students have worked through the analysis process, they place their meanings and themes on a large sheet of paper. At the end of class, groups present thier understandings of their quotes. After all presentations are done, students will have purposely devised 7 themes that will serve as their brainstorming notes for the unit. As the unit progresses, each Coming of Age theme will be discussed to determine its impact on the characters and settings of literature studied in this unit.