Short Story Performance Assessment: Bargain

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by A.B. Guthrie

8th Grade English Language Arts
EDRD 602D Secondary Reading Instruction 7-12
Performance Assessment 1
Fay Van Vliet

“Before” Strategy: Activating and Focusing
Prior-Knowledge and /or concepts needed
Concept: Bullying

Building Background knowledge based on personal and text-to-world connections (15 minutes)
To activate prior knowledge and introduce the concept of bullying, I would read the article: “Bullying rampant in U.S. middle schools” to the class (see attached article). Following the article I would engage the students in a discussion on bullying.

Starter questions:
How common is bullying in U.S. middle schools? (4 out of 5) •Which students are the most vulnerable targets of the bullies? (different) •Why do you think kids that are different are the targets? •What kind of bullying have you observed in our school and how do students typically respond to it? •What tactics do bullies often use?

What kind of creative ways could students deal with bullying? The next two days we will be reading a story that describes an all too familiar theme of bullying, but between adults, with a middle school student caught in the action.

Rationale: The prevalence of bullying in middle school is obvious to the students. By bringing their attention to it, and discussing it their minds and emotions are prepared to engage in the plot of “Bargain.” This text-to-world/text-to-self strategy will provide the students with motivation to compare the theme and plot with their own situation.

Quotations by and about Characters (35 minutes)
Each of the following quotes will be written onto 3X5 cards with the name of the character it pertains to on the reverse side of the card. Duplicate cards will be made so there will be enough for every student to have a card. •Pass cards out to students

Students mix and find others with the same character
Students discuss character quotes to predict what qualities they anticipate they will find when they meet the character in the story •Each group will share their character profile with the class and record the descriptions on a laminated tag board T chart posted on the wall. •This chart will have two columns, one for predicted character traits and one for actual character traits. It will be used after the reading to check predictions

Mr. Baumer
“He was a man you wouldn’t remember from meeting once.” •“… half mule and half beaver.”
“A hundred and thirty-five pounds wasn’t much to throw against two hundred.” •“He spent most of his time at the high desk…”

“You could never tell by his face what went on inside his skull.” •“People said he could hold a lot [of liquor] without showing it except in being ornerier.” •“He hates everybody”
“I had heard it said he could make a horse scream with that whip.”

“I have been working in the store for him in the summer and after classes ever since pneumonia took my dad off.” •“Look Mr. Baumer, I can lay out of school for a few days until you kind of get straightened out here.” •“I blurted out that I would have the law on Slade.”

“I didn’t feel good. I couldn’t look up to Mr. Baumer like I used to and still wanted to.”

Rationale: Having this exercise before the reading allows the students to anticipate aspects of the story (plot, characters, theme) to help them build comprehension. This strategy is good for adolescent students as it will require them to exercise some critical thinking skills which they are developing at this period of life. It will also encourage them to work as a team toward a common goal, and will allow them the freedom of movement and expressing their own opinions and hearing those of others.

“During” Strategy: Selecting and Organizing

Sequencing to see plot: Part 1

Give the students the sequence organizer for sequencing (ladder page from J Sprague’06)

During the first 20 minutes of the class I will show the...
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