Pssssst… hey, Teach. You shouldn’t be the hardest working person in the room. Leave the choices, responsibility and learning up to your students… then stand back and watch what happens.
In this student-directed literary analysis activity, students become the teacher, closely reading and analyzing an assigned chapter of a novel, then “teaching” it to the class. Working in groups, they begin by assigning roles, with each group member choosing an area of focus—whether characterization, symbolism, figurative language, etc. They closely read the chapter, extracting details in their area of focus, citing textual evidence, and collaborating to select the best of their findings. Then together, they analyze how all the individual parts affect the work together as a whole, presenting their discoveries to the class.
The literary analysis packet includes:
• Detailed Lesson Plan
with step-by-step instructions and tips for best results
• Literary Analysis Graphic Organizer Handouts
—for students to record and present their discoveries
• Summary Activity
—in which students collaborate to analyze how the individual literary elements work together to affect the whole
—to set clear expectations and make grading a breeze
This works great as a close reading activity for a single chapter or as a jigsaw activity, in which different groups are assigned different chapters or sections of a book. It can even work for short stories too! Easily adaptable to any literary genre, this activity is a great alternative to traditional read-aloud-and-question classroom strategies or the dreaded chapter quiz. And if you are squeezed for time, what better way to finish a long work than to have students divide and conquer, find their focus, and direct their own learning in a way that is far more meaningful than worksheets and quizzes?
The old notion of a classroom in which the students are sitting quietly in their seats, while the teacher is up front pouring knowledge into their brains is obsolete. Win the constant battle of student boredom and distraction by having your students take charge of their learning and achieve higher order thinking in a way that is engaging, collaborative and memorable.
Common Core Standards Covered:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 (Close reading, inference and textual evidence)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 (Theme/central idea and its development)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3 (Characterization and plot)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4 (Word choice, including connotation and figurative language)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.5 (Text structure)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.9 (Supporting findings through textual evidence)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 (Preparation, expression and collaboration)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 (Presentation of information)
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Keywords: literary analysis, novel activities, group projects, student-directed learning, short story activities, higher order thinking, close reading, textual evidence, Common Core, CCSS, theme, central idea, symbolism, conflict, word choice, vocabulary, figurative language, characterization, connotation, text structure, presentation of information, collaboration, jigsaw activity, graphic organizers, small group learning, analyzing literature