1. Lesson Plan for Teaching Flashback with Higher Level questioning
2. Outsiders Passages with Flashback
3. Hatchet Passage with Flashback
4. Graphic Organizer for identifying flashback
5. Exit Ticket - Another Hatchet Passage
6. Learning Target
7. Look Fors
Focus: This week the spotlight will shine on our new literary element, flashback, when reading literature. Our class will fasten their seatbelts and adjust their seat to an upright position as we fly in safety and comfort while evaluating and dissecting the Reading Street story, Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen which falls under the big umbrella genre of fiction. The realistic fiction novel, Hatchet, is a riveting survival story, that follows the main character, Brian, as he finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present – and, of course, the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart ever since his parents’ divorce.
That last line from the book synopsis just so happens to be our literary focus: “the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart ever since his parents’ divorce”. The internal struggle of Brian’s fight with knowing too much is skillfully and cleverly infused in the story with the use of a very popular author’s tool in literature, the flashback.
The concept of a flashback should mobilize your questioning troops as they stand perfectly tall, unwavering, as they inquire, “What is a flashback?” and “How does a flashback make me a better reader?”
Reading Street generates the device by stating, “a flashback interrupts the chronological order in a story to an event that happened earlier. Flashbacks may give background, show how something in the past influences a character’s actions or feelings in the present, or explain how a past event brought about a present one”.
A flashback interrupts the present and provides a vivid memory set in the past. Authors use a variety of ways to switch on or ignite the flashback. An encounter with an old or new character or entering a meaningful setting in which there is something that sparks familiarity may cause the flashback.
An author, with the intent to use the flashback as a means of adding background information, gives the reader added details about a character’s past, his or her secret (which is fitted to our passage from Hatchet), conflict, and significant events that affected that character’s life. A flashback may also provide suspense or tension to the plot as the reader navigates their way from the conflict and up the ladder as they ascend into the clouds of the rising action.
Flashbacks have a purpose, a powerful and deliberately determined purpose, as they are beautifully intertwined to connect past and present. A flashback may seem like a single entity at first glance, but they are designed to contribute to the overall craft of literature as it enhances the mood, the characters, the theme, and the setting. It is a break, like a commercial interruption, however this interruption is necessary in order to better understand the rest of the scheduled television program.
As a class we will be introduced to two types of flashback, dream sequence and memory. 1) A dream sequence is when a character has fallen asleep and dreams about past events. 2) Memory occurs when the character is interrupted by thinking about an event in the past. Through this process the author successfully indicates to the reader a flashback is occurring.
Now, the second part of our questioning mobilization: “How does a flashback make me a better reader?” This will help develop a better understanding of present events. If one doesn’t understand the intentions of a flashback, the text or story may confuse the reader. A reader can completely misinterpret the meaning of a text because they didn't understand that the character was now explaining something that had happened in the past. Since it is a break from chronological order, the events present may unfold in a bewildering manner, and therefore the reader may unsuccessfully attempt to summarize a story or identify the plot.