Historical Context Support
Lesson 3 of 6
Objective: Students will review three supplementary texts in order to develop a clearer and more accurate understanding of the social environment in the story.
I begin the class by addressing the questions from the previous day that I feel need answers. I do this to ensure students have a solid understanding of the anchor text prior to introducing new texts to them today.
I then pass out two documents:
1- An informational text: 1894 Women No Longer Owned
2- Two Marriage Poems sharing the theme of marriage
I ask the students to read the three texts independently. When they are reading, I ask them to ask questions of the texts regarding things they don't understand or are unsure of, and to attempt to connect ideas, concepts, and themes between the texts.
Guided Practice - Part 1
I have the students follow up the independent reading with a discussion. I move the students into new groups, not based on ability, or any other specific thing. I simply want the kids to interact with a different set of peers to continue to get more diverse opinions and interpretations. I make sure that no table has more than 2 of it's students who sit there regularly. I want this to be a quick process, as the time needs to be spent in discussions.
I ask the students to focus this first discussion entirely on the informational text about women and marriage in 1894. Since this text provides the most clear and direct historical context to better understand the short story, I like to start with it.
In the discussions, the groups are expected to talk about how the facts and information provided in the article connect directly to the plot of the story. How does this information help to better understand the text, the characters, and the motivation and intentions of each character?
Guided Practice - Part 2
Depending on how effective the Part 1 discussions were, I choose to keep them as they are, or to make a few shifts in the group members. Regardless, the second part of this process is to now include the two poems in the discussion. I give the students the following in order to guide their discussions:
- Talk about the meaning of each poem.
- How do they describe marriage?
- How does that description fall in line with or contradict the depiction of marriage in the story?
- How does the informational text help to make the abstractness of the poems become clearer and more concrete?
I continue to move around the room, listening to the discussions, interjecting when necessary or when I feel it can propel the discussion forward in a meaningful way. The idea is that the students try to make connections, share their ideas and interpretations, listen to one another, and build upon what their peers share.