COMMON CORE STANDARDS
RL.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
RL.8.3 Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
RL.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
W.8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.8.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Speaking and Listening
SL.8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
L.8.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words or phrases based on grade 8 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
L.8.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
DESCRIPTION OF LESSON
This grade 8 lesson titled “‘1984’ by George Orwell with Mini-assessment” cited on achievethecore.org is based on an excerpt from the beginning of the book by the same title. This two-day lesson introduces students to the dystopian society of ‘1984’ that George Orwell wrote in 1949. They closely read this complex text’s first few pages; analyze chosen words, descriptive details, repetitions, characterizations; discuss text dependent questions; look at the author’s craft. As a culminating activity, students independently choose one word or phrase that best describes the main character; then they write a paragraph explaining why they chose the word, using at lease two words and phrases from the text to support their choice. There is also a mini-assessment for this lesson that includes seven selected-response questions based on the text excerpt and a one question that is based on a clip from the film adaptation of the novel.
Connecticut teachers are cautioned that in order to meet the varied needs of students, supports and modifications may be needed since limited information on scaffolding or discrete skill instruction is provided. An aligned rubric should be created to elicit direct, observable evidence to which a student can independently demonstrate the major targeted standards that are not addressed in the mini-assessment.
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
This lesson is a good example of how to facilitate rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about a complex text through a sequence of specific, thought-provoking, and text-dependent questions. It targets a set of grade-level standards and includes a clear and explicit purpose for instruction. Quality teacher notes and a pacing guide are included with the materials. Vocabulary is embedded in instruction.