10th Grade English : Unit #15 - Literacy: "The Great Gatsby" Characterization, Style, and Visual Literacy : Lesson #7

"Town Tattles": Characterization Though Rumors

Objective: SWBAT analyze how F. Scott Fitzgerald develops mystery around Jay Gatsby in order to build suspense by reviewing events from their reading and creating tabloid covers reporting on the rumors around Gatbsy.
Standards: RL.9-10.1 RL.9-10.3 W.9-10.1b SL.9-10.1 SL.9-10.1d
Subject(s): English / Language Arts
60 minutes
1 Introduction & Welcome: It's Pi Day! - 8 minutes

It's Pi Day! (March 14th, 3.14) And while the math department is celebrating the mathematical perfection, we're celebrating dessert in another way, with our Friday Favorite vote on Girl Scout Cookies. Girl Scout Day was earlier this week, and cookie sales have recently wrapped up, so for today's Friday Favorite, students are voting for their favorite cookie. I project a list of the Girl Scout Cookies, and poll the students on their favorite. 

As with the Daily Holidays, Friday Favorite votes serve to build a sense of community and trust within the classroom, encouraging students to share their thoughts and participate in a wide range of discussions, build on others' ideas, express their own ideas clearly (SL.9-10.1). In addition, the practice developing and supply evidence for their claims--even in an informal situation--should translate to students' writing as we develop more critical and evaluative pieces this semester (W.9-10.1b). 

2 Discussion & Review of Chapters 3 and 4: Recall & Inferencing - 15 minutes

Similarly to our review of Chapters 1 and 2 (see the lesson, "Chapters 1 and 2, In Review: A Shared Class Discussion"), and in order to get students up and moving--there is a  strong connection between physical movement and learning--as well as giving the students a chance to take ownership of the material, I project the review guides to Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 on the front board. Students write their responses to the study guides on the board. The questions on the study guide ask for textual evidence, which we then use to support the student's interpretation of the novel (RL.9-10.1). 

Once the questions have been answered, we debrief and discuss their responses as a class as a collaborative, but teacher-led discussion giving students a chance to express their ideas (SL.9-10.1). Students explain (qualify) and/or justify their answers, making new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented by others (SL.9-10.1d).

Continuing to explore F. Scott Fitzgerald's complex characterization in depth, I especially focus student's discussion on Jay Gatsby, how Nick describe him, and Nick's impressions during the luncheon, with a focus how Gatsby interacts with the other characters--especially Nick--over the course of the two chapters (RL.9-10.3). 

Students receive participation credit for answering or developing at least two answers over the course of our study of "The Great Gatsby," ensuring each students gets multiple opportunities to share their answers, and motivating them to do so (with their grade). In addition providing movement and ownership for the students, this review provides me with an opportunity to gauge student comprehension, as well as motivation to get up, to share in class, and to complete their assignment. 

Review Reflections: Thoughts on Motivation
Discourse and Questioning

By asking students to respond with their answers on the board, I am able to check their understanding and hold a discourse over their understanding. At this point, students are still motivated to come up and respond, but I notice that a few still remain in their seats and do not want to answer. An advantage of the more active kids coming to the board is that I can gauge those who prefer to participate passively, addressing and engaging them directly as we clarify and debrief on the questions.  

3 "Town Tattles": Understanding Rumors About Jay Gatsby - 25 minutes

In order to fully understand the mystery surrounding Jay Gatsby, and how this mystery impacts Nick and drives the plot, students are directed to create the cover of the "Town Tattle", a tabloid magazine mentioned in the novel and appearing in the 2013 film adaptation.

The "Town Tattle" cover requires students to locate specific rumors about Jay Gatsby as the headlines of their tabloid cover, that demonstrates the ability to locate specific textual evidence (RL.9-10.1). Inclusion of the rumors around Gatsby demonstrates student understanding characterization and how it develops the tone of suspense surrounding Gatsby, as well as how Nick grows to trust him despite the rumor (RL.9-10.3). Additionally, the covers connect to pop culture, giving the students a touchstone in the real world to connect to.

Students are given the opportunity today to work on the cover of the "Town Tattle," or, if they wish to create a digital design, may complete it at home and read Chapter 5 of "The Great Gatsby" in order to prepare for our next class review. 

Completed student Town Tattles will be hung around the classroom. 

Telling Tales: Crafting The Tabloid Covers
High Quality Task

Giving students the flexibility to create their "Town Tattle" covers in class produced high-quality work from them. As can be seen in the video of the student explaining his cover, the students put a lot of thought into their design, and took the time to research and identify specific rumors about Jay Gatsby. The included covers demonstrate this effort and quality. The "Town Tattle" project offered the students a chance to explore perceptions of Gatsby in depth, and see how these rumors spread around the party, in the place of any factual information about him. 

4 Two-Minute Warning: Wrap-Up and Reminders, Homework - 2 minutes

With two minutes remaining, students are asked to return any art supplies and put the desks back in rows. They are reminded that if they did not complete the Town Tattle today in class, or if they chose to complete it digitally, it needs to be finished for the next class (Monday). Students were given the Chapter 5 and 6 Review Guide; Chapter 5 is due for two days from now, Chapter 6 for three (Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively).