Last Man Standing is a great game to plan after an extended break from reading, such as after vacation, because it a fun and relatively quick way of reminding everyone of the text. To start the game, everyone stands up by their desks. We go around the room and each person says one thing from the book, but there are a few caveats: they can't repeat something that anyone else has said, they have a limited wait time to answer, and I have the right to ask follow-up questions at any point in order to clarify or extend knowledge. When students can't think of a new fact or they repeat any response, they sit. And the winner is the last man/woman standing. The game rewards those who have read and remembered the text, and it encourages students to scrutinize what others say, since they are trying to win (SL.9-10.1a). It is always fun to play and it can get pretty competitive. As a bonus, everyone learns while they pay attention, especially in the last round.
Here's a look at the final three competitors.
As an assessment for this section of the text, students will be writing an open response, the term our district uses to describe a one-page, organized response about a specific text (W.9-10.2). The prompt asks students to evaluate the changes in Pip from the beginning of the text until the end of his second stage of expectations. It also asks students to reflect upon those who have influenced these changes. We wrote the last open response together, but the students will write this one independently for homework, hopefully calling upon the skills we practiced last time. We will review the necessary elements of an open response, including a thesis (W.9-10.2a), organized paragraphs, topic sentences (W.9-10.2c), and integrated quotes with analysis (W.9-10.2b).
I will give them time in class today to ask questions and brainstorm together (W.9-10.5). I like to give them time to think through which quotes they would like to use and work to find them in the text. Sometimes students will ask where a specific event or quote is located within the text, which I am happy to help them find. It proves that they are thinking and know what they want to say. I fear that if I just send them home with the question, they will merely google the question or search for famous quotes, instead of using their brain. I constantly recognize how hard it must be for them to resist the temptations of the internet and I feel that a simple 15 minutes in class, where they can flip through the book, can make all the difference between an essay that is their own work and one that they copy and pasted from different internet sites.
Students are writing the open response for homework over the next two nights.
To make sure that they are ready to write, I will ask students to share some of their ideas for the essay with the group. I will ask questions such as: In what ways, exactly, has Pip changed? How do you know? What or who caused the change? The answers to these questions will tell me that they are ready to write and they will provide fodder for those who may be struggling more.