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This original and creative lesson begins with the premise that there are 8 unique narrative threads tangled up throughout Part I of the novel. (See preview for examples). Student will get into small groups to untangle one of the 8 threads. Then each group will share the reassembled details on an all-class google doc they can use to study and clarify their comprehension. The activity covers chapters 1 through 15, and it ultimately prepares students for an enriching experience with chapter 16, "The Apocalypse."
Due to its originality, students will find it difficult to look up answers on the internet; instead, they will need to do their own work, thus solidifying they own learning.
As written, this lesson works best for a 1:1 classroom or for a class with frequent access to computers in a lab or a library. The ideas of the lesson will also translate to pen and paper notes, but the teacher would need to revise how students share their threads with each other.
Each thread has a teacher guide (see preview for an example). It includes a summary of the thread and tips for grouping and differentiation. These eight guides are especially helpful for a teacher who is new to this novel.
Before starting the untangling, teachers have the option to begin the lesson with a fun, literally hands-on anticipation activity. First, students will have an untangling race, then they will complete a crossword puzzle and a grammar exercise, both pertaining to the novel. The instructions for this additional activity, and the two worksheets are included in this lesson (yarn not included).
To be clear, the lesson pack includes the following:
1) An overview of the assignment
2) Suggestions for small groups
3) Link to student notes space on editable google doc
4) Link to detailed student instructions on editable google doc
6) Instructions for a fun frontloading/anticipation activity
5) Grammar exercise with key
6) Content-based crossword puzzle with key
7) Teaching guide for all 8 narrative threads
8) Additional instructional suggestions.
This is student-centered lesson that fosters close reading and a deep understanding of Toni Morrison's Beloved, and the extra attention in the beginning of the novel will pay dividends by the end of the novel study!