Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher Journal Topics SOL and Common Core Alligned

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Zip (7 MB|17 topics, four PowerPoints, 17 SmartNotebook, lesson plan)
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Lesson Plan
Introduction to Freewriting PowerPoint
Student Notes
Grading Rubric
SmartNotebook Timer
Seventeen topics keyed to specific chapters (and two for after reading the novel)
Topics arranged individually (handouts)
Topics arranged by week( handouts)
Topics on SmartNotebook with timer
Topics by week in PowerPoint


_Thirteen Reasons Why_ is an excellent book to use for class discussion. So that students will have something to contribute to class discussion, I have developed a writing prompt for each section (a total of seventeen topics) so that students can freewrite or journal (untimed writing, perhaps homework) prior to discussion. My approach is to have students freewrite at the beginning of each class. Other teachers may just want to have students write journals in class or on their own.
Peter Elbow is probably the leading proponent of freewriting. In his book Writing With Power (both editions), Elbow suggests the use of this techniques for a variety of writing products. While I do not use his methods explicitly, I do use it as a way to give students confidence in and stamina for their writing. I have found that the technique gives students confidence that they will be able to produce pages of material. After freewriting for a few weeks, they no long complain (as much) about the number of pages required for any individual writing assignment. It also helps cut back on the fatigue in their hands as writing muscles develop.
Focused freewrites are a great way to give students the freedom to think about and write about discussion topics for specific classes. I use it as a substitute for brainstorming prior to class discussions. The insistence that they write without stopping frees students, permitting them to record ideas without the self-censoring that comes when they have time to consider what they are going to write down. With focused freewriting, I am able to call on all students and ask them to share their ideas; the technique helps with students who state that they have no ideas, nothing to share in discussion, by giving them material on paper to offer. The requirement that they write without stopping about the topic allows them to claim that their ideas are not “very good” by giving them an automatic way to claim that, had they had more time, their ideas would have been better.

Goals—SOLs (Common Core are part of the listing)

9.4 The student will read, comprehend, and analyze a variety of literary texts including narratives, narrative nonfiction, poetry, and drama.
g) Analyze the cultural or social function of a literary text.
l) Make predictions, inferences, draw conclusions, and connect prior knowledge to support reading comprehension
9.6 The student will develop narrative, expository, and informational writings to inform, explain, analyze, or entertain.
a) Generate, gather, and organize ideas for writing.
10.6 The student will develop a variety of writing to persuade, interpret, analyze, and evaluate with an emphasis on exposition and analysis.
a) Generate, gather, plan, and organize ideas for writing to address a specific audience and purpose.
11.4 The student will read, comprehend, and analyze relationships among American literature, history, and culture.
d) Analyze the social or cultural function of American literature.
k) Generate and respond logically to literal, inferential, evaluative, synthesizing, and critical thinking questions before, during, and after reading texts.
11.6 The student will write in a variety of forms, with an emphasis on persuasion.
a) Generate, gather, plan, and organize ideas for writing to address a specific audience and purpose.

12.6 The student will develop expository and informational, analyses, and persuasive/argumentative writings.
a) Generate, gather, and organize ideas for writing to address a specific audience and purpose.

Total Pages
17 topics, four PowerPoints, 17 SmartNotebook, lesson plan
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 Weeks
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.


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