Classroom Strategies

I find that the easiest way to introduce this novel is by having students look up the word “passing.” I ask them to look up the word, and in one page they must provide all the different definitions they found and speculate about which definition will relate to the use of the word in the book. On the first day of class discussion over the book, I ask students to share what definitions they found and what they’ve hypothesized. This is a good activity because it allows for later discussion about how their views changed, whether the word as used in the book actually matched any of the definitions they found, whether more than one definition operates in the book. Students seem to find this activity pretty eye-opening. [Berneta Haynes]

Lesson Plan: Ending Debate (Conor Hilton)

Objectives:  1) Invite students to think critically about the ambiguity in the text’s ending  2) Practice finding and using textual evidence to support an interpretation 

I.  Welcome (5 minutes)

  1. Share Objectives
  2. Take Roll
  3. Ask for Questions?

II. Introduce Debate: "Who is responsible for Clare's death?" ( 5 minutes)

  1. Give 4 Options: Clare, Irene, John, or nobody (accidental)
  2. Poll the class (Tally votes on the board)
  3. Break Students into 4 teams
  4. Intro how debate will go (I like to have everyone speak for somewhere between 30 and 60 seconds, rotating from team to team, until everyone in the class has had a chance) 

III. Preparation (10-15 minutes)

  1. Teams look for textual evidence to support their position 
  2. Remind them to think about order of speakers and to roughly plan out arguments, anticipating arguments and ideas from other teams 

IV. Debate (15-20 minutes)

  1. Act as timekeeper/moderator 
  2. Point to the different teams as it is their turn to speak 
  3. Let the students go wild 

V. Discussion (10-20 minutes)

  1. Have students move out of their teams back to their usual positions 
  2. Take another poll and look at any change(s) 
  3. Discuss how the debate went, what was easy, what was hard, how persuasive they found each other, what they would do differently, how they felt about the activity, etc.  

VI. Closing (5-10 minutes)

  1. Recap what happened/learned (ideally a pre-assigned student does this) 
  2. Reminders of upcoming assignments & readings