Lesson Plan “What’s the Big Idea?”
Key Ideas and Details
-7.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text
-7.3: Analyze how particular elements of a story interact
Learning Objectives
-Students will understand how the central idea of “Naming of Names” develops in relation to Bradbury’s descriptive setting.
-Students will be able to develop a central idea alongside setting in their own writing.
In this lesson, students build on and work with their knowledge of the elements of theme and setting. They do this in large groups, pairs, and individually. Auditory learners benefit from discussion with peer partners and in a whole-class setting, while visual learners benefit from connecting the concept of theme to the envisioning of different physical settings. Students reach comprehension on Bloom’s Taxonomy by being able to put their understanding of theme and setting into words. Students reach evaluation through the content development and writing warm-up because these activities ask higher-order questions that encourage them to think about how a short story affects readers through the choice and description of setting. Students synthesize when they imagine new scenes in The Naming of Names.
-Quick Write: “Think about one of your favorite books. Did you only read it for enjoyment, or did you also find a message? What was the message, and how did you find it?”(5 min.)
-Students go to the library to choose their books for the week. (10 min.)
-Zone Reading: Students quietly read “The Naming of Names” on their own. They may sit in reading areas as long as they stay reading. (15 min.)
-Grammar Mini-Lesson (Conjunctions): Start by reminding students that they are going to be writing short stories of their own for the unit’s final assessment. Ask students how writers keep audience members reading. If no one mentions it, bring up descriptive, interesting sentences. One way to form interesting sentences is by putting related ideas together. These are called compound sentences, when two independent ideas are in one sentence. Project “Compound Sentence” sheet on the board. 1) With each sentence, prompt students to look for complete ideas (ones with subjects and verbs). Emphasize that, on its own, each complete idea is a simple sentence. 2) Ask students how these ideas are related. Hint: think about the role that the bolded words play. 3) If it hasn’t been mentioned by a student, show students that, by putting the two ideas together, the writer is showing that there is a relationship between them. The bolded words are conjunctions, and are used to signal relationships between different ideas. 4) Project the second sheet of the “Compound Sentences” handout to show students each of the conjunction through the FANBOYS acronym. Tell students that each conjunction has a specific meaning, and ask students to clarify their meanings through having them recommend conjunctions for the examples. At the end, ask students why they think that writers add conjunctions rather than using only simple sentences. Does it sound better? 5) Share the Writer’s Secret: Add a comma and a conjunction to show relationships between simple sentences.
(10 min.)
-Reading: Tell students to finish reading “The Naming of Names.” This time, hand out Post-it Notes and ask students to mark places where they think they see a message developing in the text. On the Post-It they should write what they think the message is and how the passage develops it. If they get done early, they can look for development of this message in parts of the short story that they read earlier. (15 min.)
-Content Development: Discuss the concept of theme with students. Students should have a good idea of theme from their unit on Soldier’s Heart. Ask a volunteer to define “theme.” A potential definition for “theme” is a central idea in a text. Emphasize that a theme is more than a topic – “courage” might be a topic, but “the many forms of courage” is a theme.
In TPS groups, have students talk about themes that they see in “The Naming of Names.” (Remind them to refer back to their Post-Its.) During the Share portion of TPS, brainstorm different themes on the board. Use this as a chance to point out that everyone will see a different central idea in a story. Also, if students offer only one word, ask “Is this a topic, or a theme?” and prompt students to build their topics into themes if necessary.
Keep the brainstormed themes on the board because they will be used later in the lesson.
(8-10 min.)
-Content Development: Tell students that there is another element of the short story that stands out in “The Naming of Names.” First, ask students what they found most interesting or unique in the short story. The odds are that many students are interested by something related to setting. Use this to segue into a discussion of setting. As with theme, ask students to define setting.
In a large-group discussion, ask students 1) why setting might be important in “The Naming of Names.” 2) What does it accomplish? 3) Would different settings work with different central ideas? (For this question, the teacher can bring up different settings – a tranquil valley, the war-torn South during the Civil War, an unexplored wilderness.) Most importantly, 4) does the setting in “The Naming of Names” help develop or support any of the themes listed on the board? Point to the brainstormed themes to answer these questions. (5-8 min.)
-Individual Writing: Tell students that, now that they have started to think about theme and setting together, they are going to put their knowledge into action. Give students the choice of three different prompts to apply what they have learned. Project each of the prompts on the board and go over each one. Then have students pick a prompt, hand out their prompt sheets, and monitor while they write. Students will turn in their drafts by the start of the next lesson. (~15 min.)
Bloom’s Taxonomy
Comprehension, Synthesis, Evaluation
Multiple Intelligences
Verbal-Linguistic, Interpersonal
-Short Story: “The Naming of Names,” Elements of Literature: First Course
-Formal assessment – Student Writing