Close Reading: Focusing on Taking a Stand (Chapter 2, cont.) | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M2A:U1:L11

Close Reading: Focusing on Taking a Stand (Chapter 2, cont.)

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can 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.8.1)
  • I can use a variety of strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words or phrases. (L.8.4)

Supporting Targets

  • I can deepen my understanding of key words in To Kill a Mockingbird by using a vocabulary square.
  • I can identify the strongest evidence in Chapter 2 that shows why characters take a stand.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Structured notes for Chapter 2 (from Lesson 9 homework)
  • Summary Writing handout (from Lesson 10 homework)
  • Vocabulary square
  • Answers to text-dependent questions
  • Exit ticket


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

 A. Engaging the Reader: Guided Practice with Vocabulary Square (10 minutes)

2. Work Time

 A. Review Learning Targets and Rereading: Scout Taking a Stand for Walter (25 minutes)

 B. Identifying Theme: Taking a Stand Anchor Chart (5 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

 A. Exit Ticket and Preview Homework (5 minutes)

4. Homework

 A. Complete a first read of Chapter 3. Take notes using the Structured Notes graphic organizer. 

  • Students continue to work with Chapter 2 in this lesson. This is done intentionally to allow more time for students to get into the novel as well as to establish the reading and writing routines they will use throughout Units 1 and 2. Thus, they have done both structured notes and summary writing for Chapter 2 in advance of this lesson.
  • Throughout students' study of To Kill a Mockingbird, they begin each lesson with a vocabulary entry task based on the vocabulary from the structured notes homework.
  • This lesson introduces one of several vocabulary activities students will work on throughout the unit to apply and review the academic vocabulary from the novel. Students learn the root word "sent."
  • For more information on roots or etymology, visit or the Online Etymology Dictionary.
  • Students reread a key scene in which Scout takes a stand. They answer text-dependent questions and then are introduced to the Taking a Stand anchor chart, which will be used throughout Units 1 and 2 to help students analyze this central theme of the novel.
  • From this lesson on, select the Discussion Appointment, making sure to vary it so that students have the opportunity to meet with a variety of their classmates.
  • In advance: Preview the Close Reading Guide (for Teacher Reference), which gives guidance on how to facilitate Work Time Part A.
  • Decide which Discussion Appointment to use today.
  • Post: Learning targets.


vocabulary square, applicable,; malevolent (10), meditating (23), wallowing illicitly (23), delegation (26), entailment (27), mortification (28), vexations (27, sojourn (29)


  • To Kill a Mockingbird Structured Notes graphic organizer Chapter 2 (from Lesson 9)
  • Summary Writing handout (from Lesson 10)
  • Vocabulary Square (one per student)
  • Document camera or overhead projector
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (book; one per student)
  • Chapter 2 Text-Dependent Questions (one per student)
  • Taking a Stand anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see Work Time B; see model in supporting materials)
  • Rereading To Kill a Mockingbird pages 19-22 Close Reading Guide (for Teacher Reference)
  • Exit Ticket: To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 2 (one per student)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird Structured Notes graphic organizer, Chapter 3 (one per student)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird Supported Structured Notes graphic organizer, Chapter 3 (optional for students needing more support)



A. Engaging the Reader: Guided Practice with Vocabulary Square (10 minutes)

  • Have learning targets posted for students to read.
  • Students should sit with their selected Discussion Appointment partner. Be sure that students have their structured notes on Chapter 2 of To Kill A Mockingbird as well as their Summary Writing of Chapter 2..
  • Tell students that now that they have started reading the novel, they will have a new opening routine for class. Each day, they will use different ways to share and deepen their understanding of the novel, including the vocabulary they defined for homework. They will usually use their structured notes from the reading homework for these activities.
  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning targets. Focus students on the first target. Read aloud as they follow along:
    * "I can deepen my understanding of key words in To Kill a Mockingbird by using a vocabulary square."
  • Tell students that one activity they will be using to develop vocabulary knowledge is a vocabulary square. Using  the document camera, display and distribute the Vocabulary Square Note-catcher. Explain this Note-catcher briefly, saying something like this: "There are different ways to construct vocabulary squares, but for this novel, we will write the word on the line at the top; write a definition in our own words; identify synonyms or variations; identify the part of speech and any prefixes, suffixes, or roots; and draw a symbol or quick sketch that will help us remember the word."
  • Tell students that today they will complete a vocabulary square together as a class, to prepare them to complete vocabulary squares on their own in the future.
  • Write the word sentimentality (from Chapter 2, page 19) on the line. Tell students that this is an important word

* "In Calpurnia's teaching, there was no sentimentality: I seldom pleased her and she seldom rewarded me."

  • from Chapter 2 that's worth exploring because it helps us understand something important about Scout's relationship with Calpurnia. Reread the sentence from the text:
  • Focus students on the bottom left box. Invite them to turn and talk with their partner:

* "Can anyone figure out the part of speech of sentimentality?"

  • Cold call on a student and clarify as needed so all students identify that it is a noun; write "noun" in the box. (If students have difficulty identifying the part of speech, point out that the sentence contains a verb, "was." "Sentimentality" appears after the verb but does not come before another word, so it is unlikely to be an adjective. It is not a pronoun or adverb. Using process of elimination, we know it must be a noun.)
  • Keep students focused on that box. Explain that the box also asks us to identify prefixes, suffixes, or roots if applicable--which just means if it applies or if there are any. This word definitely contains a root and suffixes.
  • Ask students to do the following:
  • * "Look at the word. What might be the root and suffix? Underline each part of the word."

  • Invite students to turn and talk with a partner about the word parts.
  • Cold call on a student, listening for him/her to identify "sentiment" as the main part of the word. Write "sentiment" in the box and underline "sent." Invite students to turn and talk with their partner about the meaning of the root "sent" or the word "sentiment."
  • Explain that the root "sent" comes from the Latin "sentire," which means "to feel," and is also related to the word "sense." Make a note in the box that "sent" means "feeling."
  • Ask for students to identify the suffixes--"al" and "ity." Write the suffixes in the box. Explain that both of the suffixes change the part of speech of that word sentiment. Point out that "sentimentality" and "sentiment" are nouns and that "sentimental" is an adjective--it describes someone.
  • Invite students to turn and talk with their partner about the meaning of the word "sentimentality."
  • Cold call on students to respond. Listen for responses such as: "More emotion than reason or logic" or "Excessive feeling or emotion." If no one can define the word, provide a definition. Model writing the definition in the box.
  • * "What are some synonyms for 'sentimentality'?"

  • Direct students to the box labeled "synonyms or variations." Tell them they can write either a synonym for the word or a variation of the word, but it might be helpful to do both. Invite students to turn and talk with their partner about synonyms. Ask:
  • Cold call on students, who might offer words such as "sappy" or "melodramatic."
  • Ask: 
  • * "We've already discussed some variations of this word. Who can give me one?"

  • Cold call on a student to share "sentiment" and "sentimental."
  • Direct students' attention to the bottom right box. Explain that they should not be spending a lot of time here; this is just a quick sketch or symbol that you associate with understanding this word. Draw a quick sketch of a frilly heart or something else that is overly emotional.
  • Ask if there are any questions on completing a vocabulary square. Remind students that they will be completing vocabulary squares on their own as an entry task in some future lessons.
  • Collect the summaries, but let students keep their structured notes. They will need them in subsequent lessons.

Work Time

Work Time

A. Review Learning Targets and Rereading: Scout Taking a Stand for Walter (25 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the remaining learning target:
    * "I can identify the strongest evidence in To Kill a Mockingbird to demonstrate why characters take a stand."
  • Remind students that identifying the strongest evidence from their reading to answer questions is something they've been working on all year. Explain that as they read the novel, they will further explore the idea of "taking a stand," which they have been discussing for the past week. Today they will look at a specific stand and determine what the reader learns about the character from his or her stand.
  • Distribute the Chapter 2 (pages 19-22) Text-Dependent Questions Note-catcher.
  • Tell students that they are now going to take time to reread a key scene from Chapter 2.
  • See Rereading To Kill a Mockingbird, pages 19-22 Close Reading Guide (for Teacher Reference) to guide this part of work time.

B. Identifying Theme: Taking a Stand Anchor Chart (5 minutes)

  • After the final text-dependent question, display the new Taking a Stand anchor chart. Tell students that throughout their reading of this novel, they will continue to think about this theme of when and why characters "take a stand."
  • Orient students to the chart. Read the first column, "Character," aloud and then write "Scout" in the box 
    beneath it.
  • Read the second column:

* "Stand and Page #"

  • Cold call on a student to explain the stand Scout takes: Scout stands up for Walter when the teacher offers 
    him money.

* "Analysis: Why does the character do that? What does this critical incident reveal about his/her character?"

  • Read the third column:
  • Cold call on students for their thinking, pushing the students for the best answer such as those listed above--one that provides motivation and an explanation for what this incident reveals about the character.
  • Reiterate that taking a stand will be a major theme throughout the novel; characters throughout the novel will stand up for themselves or others. These stands often reveal a lot about a character.
  • The class will be adding to the anchor chart throughout the reading of the novel to develop an understanding of the characters and theme.

Closing & Assessments


A. Exit Ticket and Preview Homework (5 minutes)

  • Provide each student with an exit ticket and invite them to answer the two multiple-choice questions.
  • Distribute the Homework: To Kill a Mockingbird Structured Notes, Chapter 3 or Homework: To Kill a Mockingbird Supported Structured Notes, Chapter 3 and briefly preview the homework.


HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs
  • Complete a first read of Chapter 3, using structured notes. Answer the focus question: "In this chapter, who takes a stand and why?" Use the strongest evidence from the novel.


Note: Prepare quotes for Golden Rule Gallery Walk next lesson. Review summaries of Chapter 2 and give positive feedback as a formative assessment; return the summaries in Lesson 12.

The next lesson also begins the first of several text to film comparisons. Be sure to have the DVD of the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird for Lesson 12.

  • Provide struggling learners with the supported structured notes for additional scaffolding as they read the novel.

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