This is a challenging activity that can be completed in approximately 2 class periods or as a homework assignment. Students are given 5 quotations from the play. They must analyze and evaluate each one to explain its significance in the play. This can be a very basic activity if that’s appropriate for your class. However, it is designed to be challenging, demanding students to find concrete details in a quote and apply higher order thinking skills to produce a complex — and concise — analysis. I find these activities are excellent for getting deeper into a particular text and also, importantly, for practicing and developing essential academic skills such as analysis, evaluation, and demonstration.
The exercise contains:
1. Instructions that explain the thinking skills required — so students will understand how they are developing skills that are useful beyond this particular text.
2. Instructions that include a sequence to follow — a) read several times b) read list of elements …. d) write your analysis
3. ** A concise but thorough guide to the elements students should consider** This provides students a cognitive framework to use when looking for details and constructing complex, abstract ideas.
4. An example of a full response to a quote.
5. 5 quotes to work.
The 6 page teacher’s guide contains:
1. Comments on marking. An optional marking template is provided.
2. Thorough notes for each quotation. Students cannot possibly include all that is included in the notes. The student’s job is to collect, compile, analyze and write a CONCISE response (around 10 lines). However, most ideas that any student might discuss are included in this guide, so much of the mental work of the marking is done for you.
This activity is easily differentiated for a whole class or individual students simply by determining what level of analysis and what sort of detail you expect. A student with reading/writing disabilities perhaps should have a shorter assignment, 3 quotes instead of 5. A student with cognitive challenges might be asked mostly to explain who is speaking and what it means. An ELL probably should have some sentence stems provided; with this scaffolding, a Level 4 or 5 ELL should be able to fulfill the stated expectations. For gifted students I often provide the same activity but explain that I require a deeper level of analysis, perhaps asking them to comment on contemporary culture.
For those of you who have used my worksheets for “The Lottery” and “Those Who Walked Away from Omelas” — this worksheet is very similar to the “Explain the Significance” work for each of those texts.
CC. RL. Key Details: 1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
CC. R. Craft and Structure: 4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful.
CC W. Text Types and Purposes 2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the e ective selection, organization, and analysis of content.