Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lesson plans

So, I have a lesson plan I have been working on for a few months now and I am finally going to get the chance to teach it this Friday in a senior creative writing class. There are two sessions of the class and I am unsure if I am going to be able to make it to teach the 2nd one because I have class. Anyway, I am so excited! I will finally get to see this plan in action. I will also find out if it is too far out in LA LA land. After all, I am assuming this plan will engage the seniors. Here it is:

Unit: Writing About Other Cultures
Subject: Language Arts and/or Social Studies Grade Levels: 9-10
Topic: Multicultural Creative Writing: Character Development
Time Allotted:1-90 min period and 60 min of the following period
Objectives: Students will learn how to develop multicultural and diverse characters for fictional writing though the use of prompts, research, group work, writing exercises and pictures. They will use information/knowledge gained to create a biographical sketch of a character from another country and use peer review literacy strategy adopted from the Critical Literacy Response strategy on page 243 of Reading and Learning Strategies.

EL.HS.WR.02 Discuss ideas for writing with classmates, teachers, and other writers, and
develop drafts alone and collaboratively.

EL.HS.WR.21 Write biographical or autobiographical narratives or short stories.

Essential Question:

What do we need to know about people from other cultures?

Curriculum Framing Question: Why is it important to learn how to write about other cultures?

Introduction 10 min: Various portraits of people from all backgrounds and ages will be posted around the room as the student enters the class. Also posted around the room will be photos of homes and places from around the world.

Desks will be arranged in groups of 3-5.
· Start: 5 min small group discussion: “What do we need to know about a character?” (age, sex, occupation, family…ect) “What about a person from another country?” Think about what really makes us "us," these are the things that go beyond just our age, occuptation, ect...

· 5 min large group discussion, write answers from each group on board. “Did knowing your character was from another country change your answers? Why?”

Biographical Prompts Activity, 30 min: Teacher introduction to topic: Think of what makes us, “us.” Things that are not on that list (see board) like our quirks, dreams, fears, morals, religions and values. Our personal histories that have shaped how we see the world. When we write characters for our stories, we must think beyond those items (sex, age, ect) to the person beneath. Today we are going to develop fictional characters from other countries, we are going to design their quirks and beliefs and turn those into a biographical sketch of a fictional character.
· Each Student will be encouraged to get up and take 3 pictures down off the walls, one portrait, one home, and one place. 1 min.
· Students will then be asked to use classroom materials to research as much as they can about the country their character is from. Materials will include mainly cultural information as opposed to country statistics. 15 min.
· Pass out handout with prompts (see end of lesson). Tell students that the 3 pictures each represent a character, that character’s home, and where that home is located. Answer questions on prompt sheet. 5 min.
· Share answers with group. 5 min.
· Begin group sharing. “What did you notice about your answers?” “Would anyone like to share their answers or share something you liked about a group member’s answer?” 3-5 min.
Individual Writing Time, 10 min.:
· Students will create a biographical sketch of their character using the information from the answered prompts and/or the prompts they came up with as a group. “Tell me about your character….” Sketch and sheet with answered prompts will be turned in for grading (at the end of the second day of the lesson) based on creativity and quality of cultural information.
Sharing Time, 30 min (timed one min per student):
· Each student will be asked to display their 3 pictures and then read their paper or, if they choose, simply tell us about what they wrote.

Day Two of Lesson plan:
In Class Writing time, 20 min:
Ø Individual Writing time to expand or edit their character biography sketch.

Peer review and literacy strategy incorporation, 20 min:
Ø Distribute Critical Literary Response Worksheet. Give instructions.

Ø Rational for literacy strategy. This strategy will help hone critical reading skills in the genre of literature. By asking students to review each other’s character sketches, they will gain valuable insight into what other students are doing (and possibly get some ideas of their own.) They will have to think about the sketch in detail and answer questions that will help their peer in editing their paper as well as practice critical reading. They are also asked to tie this multicultural character to their own lives and will have to dig deep into the text to find an answer. Because this strategy draws on reader response theory it is ideal for use in a writing class that asks students to write about the unfamiliar (as in this lesson).
Discuss worksheet answers with peer, 5 min per student, 10 min total.
Group discussion of literacy strategy worksheet. Socratic seminar (see Key Questions below), 10 min.
Conclusion, 5 min:
· Encouragements and summing up. Student input and feedback on lesson plan. Ask key questions.
Key Questions:
· Did you notice any commonalities between your own lives and the lives you created for your characters?
· Why is writing about somebody from another country more difficult? What does this tell you about diversity in America?
1. 35 Pictures of people.
2. 35 Pictures of homes.
3. 35 Pictures of places.
4. Prompts worksheet.
5. Cultural materials, such as various culture boxes.
Assessment: Students will be assessed on their abilities to write about another culture from a fictional point of view and on their class discussion participation.
Possible adaptations:
· Rather than writing out a biographical sketch, the student will be given an option of creating a collage or drawing of their character-as long as it demonstrates that the student has thought through the details of their character.

PROMPTS HANDOUT WILL INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS: (students will be encouraged to pick and choose their answers, rather than be forced to answer all of them. Answers should be 1-3 sentences at most and at least 3 questions must be answered.

1. Your character just grew wings, where will she/he fly to first? Why?
2. What is your character most afraid of?
3. What was high school like for them?
4. What issues are they passionate about?
5. What does she/he like to read?
6. Tell me about your character’s home. Why is it in this location? What drew him/her there?
7. What is their family like?
8. Where has your character travelled?
9. What is their religion? Where they raised within that religious structure?
10. If your character won the lottery, what would they do?

Peer’s name_____________________ Their Character’s name______________________
After looking at the pictures and reading your peer’s biographical sketch, please answer questions and thoughtfully and thoroughly as possible.
Do you think this character is multidimensional? Why or why not?
What questions would you want to ask this character if you were face to face? List at least 3.
What surprised you about this character?
What about this character can you relate to?
Write a statement about the possible worldview of this character.
Where do you see this character in 10 years? Explain your answer.

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