Annotating Meanings to Understand Lyrics in "Amazing Grace"

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SWBAT determine figurative meanings of phrases as they are used in fictional text to impact the tone and assumptions of an author.

Big Idea

Talking in the Margins to Understand the Meanings of Phrases in Fictional Stories!

Warm-Up: Questioning the text

7 minutes

Annotating is a skill that allows students to take notes in the margin of a text. This is the second year my students have used annotation as a means to remain engaged in an active reading strategy while reading inside or outside the classroom. There is no one set way for students to annotate a text. I prefer for students to annotate by a literary skill so they can identify the skill, cite examples in text, and analyze its impact on the literature.

It is time to hook students in annotating! Students will read the fictional story, Amazing Grace, silently and write questions they have about information read in the text. I start students with a questioning activity since this story contains elements that could be questionable based on what students have been learning in class about Indians traveling along the Trail of Tears. Listen to my Amazing Grace Selection Reflection video to understand why this selection was chosen for this lesson! If questions are developed from this silent sustained reading, they will be share now and answered at the end of class.

Building Knowledge: Annotation vs. Note-Taking

10 minutes

I will provide a Annotating Text Guidelines handout that describes for students the difference versus note taking and annotation. Students will be asked to read over the handout silently. What I love about this handout is the rationale it gives for annotating along with the many options that can be used to mark up a literary text. This is the first year that I am pairing annotation with analysis so this guideline gives students enough guidance to reflect in a written language what their thoughts are throughout the text.

After the reading of the handout, I will explain to my students how to record their thinking when writing notes in the margin of the selected article. Because I want students to focus on the literary elements of the text, this step in the lesson is important because annotating focus is text dependent and will change based on the text that students are reading.

Independent Practice: Annotating for Literary Meaning

20 minutes

What is figurative language? Students quickly associate similes, metaphors, personification, and symbolism as examples of figurative language. While this is true, identifying these examples in literature and determining its impact on literature can led students to a new discovery behind the "true meanings" of a text. Because of these interwoven expressions, I want students annotating these figurative examples to answer questions about “why” events and ideas occurred in a text.

Students will work with a partner to underline examples of figurative language and annotate its meaning in the margin of the text. I will allow students to share their responses so they can dive into finding out how imaginary events can bring out realistic information associated with the text. As seen in the Front side of student work sample and Back side of student work sample , there were more examples of personification used in the selected literary text than other forms of figurative language. As a result, we discussed as a class how the personified examples in the text reflect movement of the characters, emotions, and plot during this horrific time period.

I want to create learning opportunities where students understand the foundations that make fictional stories unique to its genre. In this activity of annotating figurative language examples, students are able to cite evidence of how a fictional story about the Trail of Tears confirms what has been learned through the primary, historical resources used throughout this unit. 

Exit Ticket: Compare and Contrast

10 minutes

To conclude students’ understanding of the rituals used by Native Americans along the Trail of Tears, students will listen to Amazing Grace sung in the Cherokee language.  After listening to the song, students will respond to the following prompt:

Which source (Amazing Grace fictional story or song with lyrics) do you think effectively describes the mood of the Cherokee Indians and their experiences along the Trail of Tears?