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Learning about Word Choices in the Novel, Gentlehands

written by: goldwriter•edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch•updated: 7/5/2009

Students will learn how the author uses word choices to shape character personalities and drive the theme of the novel.

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    Essential Question

    The essential question provides a focus for the lesson and gives students a question to answer at the end. This will help you to assess understanding. The essential question for this lesson is What are some of the character traits identified in the novel? Write the essential question on the board to help preview the lesson and summarize it.

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    Compare and Contrast

    Hand out graphic organizers with some of the characters from Gentlehands, Skye, Father, Buddy, Mother, Streaker listed on them. As you read the novel out loud, point out words which give us clues to the characters’ character and help students make predictions based on those revelations.

    For example, after reading page 2 of the novel, ask the students to discuss what they know about Buddy’s family so far, based on what you have read. Ask them to discuss what we have learned about Skye based on what we have read. List this information on the board, contrasting the character groups.

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    Characteristics and Socioeconomics

    Lecture on class differences and pass out a worksheet listing characteristics of people in different socioeconomic groups. Ask the students to sit in groups, differentiated based on reading ability. The students will be given lists of words, which are selected based on reading fluency. The students will be asked to categorize the characters based on their socioeconomic groups.

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    The students will summarize what they have read by writing three to four sentences in their journals and volunteer will discuss their reflecions with the class. Student may also answer the essential question on an index card and submit it to the teacher on the way out of class as a "ticket out the door." Because students also learn by social interactions, they may share one thing that they have learned about a character or characterization to a peer in the class.