Literature Circle Discussion: A Focus on Illustrations (Chapters 22-26)

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SWBAT present, and then analyze, a key scene in "To Kill a Mockingbird" by illustrating that scene, and justifying what is incorporated or left out of their own portrayal.

Big Idea

By visualizing a scene in "To Kill a Mockingbird," students learn what it means to walk a mile in Scout's shoes, to see what she sees.

Introduction & Welcome: It's Childhood Depression Awareness Day and National Teacher Day

3 minutes

We open class with a welcome to--and note of the importance of--both Childhood Depression Awareness Day (a.k.a "Green Ribbon Day") and National Teacher's Day.

As always, daily holidays serve to build a sense of community in the classroom, and engage students at the start of the class. 

Literature Circle Discussion: Chapters 22-26 (Illustrator Examples)

45 minutes

Students pull their desks into pods of six with the members of their groups, and take the folder for the group. These folders are used to turn in their assignments and provide a place to hold their literature circle worksheets. I also return work to students in these folders with each group meeting.

Groups check to make sure each assignment is done, and take note of any absences (in case a member of another group needs to be "taken hostage" or borrowed to fill in).

As students discuss today, I circulate the room, providing clarification and focus as needed, and especially listening for how students address the focus idea of this section of the novel: how is Scout now establishing her identity as an individual and as a member of society. I ask students to include their reactions to this, if they think she should remain a tomboy or go along with the ladies' (i.e. Aunt Alexandra's) expectations of her.

First, the Quiz Maker writes questions that require students to know strong, thorough, and specific evidence from the text that will be used to support analysis (RL.9-10.1). Members of the group answer the quiz on their Literature Circle Worksheet.

Second, the Discussion Director asks his or her questions, and has the responsibility to be the "group leader." The Discussion Director conducts the in-depth conversation about these questions, and only shares his or her responses once the group's conversation has died out. The Discussion Director's questions and draw evidence from the text to support his or her reading analysis (W.9-10.9a), demonstrating and supporting how ideas develop over the course of the text (RL.9-10.2). 

Third, the Character Sorter shares the three significant characters he or she identified. These mini-character biographies explore how Scout interact with other characters, to demonstrate how those characters and interactions advance plot and develop the key themes of the novel (RL.9-10.3).

Fourth, the Connector shares his or her connections. The connector gathers evidence to support their ideas from a multitude of sources in order to identify significant connections and comparisons between the novel, their own lives, other literary and artistic works, and the wider world (W.9-10.8), highlighting and explaining how key themes develop over the course of both the novel and their connections, summarizing the key events in the reading (RL.9-10.2). The connector also encourages reaction to and discussion about the connections, actively incorporating others into the discussion (SL.9-10.1c). 

Fifth, the Illustrator shares how he or she visualized a scene in the novel, sharing their image and write-up on it. The Illustrator portrays a key scene in the novel in two different media, and then analyzes what they chose to emphasize or leave out (RL.9-10.7). (Example 1 ImageExample 1 Write-UpExample 2 ImageExample 2 Write-Up)

Sixth and finally, the Vocab Master locates the meaning of "new" words and phrases as Scout uses them and explains the impact of this diction on the text (RL.9-10.4). As with the Quiz Maker, the students in the groups write the terms, their part of speech, and definition on the Literature Circle Worksheet. 

In the event a member of the group is absent, or the assignment is incomplete, a group should ask a member of another group to cover that assignment for them. Students are all informed this is a possibility.

Students are working in literature circles because they are both student-driven and collaborative. Students shape meaning in their interactions, drawing from the novel. The assignments require students to discuss the novel with diverse (teacher-assigned) partners, building a sense of team identity, on a wide-range of novel related topics (SL.9-10.1), including specific details of plot events (RL.9-10.1), and how these details develop themes (RL.9-10.2), characterization (RL.9-10.3), and the narrator's point-of-view influences what we see in Scout's memory of 1932-1935 (RL.9-10.5). Literature circle assignment also require students to determine the meanings of unfamiliar words and their impact on the text (RL.9-10.4). In order to demonstrate and strengthen their own learning, students present their assignments clearly to their peers, in a manner that allows group members to take effective notes on the novel (SL.9-10.4). 


Two-Minute Warning: Wrap-Up & Reminders

2 minutes

With two minutes remaining in class, I direct student groups to turn in their group's assignment folders, pull the desks back in rows, and remind them that the next two days will be focused on independent work.