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HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Using Student-Centered Comprehension Strategies with Elie Wiesel’s Night

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Using Student-Centered Comprehension Strategies with Elie Wiesel’s Night

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Ten 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Patricia Schulze

Yankton, South Dakota

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Additional Sessions

Session Three

Extensions

Student Assessment/Reflections

 

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • read and discuss a memoir.

  • use reciprocal teaching strategies (summarizing, clarifying, generating questions, and predicting).

  • work collaboratively to explore and discuss readings.

  • present and discuss information orally.

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Session One

  1. Outline the four reciprocal teaching strategies on the board or on chart paper: summarizing, clarifying, generating questions, and predicting.

  2. Ask students to provide explanations of each of the strategies. Work toward establishing basic definitions, recording students’ comments on the board or on chart paper as they share.

  3. Explain that the class will apply these strategies to the text you are about to view/read.

  4. View Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Elie Wiesel or read one of the transcripts of interviews with the author from the Websites in the Resources section.

  5. Lead class discussion of the interview using the four reciprocal teaching strategies:

    • Summarizing: Ask students to summarize the information from the interview.

    • Clarifying: Ask students to share words or ideas from the interview that need to be clarified for them.

    • Generating Questions: Ask students questions that touch on facts from the interview, interpretations of the interview, and deeper issues that go beyond the interview.

    • Predicting: Ask students to predict how Wiesel will talk about the Holocaust in his memoir.
  6. As you work through the questions, make connections to the basic definitions students shared.

  7. Pass out the Reciprocal Teaching Guidelines, and read through the information. Again, connect to the basic definitions that students have provided.

  8. For homework, ask students to read the Preface and Foreword to Night and create discussion starters for all four categories (summarize, clarify, question, and predict).

  9. Pass out or display the Discussion Question Guidelines for Night and discuss the different kinds of questions.

  10. Pass out copies of the Reciprocal Teaching Notes, and ask students to use the format for the discussion starters that they compose for the reading.

  11. If time allows, ask students to compose questions in the categories in small groups, focusing on the interview text viewed or read earlier in the session; or students can begin reading the homework assignment and composing their reciprocal teaching notes.

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Session Two

  1. Review the Reciprocal Teaching Guidelines and answer any questions that students have about the process.

  2. Arrange students into small groups, and ask them to discuss the homework reading, using their Reciprocal Teaching Notes format to record details on their discussion. Emphasize that each person in the group should contribute questions and comments to the discussion.

  3. Ask students to expand the discussion on any topics that emerge from the notes they made in preparation.

  4. Once the groups finish, ask them to choose two questions that sparked discussion within the group to share with the whole class.

  5. When all groups are ready, gather the class and ask each group to share the two questions that they have chosen. Ask the entire class to respond.

  6. Collect students’ Reciprocal Teaching Notes, so that your can provide support and feedback that will improve the group work over the course of the lesson.

  7. For homework, assign the next portion of the reading, and ask students to prepare for class discussion using the Reciprocal Teaching Notes format.

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Additional Sessions

  1. Depending upon your class schedule and students’ reading speed, repeat this session for each day of further discussion.

  2. Return students’ Reciprocal Teaching Notes. Discuss any trends or issues that you noticed in the overall work from the previous session.

  3. Answer any questions students have about the process or the feedback.

  4. Ask students to return to their groups from the previous session to discuss the homework reading, using their Reciprocal Teaching Notes format to record details on their discussion.

  5. Once the groups finish, ask them to choose two questions that sparked discussion within the group to share with the whole class.

  6. When all groups are ready, gather the class and ask each group to share the two questions that they have chosen. Ask the entire class to respond.

  7. Collect students’ Reciprocal Teaching Notes, so that your can provide support and feedback that will improve the group work over the course of the lesson.

  8. For homework, assign the next portion of the reading, and ask students to prepare for class discussion using the Reciprocal Teaching Notes format.

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Session Three

  1. After finishing the entire memoir, assign chunks or chapters of the memoir to each group.

  2. Ask each group to use the Reciprocal Teaching Notes format to compose discussion questions that focus on themes, events, and symbols in the section or the entire memoir.

  3. Encourage students to return to their Reciprocal Teaching Notes from previous sessions for ideas and examples.

  4. After students have gathered questions for their sections, ask each group to lead whole class discussion of their segment.

  5. Ask students to make observations that connect the different sections of the book.

  6. To reflect on their group experience and the reciprocal teaching activity, ask students to complete and hand in the Self-Reflection: Taking Part in a Group activity.

  7. Ask students to submit all their Reciprocal Teaching Notes, including those from this class session, with their Self-Reflection so that you can provide feedback on their work.

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EXTENSIONS

  • To study the events and locations that are part of Wiesel’s story, adapt the ReadWriteThink lesson plan Investigating the Holocaust: A Collaborative Inquiry Project. Students can form groups based on their inquiry interests and use the resources in the lesson plan to consider the subject in more detail. As part of their presentation of their research to the class, encourage groups to tie their inquiry back to Night and explain how the information they learned influences their understanding of the memoir.

  • Explore Wiesel's life with your students using the Websites in the Resources section for background information on the author and the Holocaust. Invite students to read additional Wiesel writings. Have students compare and contrast Wiesel's writings with those of others who have written about the Holocaust.

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

  • Evaluation of this activity can include monitoring observations of the discussions, peer evaluation, and review of individual Reciprocal Teaching Notes. Once the reading is complete, review all students’ notes and provide feedback on their understanding of reciprocal teaching and participation in the discussion.

  • Review students’ comments on the Self-Reflection: Taking Part in a Group and provide support for accurate reflections on their participation in the project. Additionally, nudge students toward using their reflections to improve their participation in future projects.

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