Lesson Plan Review: “Reader’s Theater” with The Great Gatsby

LINK: Reader’s Theater (The Great Gatsby)

  • What content would you be teaching with the lesson?

The content I would be teaching with this lesson is American literature, with a specific focus on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby.  I would focus on the impact of differing interpretations, both orally and textually.

  • What is the theme of this lesson?  What is the topic?

The theme of this lesson is oral interpretations in literature.  In this lesson, the teacher is asking his or her students to choose a pre-selected section in The Great Gatsby, and interpret it orally.  The students’ will achieve this by coming up with a performance concept, which may include: how many students narrate, how many students read a passage and how many distinct voices there are within a scene.  The students are asked to compose a script for their scene, in which they may use sound effects, props, etc.,  The objective of this lesson is to expose students to the genre of drama, within a narrative text.

  • Identify the Common Core Literacy Standards and NC Essential Standards for your content area.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.2 Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3 Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.5 Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.7 Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.)

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1c Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.

  • What group of students would you be teaching–grade level, content area?  I would be teaching eleventh graders in English III, which focuses on American Literature.
  • What do you like about the lesson and why?  Be specific in your description.  Be specific about the three lesson phases.  I like this lesson because it involves the use of multigenre conventions (fusing english with drama).  Even further, this lesson encourages individual thinking and activation of prior knowledge while promoting collaborative learning.  Students are asked to interpret the text in their own way, which is something that is very important to me in the classroom, because if students can connect to a text, they will be more engaged and it will make for a more enjoyable classroom experience.  I really like the integration of this lesson, especially beginning with the primary text: choosing a specific passage, moving to the interpretation aspect and finally, the personal performance aspect.  By constructing the lesson in such a manner, students are able to get a well-rounded version of the text.
  • How would you modify in the lesson?  The only thing that I would modify about this lesson would be the passages chosen to perform.  I would like to allow students the opportunity to (prior to the lesson) write down their favorite passages thus far from the novel and put them in a hat.  From there, I would have one student from each group draw a passage from the hat to act out.  This way, the students are able to push the personal connection and investment even further, while still being engaged in the material and on-task.
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