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Bespoke ELA

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The Bespoke ELA Classroom is an online resource center for secondary curriculum solutions. I've always had a connection to the written word through songwriting, screenwriting, and teaching English. I started Bespoke ELA after teaching high school for 10+ years in Dallas, Chicago, and New York City because I wanted to share skills-driven resources with other teachers to meet the needs of students from all walks of life. In my spare time, a little girl and two pups like to call me "mom."

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The Bespoke ELA Classroom is an online resource center for secondary curriculum solutions. I've always had a connection to the written word through songwriting, screenwriting, and teaching English. I started Bespoke ELA after teaching high school for 10+ years in Dallas, Chicago, and New York City because I wanted to share skills-driven resources with other teachers to meet the needs of students from all walks of life. In my spare time, a little girl and two pups like to call me "mom."
Screenplay UNIT: Screenwriting in Secondary ELA-- From Script to Trailer
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Screenplay UNIT: Screenwriting in Secondary ELA-- From Script to Trailer

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Product Description One of the things I really enjoy is reading and writing screenplays. In this unit by Bespoke ELA, I have put together some of the key lessons that I've learned about script writing in a format that is user-friendly to secondary ELA students. Screenplay writing is a high-interest type of writing because all students love movies. For this project, students will create their own original screenplay concepts, write a character sketch and plot treatment, craft a ten-page screenplay sequence, create a trailer, and pitch their film ideas to the class. The entire spectrum of this project targets various skills from reading to writing to speaking to listening-- and students will HAVE A BLAST doing it! At the end of the unit, you can hold your very own "ELA ACADEMY AWARDS" ceremony and give out "Academy Awards Certificates" to the winning groups and students! The lessons included in this unit are as follows: 1. Screenplay Project Assignment 2. Famous Movie Match Game 3. What is a Screenplay?— Introduction Power Point 4. Types of Movies/ Genres—power point 5. Movie Brainstorming Activities 6. The Logline—Power Point 7. Crafting the Logline Worksheet 8. Screenplay Concept Teacher Approval Form 9. The Elements of Character—Power Point 10. Character Sketch Assignment & Example with Rubric 11. Intro. to Screenplay Format—3-Act Structure & Types of Drama—Power Point 12. Elements of a Film Treatment—Power Point 13. Film Treatment Assignment & Example with Rubric 14. Famous Script Analysis Activity 15. Intro. to Script Format—Power Point 16. Script Format Analysis—Analyzing Excerpt from Just Drive 17. A Guide to CeltX 18. Script Assignment & Rubric 19. Sequence Structure—The Anatomy of a Sequence 20. Sequence Structure Revision Activity 21. Subtext: Action & Dialogue 22. Screenplay Sequence Submission & Feedback Form 23. Assigning Roles—Movie Jobs 24. Movie Trailer Analysis 25. Film Planning Guide—Handout 26. Movie Trailer Assignment, Rubric, & Outline 27. What is a Screenplay Pitch? 28. The Art of the Pitch-- Screenplay Pitch Samples & Observations 29. Screenplay Pitch Assignment, Sample, & Rubric 30. Class Feedback Forms & Group Self-Assessment Form 31. ELA Academy Awards Certificates Scriptwriting is something I truly enjoy, and this project was a work of love. Students will read sample excerpts from screenplays (including one of MINE), and model their new ideas after them. Exposing students to screenplay writing will open their eyes to the filmmaking process and help them garner a whole new respect the moves they love.
Shakespeare Pop Sonnets: A Creative Writing Activity
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Shakespeare Pop Sonnets: A Creative Writing Activity

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Lesson Plan Enduring Understandings To make connections between Shakespeare's style and modern music To use figurative language to communiate a theme To experiment with Shakespeare's language and English sonnet form To understand how the parts of an English sonnet are organized to create a central message To understand how tone shift impacts the thematic message in poetry To create an original English sonnet around a central theme Common Core Skills R1-6, 9, 11/ W 1-2/ 4-5 (6), 10-11/ SL 1, 4/ L 1-6 Procedure This activity assumes that students have prior knowledge and experience with Shakespearean sonnets. Students will first need to have a basic understanding of English sonnet form and Shakespeare's language. I would recommend this activity at the end of a Shakespearean sonnet unit. The pop sonnet began as an internet sensation and went on to become a popular book. The author had the idea to "Shakespearify" modern pop songs and morph them into sonnets. The result? A whole new level of depth for (mostly) simple songs with simple themes. Shakespeare would have been proud because this was Shakespeare's process-- to take simple ideas such as love and give them more complexity and sophistication. In this activity, students will explore pop sonnets via the (now famous) pop sonnet blog where it all started. They will then set out to select their very own pop songs to morph into Shakespearean sonnets. Students may choose to do this activity in pairs-- depending upon the level of the class. After crafting their own pop sonnets, students will then answer a series of questions that takes them through explaining and analyzing their original poems. Consider having students publish their pop sonnets online (via individual or class blogs) along with the original song lyrics and their analyses. Another fun and interactive way for students to share their pop sonnets is to have a read aloud in which the class tries to guess the title of the original song that inspired the sonnet. Differentiation Crafting a Shakespearean sonnet can be quite tricky due to the rhyme scheme and meter. Consider having students try one or the other, not both. Another option would be to give students an assortment of pop sonnets from the blog and have them analyze one of those in lieu of writing their own sonnets.
Crafting the THESIS STATEMENT for the Literary Analysis Essay
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Crafting the THESIS STATEMENT for the Literary Analysis Essay

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This lesson contains a step-by-step guide for how to write a thesis statement for the literary analysis essay. It is a part of our Mega Lit. Analysis Essay Bundle, sold separately. The most important part of the writing process is crafting the thesis statement because it is the "road map" or "blueprint" for the entire essay. Because this one, single sentence is so important, I have crafted six mini-lessons to insure that your students will have focused, argumentative thesis statements specifically for the literary analysis essay. While the literary analysis essay is a type of persuasive or argumentative essay, it is important that students craft a thesis statement that is specific to the purpose of literary analysis. In this regard, lessons on persuasive or argumentative thesis statements may not be appropriate to teaching students how to write this kind of essay that is a cornerstone of the ELA classroom. This mini-lesson pack takes students through the process of learning the parts of a literary analysis thesis statement and how to craft them by creating thematic claims. By following this guide, students will be well on their way to creating effective "road maps" to write the literary analysis essay.
Love Triangles:  A Mini-lesson on Character Analysis Through Relationships
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Love Triangles: A Mini-lesson on Character Analysis Through Relationships

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This listing is for a characterization activity entitled "Love Triangle" in which students analyze how a character's romantic relationships affect the story as a whole. This mini-lesson is part of the Mega Characterization Bundle of over 15 characterization mini-lessons that get your students working with all literary devices and techniques. You can find it listed separately in our store. Bundle and save over $15.00! For this mini-lesson: "Love Triangle" Task To assess the motif of the “love triangle” in a piece of literature and its effects upon literary elements Objectives To develop criteria for analyzing character To assess comprehension of character development across a text To support analysis with textual evidence To assess how character interaction affects literary elements To synthesize findings and present them to a group Common Core Standards R1-3, 6, 10, 11/ W1-4, 10-11/ SL 1, 4, 6/ L1-3 Instructions Oftentimes, a story involves three characters that are in love with one another (or pursue one another) at different points in the plot. This is called a “love triangle” and is a common motif in stories (and sometimes this “love triangle” is quite bizarre—pun intended for the 80’s audience). In this activity, students will consider the “love triangle” of a piece of literature that involves three characters who are in love or lust with one another in varying combinations. For example, one of the most popular “love triangles” in recent pop culture is that of Bella, Edward, and Jacob in the Twilight series. At different points, Bella shows feelings for both Edward and Jacob who, in turn, show feelings for her. As with the Twilight series, the “love triangle” propels the plot by creating tension and conflict in the story and by forcing the protagonist to make decisions. In the case of Twilight, Bella is forced to choose between Edward and Jacob, which causes her character to become conflicted at different points in the story and also to confront feelings of jealousy and rejection. In the “Love Triangle” Activity, students will consider the “love triangle” in a piece of literature in order to assess the dynamics of the relationships among the three characters involved. They will also consider how the “love triangle” motif affects other literary elements in the story such as conflict, plot, and characterization. In the first follow-up activity, the “Love Triangle” Group Presentation, students focus upon a single literary element and determine how the “love triangle” affects that element in the story. Students are then to present their findings to the class using textual evidence. In the Exploratory Activity, the “Love Triangle” Poem, students write from the perspective of one of the characters involved in the “love triangle” in or
30 MENTOR SENTENCES for Literary & Rhetorical Devices with Writing Revision
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30 MENTOR SENTENCES for Literary & Rhetorical Devices with Writing Revision

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This product is a POWER POINT that contains 30 MENTOR SENTENCES from famous classic writers to model key literary terms, rhetorical devices, and syntactical structures for students. For each sentence, students are to: 1. Copy the sentence. 2. Make observations about the sentence. 3. Imitate the sentence. 4. Learn about literary devices. 5. Answer questions about how the devices are used for rhetorical and literary effect. 6. Revise an essay with a new sentence modeled after that of the famous writer. 7. Reflect back on the new added sentence. 8. Share with a partner. These MENTOR SENTENCE activities will take students through the process of not only using literary and rhetorical devices in action but will integrate them into writing workshop as mini-lessons for making their writing more powerful. This POWER POINT is fully editable and is suitable for Advanced Placement and modifiable for other levels of HIGH SCHOOL English. ========================== Devices included in this set include: Parallel Structure Antithesis Anaphora Asyndeton Parataxis Polysyndeton Paradox Irony Chiasmus Balanced Sentence Epistrophe Rule of Three Tricolon Analogy Personification Metaphor Simile Metonymy Synecdoche Loose Sentence Hypotaxis Apostrophe Allusion Alliteration Consonance Assonance Rhetorical Question Litotes The Dash Hyperbole Understatement Semi-colon Colon Repetition Contrast Periodic Sentence Simple Sentence Amplification Antimetabole Anadiplosis Balanced Sentence Zeugma Epithet Epanalepsis PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS ZIP FILE CONTAINS THREE VERSIONS OF THIS PRODUCT. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO EMBED FONTS INTO POWER POINT WITH MAC, SO I HAVE INCLUDED A .PDF VERSION AND AN UNEDITABLE .PNG VERSION (ON POWER POINT) THAT YOU CAN USE TO PRESERVE THE ORIGINAL FONTS AS DESIGNED. THIS FILE ALSO INCLUDES THE ORIGINAL POWER POINT THAT IS EDITABLE BUT WILL OPEN WITH DEFAULT FONTS FOR POWER POINT UNLESS YOU OWN THE SAME FONTS AS IN THE PRESENTATION.
Famous Love Letters: A Close Reading & Creative Lesson for Valentine's Day
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Famous Love Letters: A Close Reading & Creative Lesson for Valentine's Day

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Check out BespokeClassroom.com for more products and ideas for teaching secondary English Language Arts! Product Description This lesson by Bespoke ELA is a great lesson to use in February to celebrate Valentine's Day in a unique and creative way that is sure to engage students! Task: To analyze how famous love letters use language, literary and rhetorical devices, and imagery to convey a message about love. Enduring Understandings: Students will understand how language, literary and rhetorical devices, and imagery affect a letter's meaning. Students will learn about famous people from history through the lens of their relationships and love letters. Students will understand how to construct an argument backed by evidence. Students will understand how to use language, literary and rhetorical devices, and imagery to create a message in the format of a letter. Materials: Copies of Famous Love Letters "Famous Love Letters" Debate Activity "Love Letter Task Cards" Construction paper, markers, stickers, etc. to decorate love letters Common Core Standards R1-6, 9-11/ W1,2,4,5,10,11/ SL1,2,4,6/ L1-6 Procedure: The "Famous Love Letters" activity by Bespoke ELA is an activity in which students will read famous love letters and make observations about how the writers use language, literary and rhetorical devices, and imagery to convey messages about love. In this lesson, students are to: 1. Research the relationship of the famous person who wrote the letter, read each love letter, and then answer the three close reading questions for each one. Consider splitting the class into groups to read and discuss each letter. There are a total of TEN love letters included in this lesson, but you may pick and choose which ones you would like to use with your students. 2. Synthesize their findings by debating which love letter is the most effective in communicating its message about love. Students will fill out the "Famous Love Letters" Debate Guide for their selected love letter and discuss their selections with the class. 3. Use the "Love Letter Task Cards" to write their own love letters and write an explication paragraph in which they explain how they use devices to communicate a thematic message about love. After writing their own original love letters, students can give them to a friend, or you may opt to have students do a "blind swap" in class. As an extension activity, students can analyze the language, literary devices, and imagery of their classmates' love letters. Consider providing craft supplies for your students to decorate their love letters, and they can hang them around the room or display them on a bulletin board to celebrate Valentine's Day during the month of February.
Nonfiction: Analyzing Tone and Bias in the Media Stories of Jack the Ripper
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Nonfiction: Analyzing Tone and Bias in the Media Stories of Jack the Ripper

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Jack the Ripper. One of the most notorious serial killers of all time. And he was never caught. There are over 100 theories about his identity. If you're looking for a high-interest nonfiction topic to get your students interested in analyzing nonfiction, this is it! This activity has two parts. The first parts takes students through an exercise of identifying tone in a news article written about Jack the Ripper. There are four articles in this part of this lesson that all come from The London Times, late 1800s. (please note that all texts are in the public domain) Each article is followed by a series of three multiple-choice questions written using Common Core question stems. These questions will help students understand the overall message of each article and encourage them to read critically. Students are then to record examples of tone from the articles and label the tone accordingly. Identifying tone will help with part two of this activity series in which students begin to analyze sources for bias. In part two of this activity, students will assess a series of stories about Jack the Ripper all written on the exact same day, all about the exact same grisly discovery of two more female victims. By reading multiple sources on the same event, students will be able to compare/ contrast how each source represents the "truth." After assessing sources for bias, students will evaluate which source is more reliable and present their findings to the class. I have also included FIVE extension activities to use with your students after completing this activity in order to keep your students engaged with nonfiction. ***Please note that there are a couple of paragraphs in this collection that are quite graphic and may be inappropriate for some students. Please censor the articles as you see fit.*** Jack the Ripper is a topic that will keep your students intrigued from the very get-go!
Macbeth Debate Activity: Constructing Oral and Written Arguments
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Macbeth Debate Activity: Constructing Oral and Written Arguments

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In this set of debate activities by Bespoke ELA, students will participate in a series of debates in response to "yes/no" questions about Shakespeare's play Macbeth. There are 10 debate questions in all. Students will collect evidence to support both sides of the argument and then debate a side with their peers in order to practice constructing logical arguments supported by textual evidence. Each debate chart is followed by an argumentative writing assignment as a culmination of the class debate. The teacher page included gives some suggestions for how to run a debate in your classroom, and I have also included my Debate Guide & Rubric for scoring your students' participation. These debate activities are excellent starter activities for an essay on Macbeth. Use them to facilitate the writing process and/or have students create "oral argument" presentations in which they share their interpretations with the class.
"The Pardoner's Tale" Discussion Questions
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"The Pardoner's Tale" Discussion Questions

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This question set was RECENTLY UPDATED in 2018! This discussion activity contains level one (plot), level two (interpretation), and level three (universal) questions and also asks students to create their own questions for each level. There are 20 questions total that will take students to a deeper level analysis of Chaucer's story. This is an excellent way to get students involved with the "Pardoner's Tale" in an interactive way that makes the story relevant to today's world.
Shakespearean Tragedy and Aristotle's Poetics: Close Reading, Debate, & MORE
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Shakespearean Tragedy and Aristotle's Poetics: Close Reading, Debate, & MORE

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Task: To analyze Shakespeare’s work in terms of Aristotle’s literary theories from Poetics Objectives: To develop criteria for analyzing literary elements To support analysis with textual evidence To use rhetorical skills for constructing and supporting oral and written arguments To construct an effective argument supported with logical reasoning and textual evidence To apply literary theories to other texts To close read a text for main ideas Common Core Standards: R1, 3, 6, 11/ W1, 2, 4, 10/ SL 1, 3, 4, 6/ L1-3 Instructions: Aristotle’s literary theories have helped to set the precedent for what determines “high quality” literature. Writers either follow his methods, or they rebel against them. While it is not known if Shakespeare read or studied Aristotle’s Poetics, it is a fascinating study to apply Aristotle’s theories to Shakespeare’s work in order to observe how Shakespeare innovated new concepts for drama. In this unit, students will: Complete the pre-reading strategy in order to define key terms found in Aristotle’s Poetics. Close read excerpts from Poetics and answer comprehension/discussion questions for each section. Note that students may answer the questions in terms of one, single Shakespearean tragedy but may reference any other plays they may have read. Map out the plot of at least one Shakespearean Tragedy and identify examples of key terms from Aristotle’s Poetics. Debate whether or not Shakespeare follows Aristotle’s literary theories. Synthesize their conclusions in a post-debate writeup. This unit contains SIX excerpts from Aristotle’s Poetics for students to close read. Each excerpt contains a few close reading/ discussion questions in order to both comprehend Aristotle’s main ideas as well as apply them to Shakespeare’s works. There are a few different ways to use these excerpts in your classes: 1. Have students read all six excerpts and discuss the questions included in each one. 2. Divide students into groups and assign each group 1-2 excerpts to close read. 3. Students can then present their findings to the class, and the whole class can discuss the application questions included. 4. Use the “Overview of Aristotle’s Poetics” handout included here and have students close read only a couple of the excerpts instead of all six. For the remaining activities, students can focus on a single Shakespearean tragedy of your choice, or allow students to use evidence from multiple plays as best fits your curriculum reading list, their reading experiences, and level of course difficulty. This is an excellent addition to any Shakespeare unit and will deepen the complexity of students' interaction with tragedy.
MEGA BUNDLE:  The Literary Analysis Essay Guide in 20 Mini-lessons
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MEGA BUNDLE: The Literary Analysis Essay Guide in 20 Mini-lessons

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I have spent the past TWO YEARS of my life compiling this bundle. No joke! This bundle contains 20 mini-lessons in 22 files/ 200+ pages to help guide your high school English students to success on the Literary Analysis Essay. Writing workshop is the cornerstone of the English Language Arts classroom. As English teachers, we are charged with the task of teaching students how to write effective essays across different modes of writing. One of these modes, the academic literary analysis essay, can present challenges for both teachers and students. How does the teacher identify, scaffold, and assess the skills needed to write a literary analysis essay? And how does the student know where to start and how to organize the writing process? That’s where this bundle comes in. Throughout my teaching career, I have developed a step-by-step guide for writing a literary analysis essay that is practical and easy to follow for both teachers and students. In this bundle, I have compiled 20 mini-lessons that take students through the entire writing process, step-by-step, from reading samples, to brainstorming, to drafting, to editing and revising, and to reflecting. In fact, these lessons are built so that they are reproducible for teachers. You can simply take each mini-lesson and photocopy it for your students to complete as homework and/or in class. To make this guide even more accessible for teachers, each mini-lesson also contains differentiated modifications for you to use as needed, and there are also answer keys and models included where applicable. So, let’s get started! It’s the “write” time. Table of Contents Mini-lesson #1: Student Sample Essays Mini-lesson #2: Introduction to the Literary Analysis Essay Mini-lesson #3: Grading Expectations Mini-lesson #4 The Thesis Statement Mini-lesson #5: Textual Evidence Mini-lesson #6: Putting the Thesis Statement Together Mini-lesson #7: The Introduction Paragraph Mini-lesson #8: The Body Paragraph Mini-lesson #9: Topic & Concluding Sentences Mini-lesson #10: Selecting & Organizing Textual Evidence Mini-lesson #11: Blending Quotations Mini-lesson #12: Crafting Commentary Mini-lesson #13: Putting Together the Body Paragraph Mini-lesson #14: The Conclusion Paragraph Mini-lesson #15: Initial Revisions & Editing for “Academese" Mini-lesson #16: Grammar Editing Mini-lesson #17: MLA Format Mini-lesson #18: Final Revision Forms Mini-lesson #19: Revisiting the Rubric & Final Submission Form Mini-lesson #20: Metacognition Literary Analysis Sample Essay Pack Writing Folder Progress Checklist Teacher Approval Form
Beowulf DEBATE Activities
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Beowulf DEBATE Activities

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In these 5 debate activities, students consider key, debatable questions regarding the Beowulf text such as whether or not Beowulf is a success or failure as an epic hero. Students are to compile evidence for BOTH sides of the argument in preparation for a class debate and then write an analytical/ argumentative paragraph after each debate. Included in this packet you will find: 1. Teacher Page with instructions 2. Debate Rubric to use for grading the debate 3. 5 reproducible debate sheets, each containing a separate debate question about Beowulf This is an excellent way to target both speaking and writing skills while practicing argumentation and rhetoric.
Beowulf:  Literary Elements & Techniques
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Beowulf: Literary Elements & Techniques

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In this PowerPoint presentation, there are examples of literary elements such as theme, motif, plot structure, characterization, etc. from Beowulf as well as examples of literary techniques such as metaphor, irony, hyperbole, etc. Most examples contain direct quotations from the text, and I use this presentation as a means for discussing examples my students have brainstormed themselves. This is an effective summative activity to use as a review before an exam or as a brainstorming guide before beginning the writing process.
Beowulf Skills Application Test
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Beowulf Skills Application Test

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This multiple-choice/ matching test includes two pieces of "new material" that connect to the epic poem Beowulf ("The Seafarer" and "Ulysses" by Tennyson), a few historical questions about the Anglo-Saxon Period, a matching section of epithets to characters, a matching section of Anglo-Saxon traits to examples from the epic poem, a series of interpretation/ analysis questions, and a written response/ essay question. This test does NOT test rote memory-- it is a challenging skills application test that is 40 questions long and will truly assess your students' understanding of skills rather than plot. The two pieces of "new material" can be used as taught pieces as well. This test is a great way to align your assessments of Beowulf with the Common Core standards because it involves transferring skills rather than just memorization. Answer key is included!
Crafting Commentary for the Literary Analysis Essay
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Crafting Commentary for the Literary Analysis Essay

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Find this mini-lesson as part of our Literary Analysis Mega Bundle, sold separately. Bundle and save! Writing commentary is without a doubt the most difficult aspect of the literary analysis essay. It is the ONE part for which there is no formula because it's the part of the essay that contains the writer's original thoughts, or commentary/ analysis, on the evidence of the essay. In this mini-lesson, I have provided students with two methods for crafting commentary that will help them not only write analysis but also take it to a deeper level. This mini-lesson also contains sample paragraphs to show the difference between PLOT SUMMARY vs. COMMENTARY, peer revision forms, notes, teacher approval forms, and much more! This is an essential mini-lesson for the writing process because the commentary is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the literary analysis essay.
Secondary Reading Lists for DIVERSITY, MULTICULTURAL AWARENESS, INCLUSION
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Secondary Reading Lists for DIVERSITY, MULTICULTURAL AWARENESS, INCLUSION

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Given all of the tragic events that have happened in our world and continue to happen in our world, I have compiled a reading list of 75 texts for grades 6-12 about DIVERSITY, RACISM, INCLUSION, TOLERANCE, and MULTICULTURAL AWARENESS. I truly believe that it is crucial to our world that we diversify our students' reading experiences beyond the standard cannon because it's only when we are able to have experiences with people different from us that we can begin to understand those differences and not fear them. I spent many hours researching the texts on this list. The list contains poems, speeches, plays, novels, and essays that address issues such as bullying, racism, LGBTQ, learning differences, and cultural identity (African American, Asian American, Mexican American, and many others). Each text is hyperlinked on the list to Amazon and/or a website where you can either find the text or read about it. Please note that some texts are more suitable for 6th-7th grades while others are only suitable for 12th grade. Please vet these texts according to the grade you teach and appropriateness for your school community and student body. The great thing I discovered by creating this list was that it was DIFFICULT keeping the list down to just 75 texts. There are SO MANY awesome texts out there about these issues, which is a great problem to have. Now, we just need to get them into our classrooms. This document also contains a list of web resources where you can find even MORE READING LISTS and lesson plans for teaching on the importance diversity. I truly hope that you are able to use this product this year in your classroom. And I'd love to hear feedback of any texts that I absolutely MUST ADD to the list. I am always looking for ways to expand reading lists for my students and can't wait to integrate some of these pieces this year. I feel that as teachers we are the harbingers for creating peace in our world, and we bear the responsibility of showing our students that we are all part of the "human family." It is only through education that the violence can end.
Characterization Mini-lesson:  Analyzing Character Flaws
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Characterization Mini-lesson: Analyzing Character Flaws

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This listing is for a characterization activity in which students analyze how a character's weaknesses impact the story as a whole. This mini-lesson is part of the Mega Characterization Bundle of over 15 characterization mini-lessons that get your students working with all literary devices and techniques. You can find it listed separately in our store. Bundle and save over $15.00! Task To analyze how a character’s weaknesses impact the story Objectives To develop criteria for analyzing character To assess comprehension of character development across a text To support analysis with textual evidence To assess how character traits affect literary elements To apply understanding of character to a new writing situation Common Core Standards R1-3, 6, 10, 11/ W1-4, 10-11/ SL 1, 4, 6/ L1-3 Instructions Characters often experience downfall as a result of a weakness, or inherent flaw. Oftentimes, this flaw is pride or hubris; nonetheless, the protagonist makes mistakes and faces conflicts as a result of this overweening weakness. This series of activities asks students to analyze how a character’s weakness affects literary elements such as characterization, plot, and conflict and to consider how the consequences of a character’s actions determine whether or not a protagonist accomplishes his/her goal in the story. The lead activity included here asks students to exploit a protagonist’s weakness by sensationalizing it in a tabloid article. This activity will get students thinking about the negative aspects of a character and how they cause issues for him/her in the story. The “follow-up” activities include a tabloid article swap in which students respond to each other’s interpretation of the protagonist’s weakness, an exploratory exercise that asks students to analyze the cause/ effect relationship of character weakness and mistakes, and finally a shaping sheet for a synthesis paragraph in which students analyze the protagonist based upon his/her weakness. Essentially, the goal of this series of activities is to “assassinate” the character of a protagonist. Note that you may or may not want to use the paragraph shaping sheet with your students. It is typically effective with students that struggle with writing in general. You may want to simply have your students respond to the prompt by writing/ typing their own paragraph to submit instead of using the shaping sheet. But use your own discretion according to the needs of your students.
Characterization Through Subtext:  A Mini-lesson
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Characterization Through Subtext: A Mini-lesson

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This listing is for a characterization activity entitled "Subtext Submarine" in which students analyze how subtext reveals character traits. This mini-lesson is part of the Mega Characterization Bundle of over 15 characterization mini-lessons that get your students working with all literary devices and techniques. You can find it listed separately in our store. Bundle and save over $15.00! For this mini-lesson: Task To assess how subtext reveals character traits Objectives To develop criteria for analyzing character To assess comprehension of character development across a text To support analysis with textual evidence To use inference to analyze character To present findings to the class in an effective, organized, and compelling way To work effectively with others to produce a product Common Core Standards R1-4, 6, 10, 11/ W1, 2, 4, 10-11/ SL 1, 4, 6/ L1-6 Instructions Subtext is a difficult skill for students to comprehend because it requires students to look beyond what they see and to use their inference skills to draw conclusions about character. For this reason, I have developed the metaphor of the submarine to help students visualize this concept. In the “Subtext Submarine” activities that follow, students are introduced to the concept of subtext and then asked to apply that concept to character analysis. The Lead Activity contains an introduction to subtext using the metaphor of a submarine—the idea being that text exists on the surface (above the water), and subtext exists below the surface (under the water). Students are then asked to analyze a series of silly conversations for subtext and then to create their own. They will not only enjoy analyzing the silly conversations (“Ten Ways to Say NO!”) but also inventing their own (“Ten Ways to Say YES!”). The follow-up activities ask students to find examples of subtext in a piece of literature and explain how the subtext reveals character traits. Students can refer back to the list of Characterization Adjectives at the beginning of this packet in order to select appropriate academic vocabulary as they assign character traits to each example of subtext. Finally, students will then create a skit in which they use subtext to reveal character in order to synthesize their understanding of the concept. Once students have a grasp of the concept of subtext, they will enjoy working with it and using it to analyze character.
BEOWULF Cultural Discovery Activity
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BEOWULF Cultural Discovery Activity

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This is an excellent, jigsaw-type, collaborative activity to use as an introduction to the epic poem Beowulf. Essentially, students break into groups to look at only the Prologue and Parts 1 and 2 of the epic poem. Each group takes on the part of an anthropologist/archaeologist "digging" back into the past to learn about the world of the Anglo-Saxons. Each group receives a different set of questions about Anglo-Saxon culture to respond to by seeking out answers from the Beowulf text. Students then report their findings/ discoveries about Anglo-Saxon culture to the class. This is an excellent way to get students involved in active inquiry into a text. I typically do this activity BEFORE I give them any notes at all on Anglo-Saxon culture because I want them to see what they can discover on their own first. This activity is easily followed with a writing assignment in which students describe their findings using textual evidence. Included here are questions for 8 different groups per class (of course, in reality, you may have more groups per class, so you can simply repeat some of the questions amongst groups-- it's perfectly fine to see how two different groups approach the same questions because they will undoubtedly make different observations). Great way to get into the Beowulf story! This item is part of my MEGA BEOWULF BUNDLE that includes 25 lessons and activities with answer keys! You can find the ENTIRE bundle in our store, sold separately. Bundle and SAVE! Positive feedback is appreciated for FREEBIES :)
BEOWULF Anglo-Saxon History Notes & Quiz-- Key Included
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BEOWULF Anglo-Saxon History Notes & Quiz-- Key Included

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No study of Beowulf is complete without also studying the life and times of the Anglo-Saxons. This listing includes Anglo-Saxon history notes and a quiz with the answer key included! Anglo-Saxon History Notes a. This handout contains an outline of key historical notes about the Anglo-Saxons and the epic poem Beowulf. You can use these notes as a class handout or as notes for a lecture. Also, consider having students select a topic from this handout to research and present to the class. Anglo-Saxon History Quiz a. This quiz checks students’ knowledge of Anglo-Saxon history. You can use it as a means to hold students accountable for the notes and/or use it as a group activity in which students have to research the answers in order to learn about Anglo-Saxon life and times. Answer key included! These two handouts are included in my MEGA Beowulf Bundle with 25 lessons and activities to take your Beowulf unit to the next level! You can find the entire bundle in our store, sold separately. BUNDLE AND SAVE!