The Setting In You
This dynamic lesson is a wonderful way to review setting, connotation and symbol (or extended metaphor) while integrating critical thinking skills, writing, creative expression and public speaking. And while this lesson can be taught at any point during the year, it works especially well at the beginning, helping your students to get to know each other and you to know them. Parents and students alike will tremendously enjoy seeing this assignment posted on your classroom walls and it will make your space come alive for Back-to-School Night.
This assignment is also wonderful lead-in to reading short stories that involve the study of symbols and what they represent. I have used it before reading …
• “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst, with students looking at the shared qualities between the beautiful creature the story is named after and the unique, but tragic character, Doodle – both alive and in his death.
• “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe focusing on how the devious Montresor is like the Carnival, his Palazzo and the Catacombs.
• “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant exploring how Madame Loisel shares similar qualities with the fake jewels she borrows loses and, as the years pass, ironically becomes more like the real diamond necklace she replaces them with.
If you like this assignment, check out my lessons for these great short stories too.
This lesson package includes the following materials:
• A detailed lesson that will set-up the assignment so that students understand expectations and produce great work. The lesson also includes strategies for modeling, checking for understanding, and building in accountability through exit tickets.
• Copies of the “Setting in You” assignment sheet that includes a model paragraph to pass out to students
• A list of possible settings to choose from to give students ideas
• A list of adjectives that describe traits and characteristics of people
• A pre-writing graphic organizer
• A rubric for scoring both the writing and visual aspects of this assignment.
This lesson assumes students have a basic understanding of setting and symbol although a quick introduction to these terms can easily be integrated into these plans and some ideas for doing so are included. The primary objective is for students to use critical thinking skills as they identify connections between a setting they choose and their own personal qualities, interests and values. This process also serves to reinforce the concept that a good symbol has shared qualities with what it represents.