“Sweat” is a great short story to use to expose students to dialect in writing, and it's great to use to teach characterization and various literary elements such as simile, metaphor, allusion, foreshadow and irony. It's also an excellent incorporation into a longer unit on Southern literature, or as an introduction to one of Hurston’s longer works such as Their Eyes Were Watching God.
In this lesson plan you will find an activating pre-reading assignment, pre-reading vocabulary, and during reading questions that help the students not only follow along with the story, but analyze it as they read. There is also a quiz and a small post-reading writing assignment.
Because teachers' lives should be made as simplistic as possible, there is a detailed answer key for the pre-reading activity, the pre-reading vocabulary, the during reading analysis and the quiz. The final writing assignment comes with a rubric for simplified grading.
This lesson plan covers the following Common Core State Standards:
Key Ideas and Details:
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
Craft and Structure:
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience
Conventions of Standard English:
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Keywords: Sweat, Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Southern literature, short story, short story analysis, dialect.