George and Lennie are like...Relationships and Power in Of Mice and Men

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SWBAT cite evidence from the text to explain the relationship between George and Lennie AND evaluate the characters' power over their circumstances

Big Idea

Back it up: Students back up their original analogies with evidence from the text before "digging in" to chapter 2

Do Now

10 minutes

For the "Do Now" today, students will write an analogy that explains the relationship between George and Lennie by completing the following sentence.

George and Lennie are like....

I will ask my students to also use evidence from chapter 1 (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1) to explain why they chose this analogy. I am asking my students to do this because it will help us to understand George and Lennie's actions and reactions as we get to know more about their circumstances in their new environment.

Check out one of my students as he shares his analogy as he compares George and Lennie's relationship to a foster parent and foster kid.

Independent Reading: Chapter 2

25 minutes

For this reading portion of the lesson, I will ask my students to silently read Chapter 2 of Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I am having them complete this reading in class because today we will begin to discuss the perceptions and actions of the characters we have met so far (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3) in the text. For my less proficient readers, I will have them read with me or a partner to gather meaning as we read. While my students are reading this chapter, I want them to pay close attention to the characterization in the text--What do the characters say, do, and think? What do other characters in the book think about one another? What are the characters' perceptions? Circumstances?  I am asking these questions to probe their thinking about these complex characters.

Building Knowledge: Determining a character's power over their circumstances

10 minutes

For this part of the lesson, I will model how to find textual evidence that will help us understand the characters in chapter 2. I will use a graphic organizer provided by Harford County Public Schools Reading English Language Arts Office in order to capture this information. We are doing this activity because it gets to the heart of the essential question for this unit: How do perceptions affect actions? We will be making inferences about the characters as we work through a closer reading of chapter 2. Here's a copy of the organizer that we will complete to capture information about the characters.

After I model how I want my students to find quotes and paraphrase the actions of George and Lennie (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1), tell what these ideas reveal about the characters (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3 ), and evaluate whether the characters are powerful or powerless, I will ask my students to work with me to practice doing the same with the character, Candy. I am modeling how I want students to complete the chart so that the expectations are clear for great work.

Since this will likely be a shortened period (due to weather), we will start working on the organizer and finish it during our next class session. I want my students to work on this in class so that I can see where they struggle in their analysis. I'm hoping that this will be a struggle-free zone, but I'll be there with my net to catch my students, just in case.


5 minutes

For homework tonight, I will ask my students to annotate (mark up) the poem "To A Mouse" by Robert Burns. Just to clear up what I mean by annotate, I will ask my students to mark up word choices, figurative language, sound devices, etc. that help them to understand the meaning of the poem (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4). I will also tell them to write questions about the text or statements in the margins to help them truly understand the piece.

We are reading this poem because John Steinbeck chose the title of Of Mice and Men from a line in this poem, and I want my students to explore the connections between the poem and the book. I am asking them to mark up the poem because this is one way of reading closely to determine meaning. After reading the poem, I will ask my students to answer the four questions on the back of the poem. The questions can be found on a literature guide that can be can be purchased at The questions focus on identifying tone, author's purpose, and theme. These are all skills that we have practiced all year, so this activity can serve as a quick refresher or assessment of whether the learning has stuck with them. If not, I'll know what to do...RE-TEACH!