Length of Lesson: 1 hour
Skills check: Inferencing, tone, context clues, character traits, point of view, author's purpose, central conflict, bias.
Extension: Short writing prompts that require synthesis of ideas presented in both passages and problem solving.
VASOL English 7.5 and 7.6 - TSW read and comprehend a variety of fiction/non-fictional texts.
Learning target: TSWBAT draw inferences based on textual clues and synthesize information to analyze and problem solve.
MC: TSW determine and explain who is responsible for a tragic situation.
Pairs classic literature with a modern non-fiction informational text.
Hook and Engage: New video on a barn fire - http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2014/01/13/family-loses-more-than-a-dozen-animals-in-barn-fire/
Lead the kids in a discussion of fires, fire prevention, etc and help them make connections.
Background info: Black Beauty is an 1877 novel by English author Anna Sewell. It was composed in the last years of her life, during which she remained in her house as an invalid. The novel became an immediate best-seller, with Sewell dying just five months after its publication, but long enough to see her only novel become a success. With fifty million copies sold, Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time. While forthrightly teaching animal welfare, it also teaches how to treat people with kindness, sympathy, and respect. Black Beauty became a forerunner to the pony book genre of children's literature. (Wikipedia)
Possible options: a Directed Reading Thinking Activity with students for one or both passages, Learning partners; or independent work. In my class, I passed out the 1st passage and the graphic organizer, started students by reading the first few paragraphs and discussing the first question as a class. They need to understand that a horse is the narrator. I let them work in pairs through question 8, and then brought them back together to go over their answers. I then passed out the non-fiction and allowed them to work in pairs to read and answer the rest of the questions. To close, we reviewed the rest the of their answers and discussed the writing prompts.
The final two questions, which are writing prompts, may be reserved as an exit ticket. My students were very concerned about animal welfare. Although they have very little contact with horses, they were very concerned about the issue and wanted to talk about animal welfare, human responsibility and justice.