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Teacher Resources by Grade
|1st - 2nd||3rd - 4th|
|5th - 6th||7th - 8th|
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A Tale of a Few Text Messages: A Character Study of A Tale of Two Cities
|Grades||9 – 12|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Four 50-minute sessions|
Students engage in a character study of the numerous figures created by Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities. Students first compare and contrast several forms of communication: email, text message, and telephone. They then complete a character study chart that breaks down physical background, character traits, social status/background, unanswered questions about the character, and a final judgment about the character. Next, students will create text messages between numerous characters that show the relationship between the characters, their background, and plot points that they are involved in. The lesson concludes with students sharing their text messages and a discussion of the rationales behind their choices.
- A Tale of Two Cities: A Masterpiece Teacher’s Guide: This guide, created by PBS Masterpiece, is used by the teacher for much of the instruction in this lesson.
- Venn Diagram, 3 Circles printout: Students use this printout to compare and contrast modern modes of communication.
- A Tale of Two Cities Texting printout: On this handout, students write text messages that could have been communicated between two characters from the novel.
In the NCTE Council Chronicle article “The Shift to 21st-Century Literacies, Sara Kajder explains that as information technologies continue to progress, teachers have opened up what counts as valued communication in the classroom” (4). One of the many ways that teachers can use the various types of communication is to incorporate the ways that their students are communicating each and every day. Furthermore, William Kist explains the transition from “page-based to a screen-based society,” contending that "'[i]t's a different way of encountering communication or thought or human expression'" (5). Inviting students to respond to literature in the format of a series of text messages achieves two goals: It shows that teachers value forms of communication in which students already engage, and it allows teachers to discuss with students ways in which new means of communication are similar to and different from more traditional ways expressing meaning.
Collier, Lorna. "The Shift to 21st Century Literacies." The Council Chronicle Nov. 2007: 4-8.