Analyzing a Flashback: Gale and Katniss Meet
Lesson 10 of 21
Objective: Students will be able to how the author develops character traits and lot by close reading a flashback.
This week's passage focuses on dialogue and how one punctuates said dialogue. Said dialogue. Please excuse me while I slap my knee for a minute.
The dialogue is the actual words that a character speaks. The words that identify which character is speaking is called a dialogue tag. Examples of dialogue tags are said Liam, explained Adam, Liam questioned, Adam shouted. Sometimes authors leave out the dialogue tags because it's apparent which character is speaking.
To punctuate dialogue that has a statement, you use a comma before the question mark. The end punctuation comes after the dialogue tag. For example, "I have just enough money to do this," said Liam. The comma shows that the dialogue is over, and the period shows that the sentence is over.
If the dialogue is interrupted by the dialogue tag, the first dialogue is not capitalized when the dialogue resumes. For example, "For a mere 49.95 including tax," Liam read aloud, "you can enroll in our online science course." The you isn't capitalized because it's not the start of a new sentence. It's continuing the dialogue, it's part of the same sentence, and so it's not capitalized.
First Read: What's Going On?
Today we are looking at a passage that is critical to understanding Katniss' character traits. It reveals why she has such a hard time with trust and friendship, and it allows students to make inferences and draw conclusions about Katniss' relationship with Peeta and how it compares to her relationship with Gale.
It's about four pages, which is a bit long for a close read, but I think it's worth it. It's definitely a passage that needs to be read and re-read, it's difficult enough, and it's important enough. I made copies of these four pages so students could mark them up and interact with the words in a more authentic manner.
Next, students wrote a response answering the questions, using their annotations. Sometimes students have a hard time with this step. They don't always make the connection between using their annotations to help them write a response. They think that the annotations and writing are two completely separate things. For those students, I ask them what they underlined. They can tell me those things, and they are comfortable telling me. Then I tell them to write those same things down. The light clicks on, and they can write. You can see six students' responses in the resource section. All of these responses were written by students in my English 7 class.
For this second read, we're going from the big idea (overall what happens) to looking in depth at Katniss, Gale, and their relationship. We're looking at what's new, what we now see about their relationship. We're going from the whole to the specific.
The second read was read aloud by me to model prosody. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to choose passages for close reading that I am wiling to read aloud five times, ten times in a day. If I'm bored when I read it, my kids are likely to be bored, too.
While I'm reading, I'm also making mental notes about what I need to emphasize with a specific class. For my inclusion and English 7 classes, I emphasize vocabulary and difficult words. For my honors, not so much. This allows me to differentiate just a bit, rather than having a one size fits all approach.
Once I'd finished the prosody read aloud, I asked students to write at least three sentences answering the second question. You can see some of the students' responses. The students that I've included samples for are some of my reluctant readers and writers.
I gave students about four minutes to write their response before asking them to share out with their groups. I gave them about four minutes to talk with their groups before we shared out as a whole class.
Third Read: Teacher Modeling
The third read is when I pry the the top off my head and let students see what's inside. EW! Gross! I'm not cleaning that up, Ms. DeVries!
Check out these these videos to see the entire third reading session. I edited out some of the down time when I was writing things, but it is 97% of the whole thing. When I was watching it, I was a bit freaked out at how quiet the kids were. It's not that surprising, though, when you remember that kids love to be read to, and this is being read to times a thousand.
Here's some of the things I highlighted:
- Katniss is completely alone at this point. She has no one she can rely on, she's not that talented of a hunter, and she's getting desperate as winter approaches. Desperate enough to admit that she needs help to a virtual stranger who could report her for stealing. Yes, it might also get him into trouble, so he's unlikely to do so.
- Katniss hasn't felt safe since her father died. It's only been six months, and she's been on her own. She's not even twelve years old.
- Gale is an authority figure to Katniss when she first encounters him in the woods. She knows who he is, but he's like an adult to her. Still, she admits that she needs help. She's smart though, that she doesn't just ask for food. She asks for knowledge.
- In the phrase "twitch-up snare", snare is a noun. Twitch-up describes what kind of snare it is, so it is an adjective.
- Their relationship takes seasons to develop. Not months, but seasons. Possibly a year or more. Neither Katniss or Gale trust people easily.
- Katniss says that she's sometimes truly happy in the woods. It's as if she's surprised by being happy in the woods with Gale. That seems to suggest that that's the only place she's happy. So, does that mean that she's not happy when she's around her sister? Does her sister not make her happy?
The last thing students did (because we didn't have enough time to both discuss and write) was talk about the last three questions in this picture.