Teacher commentary and reflection
I asked the essential question because it combines the
strategy of compare and contrast and the social issue of
the effects of war on people and, more specifically, on
immigrants who have come to our country in the past and
who will soon arrive again as a result of the current conflict
in the Middle East. My students are ninth graders, mixed
levels. Because many of them do not do homework dependably,
I chose to read the entire book in class. The students are
led through the lessons step-by-step to assure as much success
across the board as possible.
Student work was evaluated by scoring of content and
effort through observation and by comparison to scoring
What worked is making sure everyone is together, working
on the same issues, helping each other in groups, and feeling
free to ask questions when they are confused.
What also worked was breaking things down in steps as
in preparing for the essay writing by knowing the topic
at the beginning of the reading and charting as the book
in order to have plenty of notes and quotes for the essay.
Finally, we spent time reviewing the nature of their characterization
with the help of the "Character
pdf file questions;
we practiced comparisons with the Venn Diagram, and went
over a suggested outline, and common vocabulary and syntax
used for comparison. What didnt work was some students
were absent and got confused about the book, but we reviewed
for them and some people shared their "Character
pdf file charts with
Possible revisions would be to have the reading done
at home and test each day to make sure it was completed.
The literary analysis papers on the rap and the novel
and the "Knowledgeable
pdf file may be challenging
for GATE and other gifted students. They may want to do
further background research related to Vietnam, the war
and immigration from war torn countries, gangs in America,
or interracial relationships. Slower students are cared
for in the text of this unit, where everything is broken
down for them.
An extension for the unit would be to study Luis Valdez'
antiwar play "The Buck Private." In this drama, Johnny is
off to join the war as a private. Death, the narrator and
character in the play says about Johnny, "Look at his face.
Know what he's thinking? He's thinking
.'Now, I'm a
A further extension would be to show and discuss Jackson
Katz' video "Tough Guise: Violence, Media, and the Crisis