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Defining Moments: Charting Character Evolution in Lord of the Flies
|Grades||9 – 12|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Six 50-minute sessions|
Marlton, New Jersey
- apply literacy knowledge to identify defining moments for Jack or Ralph in Lord of the Flies and support their choices of defining moments with quotes from text.
- create a Graphic Map of defining moments and write individual reflections supporting choices.
- present findings and interpretations to the class.
- Begin the session with a short review of the main points and characters of Lord of the Flies, which students should have just completed reading. Ask students if anyone knows the difference between “static” characters and “dynamic” characters. Come up with a class definition and write it on the board/chart paper.
- Hand out the Dynamic vs. Static Characters printout, or project it onto a screen, asking students to write down definitions:
- Static characters: do not experience basic character changes during the course of the story.
- Dynamic characters: experience changes throughout the plot of a story.
- As a class, list the static and dynamic characters of Lord of the Flies on the board. (Example: the “littluns” are generally static, while Jack becomes significantly more aggressive.)
- Talk about the reasons that dynamic characters change. Explain that moments that change us significantly are “defining moments.” The moments themselves may be big or small.
- To check understanding, ask students to individually think of a single defining moment for Ralph or Jack and choose a few students to share these moments with the class. If time remains, challenge students to think of defining moments in short stories or novels they have read earlier in the school year.
- Hand out the Character Evolution Project Directions and the Character Evolution Organizer. Explain to students that this week they will chart the changes of either Ralph or Jack, first on paper and then on a computer. They will find five defining moments for a character, support it with a quote, and note if the defining moment was low, medium or high in the character’s evolution. (NOTE: Teachers may choose to give students this printout while they are reading the book--before the lesson is taught--to avoid having to go back to the book to find defining moments.)
- Explain how to fill out the organizers and remind students that all group members must participate.
- Model the organizer by using an overhead or projected computer screen to partially fill out an organizer. Allow time for students to ask any clarifying questions.
- Split students into their groups and allow them to begin working on their organizers.
- Circulate among the groups, guiding students and answering questions.
- Wrap up the session by asking each group to share one defining moment with the class.
- Ask students if they have any questions about yesterday’s activity. Allow time for students to finsh their Character Evolution Organizers.
- Return to the Character Evolution Project Directions and explain Part Two: Creating Your Chart to students so that they have a full understanding of the next step of their projects. Hand out the Character Evolution Chart Grading Rubric, explain, and allow time for students to ask questions.
- Explain to students that they will be using the Graphic Map interactive in the next session to create a chart based on their findings. Demonstrate the Graphic Map by projecting your computer’s screen onto the board. Show students how to find the Graphic Map, and explain how to fill out the appropriate sections. (Using pictures on the map is optional.)
- Tell students that they will get started on their personal Graphic Maps at the beginning of the next session.
- Remind students that they have only today to use the Graphic Map interactive. Ensure that students have their Character Evolution Project Directions and Character Evolution Organizers.
- Take students to the library or computer lab and allow them to begin their charts, refering to the Character Evolution Chart Grading Rubric as they work.
- Circulate among the students, guiding them and answering questions.
- At the end of the session, ask students to print their work (one copy for each student, and one for you). Students will bring these printouts to the next class to be presented to their peers.
- Explain to students that today they will present their findings to the class.
- Give students five to ten minutes to discuss their presentations with group members.
- Call up groups to share their moments with the class. Each group should give their quotes and explain the items on their charts. They should end their presentations by explaining whether their character moved in a positive, neutral or negative direction.
- If student presentations are not finished by the end of class, finish them in the next session.
- Explain to students that today they will begin to reflect on their findings.
- Hand out the Character Evolution Reflection Directions. Read the directions aloud and answer student questions.
- Hand out the Character Evolution Reflection Grading Rubric. Discuss the requirements of “excellent” papers. Take questions.
- Give students the rest of the session to brainstorm/outline their reflections. Circulate among students, helping as needed. (NOTE: Teachers may choose to build in more in-class writing days or direct students to finish reflections at home.)
- Reinforce students’ understanding of defining moments by using this same lesson with your next class novel.
- Aid students in brainstorming the defining moments of their own lives, and follow up with a unit on personal narratives, based on students’ defining moments.
- Students present their findings in groups in order to demonstrate their understanding of defining moment and textual support.
- Use the Character Evolution Chart Grading Rubric to further assess students’ understanding of defining moment and textual support.
- Students write an essay to demonstrate understanding of character and defining moment. Use the Character Evolution Reflection Grading Rubric to assess students' understanding.