Characterization in Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Jacqui Batts Lesson Plan # 4 Week 6, Day 3 Characterization in Their Eyes Were Watching God Time: This class meets Monday through Friday for 50 minutes Setting: The setting for this class can be found under the Student Population link; however todays class takes place in the computer lab. Theory in Practice Background For this lesson, it was my goal to focus on characterization, because at this point not including A Thousand Splendid Suns, the students had been introduced to a slew of characters and I think it very important that there is some in-depth character analysis in order to understand the story. In fact, although he was referring to plays, Burke says that stories are character driven and I choose to believe the same about the novels that we read. The first part of the activity in this lesson stems straight from Burkes, The English Teachers Companion, in which students pick a character and a slew of quotes from that one character and decipher what those quotes mean. According to Burke, this activity in particular teaches students to read from multiple perspectives, to see a character and, we hope, other people from different angles and thereby understand how complex we all are. (Burke p. 75) I hope that students will also make these connections, because even in fiction, characters still have real motivations and if they are good characters (which Hurstons are) they are relatable. After speaking to one of my group members about this novel, she said that she doesnt like books written in dialogue because she could not relate. I was upset with her not just for her refusal to give the book a chance, but also because her exact words called this novel a dialect book. Like there werent themes and real substance to the novel, it was just a dialect book. Just as Lippi-Green

refers to the conversation surrounding accented speech as an implicit judgmental tone where especially in this instance the sentiment was quite evident even without the heavily significant choice of saying there is a mispronunciation of words. (Lippi-Green p.58) I was extremely offended, and it reminded me that accent and word choice can definitely serve as a barrier to the actual substance of a novel, if people cannot get past it. Lippi-Green, goes on to refer to the psychological block and preconceived notions that accompany accented English. I did not want these prejudices to impede anyones ability to accept the characters as real, relatable, and complex. I was eerily reminded of all of our linguistic discussions about language and how words can hurt, because we are so critically judged by the words that we use. So much so that, language can create and destroy social connections (Curzan p. 5). I have never seen the language in this novel as distracting or deterring, but then again I guess I am fluent in African American English, but was it possible that the dialogue served as a barrier that destroyed the social connections people could make with the text? I hoped not, in fact my lesson was a testament of me attempting to prove otherwise. So, for this lesson I decided to use Burkes activity where students will directly deal with the text in order to not only decipher it, but also pull meaning from it, because there is meaning in this novel and although the dialogue is instrumental there is definitely more than that to it. Hopefully by analyzing the specific language used by each character, like Burke suggests students will be able to use the language (instead of letting it be a barrier) in order to relate to the characters and see the story from a different perspective. Objectives Student will analyze the speech of specific characters in Their Eyes Were Watching God Students will examine characters rationale by examining a set amount of quotes. Students will make modern day connections to the rationale revealed by their character analysis

Materials 24 copies of Their Eyes Were Watching God 24 target notes worksheets Access to the computer lab 24 computers

Preparation For this lesson, students will have to read up till chapter 8 (which was already assigned) and I will have to make sure that I reserve the computer lab so that we can use the computers. Students will also have to make sure they bring their copy of Their Eyes Were Watching God, to class that day. I will make sure that I make 24 copies of the Target note worksheet. Students will know the day before that class will take place in the computer lab today, but I will prepare and post a note on the door anyway for students who forgot or were absence and show up at class. Procedure Discussion about characterization/Directions (10 minutes) First we will have a small recap on characterization. This discussion will review things we as a class already know about characterization, but serve as a reminder about how we use the actions, choices, descriptions and speech of a character to understand their traits and make judgments about them. Then I will take 2-3 minutes to explain the activities that we will be doing today. Character Wheel (25 minutes) On the target note sheet, each student will pick one character and write their name in the middle of the circle. Around the circle students must pick 5 related quotes said by that character. The quotes must all reveal something significant about the character or their choices. If students finish earlier

than the allotted time, students will share and discuss the quotes they chose for their characters, if not, we will be going over their character profiles tomorrow anyway. Create Fake book pages (15 minutes) Since we are already in the computer lab, students will not have to move anywhere and simply just use their character analysis to create fake book (educational Facebook program) profiles for their characters. Their profile will indicate who they would be friends with, and they could also indicate relationship status, and their likes. In addition to creating the profile, students also have to make 5 fake book statuses using the 5 quotes, although they dont have to use the exact wording from the book, they can use short hand, and slang, like they normally would in a Facebook status. (More like, what if their characters were in modern society and had a Facebook account what would their posts say?) After completing their profiles every student has to comment on 5 of their classmates walls. If they do not have time to do this in class, it is homework; we will look at some of the fake book pages in class tomorrow in class. Discussion Questions: What is a round character? What makes a protagonist? Antagonist? Who is the antagonist in this novel? Could there be more than one? Why? What traits do we look for when characterizing a person from a novel?

Bilingual/ESL Accommodations Unfortunately I do not believe Their Eyes Were Watching God is translated into Spanish or Arabic, and since the dialogue in this novel is particularly difficult I will make sure I give these students chapter by chapter summaries of what is happening, and maybe I can find the summaries at least in their native language. Prior to this lesson we will be listening to audio versions of the

book, and I know that hearing good reading increases fluency, so hopefully that will be beneficial to my students. Either way I will use the extensive class time they have to work on this assignment to have one on one time to work with these students. As far as the fake book pages, they are not able to be translated into any other languages, but there is a tutorial video that students can watch at their own pace, and I will allow my classroom to be available all day for students to come in, if they need extra time or extra help from me, so that they can use this class time to watch the tutorial and become familiar with the fake book program This will be really beneficial for students because they will have the option to re-play it if they do not understand and they can always refer back to it, and although it will be in English, they can set the pace at what they learn from the video, and there are plenty of visuals that show what you do to your computer screen. If they are not familiar with shorthand or how to create informal English for their fake book pages, that is fine, however they want to represent their character is fine as long as its textually supported.

Special Education Accommodations For my student who has high functioning autism, he might also have trouble deciphering the dialogue in this novel as well, so I will make sure to supply him also with the chapter-bychapter summaries for Their Eyes Were Watching God. Another concern that I might have for him, is not just his knowledge of how to make the fake book page, but also I am not sure how well he will be knowledgeable and receptive to a social networking website. I might again give him a worksheet, explaining what social networking websites are, and the url so he can go through it the day before and be prepared when we go into the lab. I have a feeling that once he becomes familiar with the website, that he will really like it because I feel that it is a social venue that he can excel in. He can participate socially without being put on the spot, (you have time to edit and change

your interactions with friends online) and be given time to respond to conversations and events taking place on online. Otherwise, I would probably require him to watch the tutorial video, and he would be able to come into my class as well through out the day and use my computers in class and request help from me, if he spends the majority of time in class watching the video. Assessment I will look at the students target worksheets in which they actually analyze the meaning of the quotes, in order to assess their work on character analysis. I will pay attention not just to the meaning they decipher from the quotes that they choose, but I will also evaluate the quotes that they choose, as in how they are related and what they reveal about the character. I will also use their fake book pages that they create to assess the connections the students are making with the characters by seeing how they put the character in a modern arena like Facebook. Lastly, I will see how they each interact with each others character to not only assess their analysis of the one character that they did a wheel for, but also to see how they understand the relationships between characters. Extension Ideas Well, to extend the conversation of characterization, tomorrow our lesson will be writing a letter. Specifically students will have to write a letter to the character they analyzed today persuading the character that one decision they have made was a good or bad idea. Incorporating the fake book pages the students created today, we will present them in class tomorrow and then have a conversation about audience and how writing changes when audiences change. This will explain why the informal and short hand language they used today in their fake book posts was acceptable for fake book, but not for the letters we will be writing tomorrow. Source of Activity

This activity came specifically out of Burkes The English Teachers Companion, in which he made students analyze the characters in Othello; I simply applied it to the characters in the Their Eyes Were Watching God. I also wanted to figure out a way to incorporate technology into this lesson as well and after visiting my cooperating teacher from my upcoming student teaching placement, I saw how he utilized fake book in his teaching of the crucible, and I thought it was a really cool resource that students could not only learn from, but be eager to use. Resources and References Burke, Jim. The English Teacher's Companion: a Complete Guide to Classroom, Curriculum, and the Profession. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2008. Print. Curzan, Anne, and Michael Adams. How English Works: a Linguistic Introduction. New York: Pearson Longman, 2009. Print. Fakebook.net. Classtools.net. Web. 14 Dec. 2011. . Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God: a Novel. New York: Harper & Row, 1990. Print. Watt, D. "Book Reviews: English with an Accent: Language, Ideology, and Discrimination in the United States: Rosina Lippi-green (1997) London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-114772. Pp.286." International Journal of Bilingualism 3.4 (1999): 434-39. Print. Standards 1.B.2c Relate literary works and their characters, settings and plots to current and historical events, people and perspectives. With the creation of students fake book pages, they will have to relate their characters directly to their perspective, as they insert their character into a social network that many of them already belong to. They will have to think of the way they themselves update Facebook statuses, and depending on what type of ordeal their character is going through what kind of status they would post.

2.B.3c Analyze how characters in literature deal with conflict, solve problems and relate to real-life situations. Through students target worksheets, they will decipher what event or scenes are most significant to their characters development and this could include important decisions characters have made or how they dealt with, solved, or created conflict. Its really up to the students to decide what factors go into choosing the quotes that best reflect significant events or decisions of that character, but ideally good responses will include how characters handle conflict. 1.C.4b Explain and justify an interpretation of a text. This is done most specifically through deciphering the dialogue of their character. The assignment does not call for a simple mundane translation of what the characters are saying, but instead an interpretation of what the quote reveals about the character and their choices or responses to events or conflicts.

Target NotesDirections: On this chart you will use the middle circle to indicate which character from Their Eyes Were Watching God, you will do your analysis for. Then pick 5 related quotes (they go in the inner circle) that reveal something about those characters or their decisions. In the out circle,

write your analysis of why those quotes are significant to characterization of whomever you picked.

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