Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
THE STUDENT WILL BE ABLE TO:
- cite textual evidence to support analysis of the text and characters in discussion and written analysis.
- develop a well-supported opinion comparing the maturation of two characters from the text in writing and discussion.
- participate in a whole class discussion about characters from the novel, explaining which of Maslow's needs were met by these characters.
- compose an argument analyzing characters' development according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, using textual evidence to support their claims and analysis.
- collaborate with peers in a small group setting on the topic of Maslow's Heirarchy of Human Needs and how this concept applies to the novel.
- comprehend informational text about Maslow's theories and apply them to the characters of The View from Saturday.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
Before beginning this lesson, students should:
- understand how the culture and customs in England are different from those in the United States.
- be familiar with academic competitions that can be compared to the "Academic Bowl" from the book (spelling or geography bees would be suitable comparisons).
- have a fundamental understanding of idioms and allusions. This will be useful knowledge, but students do not have to become experts at their identification.
- know what it means to be a paraplegic because one of the main characters has this type of paralysis as a result of a car accident.
- understand what an acronym is and how it different from an abbreviation. For example, SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) is an acronym because the letters spell out a word, and USA is an abbreviation because the letters do not spell out a word.
- be able to compare and contrast two characters from literature in the form of a well-developed paragraph.
- be able to write a personal narrative, using information from literature as inspiration.
- be able to compose simple poems that reflect content knowledge.
- have a working knowledge of what a plot diagram represents and how it can keep information organized.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- How do the characters demonstrate emotional change and personal growth throughout the novel?
- In what ways do the characters enrich each other's lives?
- What does age or gender have to do with how many human needs are met on Maslow's scale?
- Is every person given a chance to have all of their needs met, or does it depend on family background or personality?
- Does an individual need to meet all lower level needs before higher needs can be satisfied?
- How can a personal tragedy or severe disability bring out the best in someone's character?
- Why does participation, not winning or losing, have the greatest value in competition?
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
Note: This lesson is meant to be taught in 2 1/2 class days, based on 90-minute block classes, after students finish reading the novel, The View from Saturday, by E.L. Konigsberg.
The "Hook" and Activation of Prior Knowledge:
- To introduce the comparisons between male and female characters the Triangle of Triumph activity involves, the teacher will administer a "Needs Survey" to the students to explore gender stereotypes about people's needs and goals for their lives.
- First, the teacher will distribute the Needs Survey handout.
- Then, the teacher will read aloud four opinion statements and students will respond to each by putting an "X" somewhere on each line, based on how much they concur with each statement. Statements:
--Boys have a greater need for respect than girls.
--Girls have a greater appreciation for beauty or art than boys.
--Boys do not need to feel belongingness and love as much as girls.
--Girls have stronger emotional needs than boys.
Introducing/Modeling the Concept or Skill
1. The teacher will review the key elements of The View from Saturday to prepare students to analyze the novel's plot and characters.
2. The teacher will display or project the cover of the book and ask students to explain how the images, symbols, and title connect with what happened in the story. Possible responses: The "View" being shown in the picture is the window of the quaint house, which contains the image of a cup of tea in each pane of glass. The four tea cups symbolize four "Souls", who get together every Saturday at a Bed and Breakfast that belongs to Julian's family.
3. The teacher will ask students to define "epiphany"(maybe have them look it up in the dictionary, if necessary) and ask how the cover hints at what it means to have an epiphany. Students might say that it opens windows of opportunity and allows people to see their place in the world in a different light. This should make the students consider the spiritual re-awakenings experienced by the eclectic group of students (Nadia, Noah, Ethan, and Julian).
4. The teacher will ask students to explain the central plot: four middle-school aged kids from disparate cultural backgrounds become part of an academic team that completes in various trivia competitions, while overcoming personal challenges. The students will also be asked to explain how the characters' involvement with this extracurricular activity is a big part of how their hidden talents begin to blossom, which helps them become stronger individuals and a more unified group. The teacher should hear examples from the class about what each of the Souls learned about themselves and each other.
5. The teacher will distribute the Plot Pyramid handout and project or display it for the class. The teacher will read the directions aloud, reminding students that they should select words and phrases carefully since this is meant to be a poetic retelling of the novel's plot. Students may use their novels and literature textbooks to use as reference materials. The teacher will remind students of other shaped or structured poems they may have completed over the course of the year (diamante, cinquain, haiku) that have a heavy reliance on word count. Plus, it can be pointed out that this type of poetry, like most forms, requires precise word choice. This graphic organizer incorporates the parts of a plot diagram into each line, so students will be instructed to read through the definitions of terms like exposition, rising action, climax, and falling action so they know what types of book information to provide. Students are encouraged to use their novels to help them remember key events, but they must put ideas in their own words.
6. To introduce the Triangle of Triumph assignment, which will be completed after students compose their Plot Pyramid poems and read the information about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, it is recommended that the teacher lead students in completing a practice Triangle Chart as a class. The teacher should select two characters, one male and one female from another book or story the class has already studied. Using students' input, the teacher will fill in a class Triangle Chart on the board. As the class helps the teacher to complete the practice Triangle of Triumph, the teacher might ask students the following questions: "Why do you think this character reached the peak of the pyramid and not the other one?" "What proof do you have that Character #1 fulfilled Respect and Beauty?" "Why do you think Character #2 only met the bottom half needs and not the upper tier?" When you plotted your character's needs, how do you account for the unshaded middle section (developmental gaps) of the pyramid?"
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
Teacher Actions During the Activity:
1. While students work independently to compose their Plot Pyramid poems, the teacher will circulate around the room, monitoring students' work and answering questions. Dictionaries and thesauruses might be very helpful as students write. This is also an opportunity for the teacher to informally check for comprehension of the book's plot.(Students may need to complete these as homework.)
2. After students have completed their Plot Pyramids, the teacher will display or project a picture of Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, explaining that Maslow's theory of human maturation is meant to explain human growth, motivation, and happiness. The teacher should briefly discuss each step in the pyramid, reviewing the key terms with students. This will lead into the Guided Practice activities, in which students will connect their understanding of Maslow's theory to the plot and characters of the novel in the Triangle of Triumph.
3. Before students begin working on their Triangles of Triumph, they should become well versed with all of the elements of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. The teacher should distribute information on Maslow's Hierarchy of needs (see Wikipedia article on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs) and direct students to work with a partner to read about each level of the pyramid, from the bottom up. It might be helpful for students to take notes about each level of the pyramid and to think of examples of how certain needs have been met in their own lives (family vacations/individual milestones).
4. The teacher will circulate around the room while students work with partners (or in groups), monitoring students' work and answering questions.
5. While students are still in their home groups, the teacher will distribute the Guiding Question handout (see attachment) and students will work collaboratively to answer these questions in their notebooks.These questions will help the students make the connection between Maslow's Pyramid of Needs and what happens to the four Souls in the novel.
6. The teacher will circulate around the room while students work with partners (or in groups), monitoring students' work and answering questions. This is an opportunity for the teacher to informally check for comprehension of the book's plot and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. It also affirms whether the students are ready to proceed to the Triangle of Triumph home learning assignment.
NOTE: The teacher might prefer to have students work in small groups to read about and to clarify their understanding of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Expert groups might also be useful, in which students work in "home" groups of 5 to 7 members where each student picks one of Maslow's needs that they will solely focus on in their "expert" groups. Then, each member will disperse from their "home" groups and meet with all other students who have been assigned the same element of the pyramid. These "expert" groups learn as much as they can about their specialty for about 20 minutes, then report back to their "home" group. Last, each group member will give a 3-5 minute presentation to their home groups about their respective concepts while everyone else is taking notes. Each presenter in the home groups should supplement their explanation of each need with detailed examples from characters in past readings.
Student Actions During the Activity
1. Students should work independently to compose their Plot Pyramid poems, retelling the plot using specific details from the novel. Students may need to refer to dictionaries and thesauruses as they write. (Students may need to complete these as homework.) It is important that they provide distinct pieces of information per line. In other words, every line is its own thought and describes a different part of the plot. Extraneous plot details should not be used; only those that have a bearing on the final outcome of the story. It is helpful for students read their final products aloud to themselves so they can hear how well it events flow together (chronological order), as well as correcting any spelling or usage mistakes that silent reading may catch. A pencil should be used, since students are likely to do a lot of erasing and rearranging in order to meet the format requirement.
2. After students have completed their Plot Pyramids, they should take notes on the teacher's explanation of the picture of Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs pyramid the teacher displays or projects. Students should volunteer responses and ask questions as appropriate.
3. Using the information on Maslow's Hierarchy of needs and their notes from the discussion, students should work with a partner (or small group) to read about each level of the pyramid, from the bottom up. They should take notes about each level of the pyramid and think of examples of how certain needs have been met in their own lives (family vacations/individual milestones).
4. Students will work with their partners (or groups) to answer the Guiding Questions distributed by the teacher. Each student should answer the questions in his/her notebook.These questions will help the students make the connection between Maslow's Pyramid of Needs and what happens to the four Souls in the novel.
Note: In either activity, students might be directed to consider a number of specific questions relating to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Does your age contribute to how many of the higher needs can be fulfilled? Can knowledge, beauty, and self-truth (top 3) only be reached as an adult? Or, do all three lower-tier needs (belongingness, safety, and survival) have to be reached in the childhood/young adult years, or can they be attained later in life? Are the higher needs too lofty for some people to ever reach, or does everyone eventually get to the top of the pyramid?
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Teacher Actions for the Triangle of Triumph Activity:
1. The teacher will distribute the Triangle of Triumph handout to each student. Students should select two characters, one male and one female, from The View from Saturday, and compare them on the basis of how many of their human needs were reached by the end of the book.(The teacher may want to assign the two characters by having students draw names from a hat.) The teacher can tell students to not be influenced by what they said in their Needs Surveys and to take a more objective approach to understanding their characters exploits.
2. The Triangle of Triumph graphic organizer is a modified version of Abraham Maslow's "Hierarchy of Human Needs" Pyramid. Some of the more technical terminology of Maslow's scale has been replaced by simpler language. Since this novel deals with the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional enlightenment of a team of students and their teacher/advisor, students will be able to find an abundance of instances in the book when characters fulfilled certain needs in their lives.
3. The assignment has two parts: analyzing and graphing the levels of needs met by each character, and interpreting the results of this analysis.
4. Students will shade in each section according to their interpretation of the characters' fulfillment of each type of need over the course of the novel. When students are completing their triangle charts, it is recommended that they fold over one side of it while they shade in the needs met by one of the characters. This will ensure a genuine analysis of the "competing" characters. Many of the upper levels of needs are often dependent on whether an individual met the lower needs, but it is possible for students to have gaps in their triangle, whether or not the character reaches the pinnacle (self-truth). Each side of the triangle will not necessarily look like a bar graph when levels are shaded in. Instead, a mosaic appearance could be the case, since characters may attain some of the needs, but fall short of reaching the others.
5. The teacher should explain that after completing the shading of the pyramid for each character, students will write an overview of what the chart is showing (rather than an item-by-item description of the sections of the pyramid). Their analysis should be supported by specific textual evidence that justifies their interpretation, indicated by shading in a section of the pyramid, that a character fulfilled certain needs in the hierarchy.
6. Students should be directed to respond to the prompt: "When comparing the two characters you have charted, how are their journeys similar and different?" Appropriate signal words for comparing and contrasting are expected to be used (but, conversely, similarly, likewise, etc.). It should be no more than a paragraph. There is space to the right of the triangle, labeled "Character Notes," to record this analysis, but if students feel that they do not have enough room to complete it on the handout, they can use their own notebook paper. (Students may need to complete the Triangle of Triumph for homework.)
7. The teacher should explain to students that they will be required to present their findings and analysis on the next class day. This part of the lesson can be in the form of a debate or a round table discussion.
8. On the next class day, students will bring in their completed triangular charts and begin an informal debate on how many of Maslow's needs were met by each character. To focus students' thinking and discussion, the teacher will write the following prompt on the board: "When comparing the two characters you have charted, how are their journeys similar and different from each other?" Students should use their Triangle Chart and written analysis as a handy reference during the informal debate. The goal is to not just argue whether or not students' opinions are backed up by plot details, but also to break down stereotypes in terms of which needs are "supposed" to be met by girls/women, as opposed to boys/men in society.
9. The debate will involve the following steps:
- Every student will be asked to take out their completed Triangle Charts and accompanying paragraphs that interpret what the charts show. They will keep them on their desks for the duration of the debate so they may refer to them when stating their arguments.
- The teacher will begin the discussion or debate by asking students to raise their hands if they analyzed Ethan. Those students will discuss how many needs were reached by this character, concurring or rebutting with each other's arguments when necessary.
- This process will be repeated for each member of the Souls (Nadia, Noah, Mrs. Olinski, and Julian) with students not only observing how the male and female characters differed in their climb up the chart, but how male and female classmates perceived things differently for each Soul.
- After 45 minutes, the teacher will bring the debate to an end by saying that everyone made valid points and that all opinions are well-supported. The teacher will then collect each chart and written analysis for evaluation, using the attached rubric.
Student Actions for the Triangle of Triumph Homework Activity
1. Students should complete the Triangle of Triumph as directed by the teacher, shading in areas on the pyramid that correspond to their interpretation of each character's fulfillment of his/her needs.
2. When students are completing their triangle charts, it is recommended that they fold over one side of it while they shade in the needs met by one of the characters. This will ensure a genuine analysis pf the "competing" people from the book. Each side of the triangle will not necessarily look like a bar graph when levels are shaded in. Instead, a mosaic appearance could be the case, since characters may attain some of the needs, but fall short of reaching the others.
3. In the written analysis section labeled "Character Notes" on the Triangle Chart handout, the student should explain what their completed triangle chart is showing, rather than an item by item description. They should respond to the prompt: "When comparing the two characters you have charted, how are their journeys similar and different from each other?" Appropriate signal words for comparing and contrasting are expected to be used (but, conversely, similarly, likewise, etc.). It should be no more than a paragraph. If students feel that they do not have enough room to complete it on the handout, they can use their own notebook paper. (Remember, this part of the handout may need to be completed at home.)
4. Students will participate in the informal class debate by listening actively, sharing their ideas, responding to classmates' idea, and providing textual evidence to support their responses. Every student will be asked to take out their completed Triangle Charts and accompanying paragraphs that interpret what the charts show. They will keep them on their desks for the duration of the debate so they may refer to them when stating their arguments.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
1. Once the debate has finished, the teacher will remind students of the opinions about gender needs they identified at the beginning of the lesson by returning the students' Needs Surveys. Students should be asked to compare these ideas to how they charted their characters needs in the Triangle of Triumph, considering whether their preconceived notions about what girls and boys need out of life are challenged or changed as a result of their character analysis. The teacher may want students to write for 10-15 minutes about these questions to prepare for class discussion on the topic.
2. The teacher should then focus the discussion on the list of thematic questions in the Guiding Questions section above, this short discussion will focus on the broader themes of the novel and their impact on society. Students can also be queried on the unconventional way in which the story is narrated and how that impacted their enjoyment of the book. Furthermore, since this book is packed with useful trivia about an assortment of topics, the teacher can find out whether students are more motivated to join academic teams because of their new found knowledge.
3. Ultimately, the students should realize that it is not the genders of the characters that determine their needs in the novel, but the individual conflicts, motivations, and values of those people. For instance, before investigating what needs were fulfilled by the eclectic group of pupils in the book, a common response from most students might be that only girls have a need to see and do beautiful things. However, they may discover that Ethan and Nadia both satisfied their need for beauty when they helped save baby sea turtles by guiding them to the safety of the ocean. Or that Mrs. Olinski (teacher/advisor) and Julian (a young Indian boy) both found belongingness and love just from being part of the Academic Bowl team. Some students who may have said in their surveys that boys have a greater need for respect than girls could be overruled by the simple fact that Mrs. Olinski, a paraplegic educator, had the most to prove both professionally and personally. She is often the victim of discrimination, especially in the workplace, based on her physical limitations.
4. The teacher will close by saying: "Remember, in life, the journey is more important than the destination. So enjoy the ride!" A reference might be made to the plight of the sea turtles mentioned in the novel and the miraculous voyage they endure before returning to their nesting grounds, halfway around the world.
TRIANGLE OF TRIUMPH
1. After reading the novel, The View from Saturday, students will pick two characters (or the teacher may want to assign them by having students draw names from a hat), one male and one female, and compare them on the basis of how many of their human needs were reached by the end of the book. This will be an independent assignment.
2. Students will use a graphic organizer called the "Triangle of Triumph", which is a modified version of Abraham Maslow's "Hierarchy of Human Needs" Pyramid. Some of the more technical terminology of Maslow's scale has been replaced by simpler language. Since this novel deals with the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional enlightenment of a team of students and their teacher/advisor, students will be able to find an abundance of instances in the book when characters fulfilled certain needs in their lives.
3. The assignment has two parts, which involve shading in the levels of needs met by each character, and interpreting the results by providing textual proof that justifies a person reaching a certain point on the pyramid. There is space to the right of the triangle to record this analysis. Many of the upper levels of needs are often dependent on whether an individual met the lower needs, but it is possible for students to have gaps in their triangle, despite their characters reaching the pinnacle (self-truth).
4. On the next class day, students will bring in their completed triangular charts and begin an informal debate on how many of Maslow's needs were met by each character. The goal is not to just argue whether or not students' opinions are backed up by plot details, but also to break down stereotypes in terms of which needs are "supposed" to be met by girls/women, as opposed to boys/men in society. The teacher can initiate the discussion by asking how many students were assigned Noah, for instance, and then all of the "Noahs" will explain how far up the chart this character reached. Next, the teacher can ask about a female character and the process is repeated until all characters are discussed. This debate or discussion should run about 45 minutes.
5. A rubric for the Triangle of Triumph and the debate is provided.
1. In preparation for the summative assessment, the teacher will have the students complete a graphic organizer called the "Plot Pyramid", about story events in the documentary fiction novel, The View from Saturday. This assignment should be given once the book has been read in its entirety.
2. Students will retell the novel's plot using a limited number of words per line. Each line, which is labeled and ordered according to most plot diagrams (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and end), will contain an increasing number of words so that when written, it forms the general shape of a pyramid (2, 4, 6, 8, and 9 or 10 words in successive lines). Since this is a poem of sorts, complete sentences and punctuation are not a vital part of the evaluation process. Space is limited for expressing ideas, so students should avoid using articles and conjunctions unless it is absolutely necessary. Each line should be a separate thought that discusses a different part of the plot. Descriptive, concise phrases are recommended. This graphic organizer should summarize the plot in a way that anyone who has never read this novel, can easily get the gist of the story. Students will use a thesaurus for word choice, the novel as the primary reference, and a plot diagram example (found in most literature textbooks) to review definitions of the terminology.
3. This activity, which will be assigned during class time, should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. A rubric has been provided so teachers can see what students are supposed to pull out of this activity.
NOTE: Since the "Plot Pyramid" has visual or concrete appeal, students are more likely to internalize the content because the strategy stands apart from the traditional method of recording notes. In order for the students to look more closely at character achievements in the subsequent activity, they need to have knowledge of the novel's plot.
Feedback to Students
Plot Pyramids: If there is a logical sequence of events and the main idea of the book is outlined in the poem, this can be considered a successful assignment. The teacher can make grammar corrections when there are issues of syntax, usage, spelling, punctuation, and/or capitalization. This activity helps the teacher understand whether the class as a whole has a fundamental grasp of the storyline. If too many learners are having trouble following the sequence of events, the teacher can spend additional class time reviewing the plot, prior to assigning the Triangle Chart. For instance, if the teacher feels as if the student focused too much on the actions of one character, he/she can re-focus the student's thinking on what all four Souls accomplished as a team.