Huntingdon, PA 16652
Teacher Julian Obenauer, Subject: English, Grade 10
PA ACADEMIC STANDARD(S):
1.3.11.C : Analyze the relationships, use, and effectiveness of literary elements (characterization, setting, plot, theme, point of view, tone, mood, foreshadowing, irony, and style) used by one or more authors in similar genres
PA ASSESSMENT ANCHOR(S):
R11.B.1 Understand components within and between texts
R11.B.2 Understand literary devices in fictional and non-fictional text.
Students should show 70-90% on-task behavior during the assignment. They work on the internet with MacBook’s and thus the distraction factor is very high.
Students work with partners on one profile. They are capable to discuss their ideas about the assignment with each other and divide the labor fairly between them.
MATERIALS AND/OR EQUIPMENT:
Using the site http://www.classtools.net/fb/home/page to create fake facebook profiles.
9 Macbooks (17 students working in groups of two and one group of three).
Who in here has Facebook? (If there are students who do not know it, their peers are going to explain it).
What do you use it for? (Answers: Chatting with friends, Planning Events and Groups, Sharing personal experience with friends).
How do you think we can use Facebook for working with our novel?
Review: first-person narrator, third-person omniscient narrator, third-person limited narrator.
Students need to know, which narrator is used in A Separate Peace in order to change the events according to the task. (Narrator= Gene, first-person narrator)
The students are going to create fake Facebook profiles for either the character Finney or Gene of the novel A Separate Peace. Next to the biographical data (at least five), they are supposed to write three posts about an event of the novel in character. For example, the creation of “Blitzball”, the founding of the “Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session”, escape to the beach, Finney’s accident etc. in perspective of either Finney or Gene.
Students are required to indicate with page numbers, on which part of the book they are relying their writing. Before the students start working on their own, I will show them an example of what I expect them to do. Leper Lepellier will serve as an example (follow the link: http://www.classtools.net/fb/73/Fi8hmi, Password: Julian)
Furthermore, I created a very structured worksheet, which is supposed to help students staying on task and leading them through the assignment:
A Separate Peace – Fakebook Profiles:
Assignment: Create a fake Facebook profile with your partner for either Gene or Finney of the novel A Separate Peace.
Name of Group members:_________________________
- Go to the website: http://www.classtools.net/fb/home/page
- Remember, staying on-task will be rewarded with points at the end (see rubric on the back). Do not waste your time on the internet. Each assignment has a time limit.
- Add at least 5 different biographical information as “went to (school name), from (region), speaks (languages), plays (sports) etc. Also add at least 2 friends to the profile.
- You need to use the following formula:
- Went to= Devon School
- From = New Hampshire Vermont
- You have 10 minutes for this assignment. Check the biographical information with the book, but do not go over board (5 features is enough to get full points).
- You need to use the following formula:
- Write three posts about an important event in the book. It is important that you write in character.
- Keep in mind who and which kind of narrator A Separate Peace has:
- Who is the narrator:___________
- Which kind of narrator:______________
- For the posts:
- Support your thoughts with page numbers of the book (at least citation)
- Stay in character!
- Keep in mind who and which kind of narrator A Separate Peace has:
- Around 80 words per post.
- Use events such as: the creation of Blitzball (p. 37-40), the founding of the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session (p. 31-34), the escape to the beach (p. 46-50) or Finney’s accident (p.58-60).
- Save your profile! This is important in order to prevent losing all your work in case of a problem. Write your personal link and password down:
- Personal Link:__________________
After the students are done with their initial assignment, they can further work on their fake profile. Students now can be creative modifying and playing with posts, comments and other functions. However, their final assignment will be to comment on their initial three posts from another character’s point of view. If they have chosen Gene as a character and made a post about the game Blitzball, they comment from the perspective of Finny on that. This closure should underline the understanding that the narrator and perspective is an important stylistic device in a novel. Furthermore, it should hint to the “unreliable narrator” in other novels such as The Great Gatsby.
ADAPTATIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL AND INDIVIDUAL NEEDS:
For students who struggle with reading and writing competencies following adaptions are made. The main emphasis of the lesson is to understand stylistic devices and work text-immanent, thus students on a lower performance level should only write 1 paragraph for one instance and the two other events should be a one sentence post supported by a page number. In the case that students with a low performance level are working faster than expected , they can elaborate their one-sentence statements to a full-fledged post.
Working with peers provides further support for low-performing students. It bears the risk of an unfair division of labor in between the small groups, in which the high-performing student takes over the majority of the workload. However, I rely on the high motivation of the students, the originality of the assignment and the emphasis on on-task behavior for every student in rubric and instructions.
EVALUATION OF STUDENT LEARNING:
I evaluated the student’s work on the following rubric. I paid particular attention to on-task behavior because my greatest fear was that students are distracted by the possibilities of the internet and Macbooks. Furthermore, the rubric is as close to the worksheet as possible. Every student had a very fair chance to earn the hundred percent. I added the extra-points to further motivate students to work creatively and invest effort into the assignment.
|5 correct, biographical details||_/5||_/5|
|Showed on-task behavior||_/4||_/4|
|Filled out the Worksheet:||_/2||_/2|
|Used references from the book with page numbers for each post||_/3||_/3|
|Writing style: Stayed in character, Spelling, word choice, sentence structure, grammar, word count||_/6||_/6|
|Extra-Points:Creativity, Quantity of Posts, Several, accurate references from the book.||Up to 2:||Up to 2:|
Some of the results:
This lesson would have worked exceptionally well if there were not the crucial technological issues, which occurred at the last half of the lesson. I thought that the rigid structure of the lesson would have minimized the risk of critical mistakes. Most of the students lost their work midway through the lesson because the website was very poorly designed and thus loses all the work once you leave the page. However, the introduction and working phase of the lesson were still exceptionally good for this class.
My anticipatory set was rather simple, but effective. I asked the class whether they have Facebook and what they use it for. I knew that this was an easy way to hook the students because Facebook is an integral part of most students’ life nowadays. My further question how Facebook can be used to work with the novel A Separate Peace was answered immediately. One student concluded correctly that the following assignment is creating fake Facebook profiles for the two main characters of the novel.
Before the students started working, I reviewed the narrator in a novel as a stylistic device. The students answered right away which kind and who the narrator in A Separate Peace is. The class was split up in groups of two, in which they can choose one character to work with. The class teacher was dividing the students in groups partnering a high-performance student with a low-performance student. I showed them a prime example for a fake Facebook profile of a side character in the book (http://www.classtools.net/fb/73/Fi8hmi) as another preliminary aid. Finally, I emphasized that on-task behavior is an integral part of this lesson and also assessed in the rubric.
The students started working immediately in their groups. The first half of the lesson went exceptionally smooth. Every group was engaged in their assignment and the majority did not show any sign of off-task behavior. However, I observed that in two groups only one student was working, while the other one was doing nothing. I probably reached my behavioral objective of 70-80% on-task behavior despite the high distraction factor, which was an indicator for me that I created a great lesson. Nevertheless, I could not motivate the two off-task students to participate in the assignment. I was trying to engage the students in different ways: Assigning specific tasks in the group, motivating them to work with their peers, and finally asking whether they do not feel well since one student was lying her head on the desk. I do not know how I can improve my lesson, instruction or teaching style in order reach the ideal 100% on-task behavior. My cooperative teacher also could not offer my any advice on these particular students.
After the first half went so well, I was already certain that my lesson was a huge success. However, I did not calculate with the technological issues coming up in the midst of my lesson. More than half of the groups lost all their work because they did not save it. The website I used for this lesson always loses all the work once you leave it by mistake or purpose. Thus, the students had to start from scratch again. I think I made a severe mistake here. I was thinking about the issue of saving the work before the lesson, but did not realize the actual risk for the outcome of my lesson. The next time I will use this kind of lesson or website, I will make sure that every group saves their work right away. I would restructure the lesson the following way: Instead of saving at the end of class and working phase, they save their profile at the beginning. Next, I will remind the students every ten minutes to save their work. During the lesson, I was giving the students reminders on which part of the profile they should be working on now. I can combine these two regular announcements.
I handled this crucial issue of technology as good as I could and directed the lesson towards its end. Again, I made a rather banal mistake. I forgot to tell the students to hand in the worksheets, on which I was going to grade them on. It was so obvious to me that the worksheets should be handed back that I did not explicitly say it. I could have easily prevented this mistake and the consequent additional work to collect all those worksheets.
When I was correcting the profiles created by the students, I encountered more problems. First of all, three of the groups copied an invalid or unreadable link to the worksheet and thus I could not evaluate them. I was capable to recapture one link, but the other two groups had to do the assignment again on a sheet of paper. I think this is another shortcoming of my instructions. I should have made it very explicit that the students should copy the links readable and with high accuracy because they are that important.
Another failure of my instructions was that most students fall way below of my expectations. I talked with cooperative teacher about it and she suggested reducing the workload, but also clarifying what I expect. I think this is a very valid observation and I will take this into consideration, if I have the chance to teach this lesson again. Nevertheless, I was satisfied with the lesson for three different reasons. I achieved my two behavioral objectives: The students stayed on-task most of the time and all groups except two communicated very well with each other. Furthermore, the students were very engaged and seemed to enjoy this lesson as much as I did. Lastly, I was impressed by the student’s work ethics since they lost all their work, but started from scratch immediately without complaining. With a few tweaks regarding technology and clearer instructions this lesson could have been outstanding.
A Separate Peace – Working Material in one pdf,