Studying Author’s Craft: Carlotta’s Journey | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M3B:U1:L10

Studying Author’s Craft: Carlotta’s Journey

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can analyze how specific dialogue or incidents in a plot propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision. (RL.8.3)
  • I can cite text-based evidence that provides the strongest support for an analysis of informational text. (RI.8.1)

Supporting Targets

  • I can analyze how incidents in A Mighty Long Way provoke Carlotta to make certain decisions and shape her story.
  • I can cite evidence that supports my analysis of A Mighty Long Way.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Structured notes, Chapter 5, pages 82–98 (from homework)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

     A. Engaging the Reader: Author’s Craft (8 minutes)

     B. Reviewing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

2. Work Time

     A. Analyzing Carlotta’s Journey (30 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

     A. Give One, Get One (5 minutes)

4. Homework

     A. Continue to read your independent reading book. 

  • In this lesson, students return to analyze the book, A Mighty Long Way, and Carlotta’s journey to justice. The background knowledge students have built on the Jim Crow South, the 14th Amendment, and Plessy v. Ferguson will help students understand the relationship between the memoir and the historical era. As noted in earlier lessons, Carlotta Walls LaNier presents her story as a memoir, which is officially literary nonfiction (RI standards). But since her journey has a “story,” at times the text will be analyzed as a narrative. As students study Carlotta’s journey to justice, the Reading Literature Standards are a useful tool. For Carlotta is the main character and develops as a person with a unique story and voice over the course of the text. 
  • The song “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around,” performed by Sweet Honey in the Rock, an African American female a cappella ensemble, is used to signal a shift to a new stage of Carlotta’s journey. Students will gather details from A Mighty Long Way to help them continue to fill in the Journey to Justice note-catcher. Be sure to have the proper equipment prepared to play the song. This song can be found by searching for “Sweet Honey Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” on free music or video streaming websites—for example, on YouTube.
  • Bear in mind that YouTube, social media video sites, and other website links may incorporate inappropriate content via comment banks and ads. Although some lessons include these links as the most efficient means to view content in preparation for the lesson, be sure to preview links, and/or use a filter service, such as SafeShare.tv, for viewing these links in the classroom.
  • As noted in Lesson 3, as students study Carlotta’s journey to justice, you may notice references to the Hero’s Journey that students may have learned in sixth-grade Module 1 (G6M1). See the Lesson 3 Teaching Notes to be reminded of the connection to this underlying structure.
  • Mid-unit assessments will be returned to students with teacher feedback in Lesson 11. Be sure you have assessed the mid-unit assessments against the Grade 8 2-point rubric.
  • In advance: Review the Give One, Get One protocol (see Appendix).
  • In advance: Search for the song “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” by Sweet Honey on free music or video streaming websites—for example, on YouTube. This song will also be used in the next lesson.
  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

metaphor, double entendre, injunction

Materials

  • A Mighty Long Way (book; distributed in Lesson 1; one per student) 
  • Journey to Justice note-catcher (from Lesson 3; students’ own and one for display) 
  • Journey to Justice note-catcher (begun in Lesson 3 and added to in this lesson; for teacher reference) 
  • Document camera 
  • Lyrics: “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” (one for display) 
  • Song: “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” (see Teaching Notes)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Reader: Author’s Craft (8 minutes)

  • Invite students to sit with their Chicago discussion partners.
  • Direct students’ attention to the title of Chapter 3 of A Mighty Long Way“Birth of a Tiger.”
  • Ask for a volunteer to define the word metaphor.
  • Listen for students to say that a metaphor is a figure of speech that makes a comparison of two ideas or objects that is not literal.
  • Ask students to turn and talk with their partner about how the title of this chapter is a metaphor for the aspect of Carlotta’s journey in which she fully commits to her decision to attend Central High.
  • Listen for students to say something like: “‘Birth of a Tiger’ means that Carlotta will go to Central High, whose mascot was the tiger. It also is a metaphor for how her will to attend Central High School, regardless of all the fear, becomes stronger.”
  • Point out to students that this title is also a double entendre—a word or phrase that can have two meanings at the same time.
  • Discussing an answer to a question with a peer ensures that all students will have some understanding of the concept.

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (1 minute)

  • Invite students to follow along silently as you read the learning targets aloud.

*   I can analyze how incidents in A Mighty Long Way provoke Carlotta to make certain decisions and shape her story.

*   I can cite evidence that supports my analysis of A Mighty Long Way.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Understanding Carlotta’s Journey (35 minutes)

  • Direct students to take out their Journey to Justice note-catcher. Remind students that the purpose of this note-catcher is to analyze the details of Carlotta’s journey through the desegregation of schools in the United States.
  • Project the note-catcher using a document camera.
  • Draw students’ attention to the second phase of Carlotta’s journey and explain that they are going to transition to the second part of Carlotta’s journey. This second phase could be described by the title and the lyrics of the song “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.”
  • Display the lyrics and play the song“Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around,” performed by Sweet Honey in the Rock. Invite students to read the lyrics as they listen. 
  • Have students listen as the song plays, thinking about Chapter 5 and how the song lyrics might relate to what Carlotta is about to experience.
  • After the song plays, have students turn and talk about what caught their attention in the song and how might it relate to Chapter 5. Call on volunteers to share their thinking.
  • Invite students to follow along as you read the summary of the second phase of her journey, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around,” from the Journey to Justice note-catcher.
  • Point out that there is a stanza in the song that is about not letting an “injunction turn me around.” Explain that an injunction is a stern order. Remind students that Carlotta is hoping for a “normal” and fun high school experience; but before school starts, Superintendent Blossom calls a meeting of the black students and their families and delivers an injunction—an authoritative warning or order—that the black students may not be on campus before or after school. They may not participate in extracurricular activities. In short, there will be no “normal” and fun high school experience for them. Yet, Carlotta, a 15-year-old girl, chooses to take this journey anyway.
  • Ask students:

*   “At what point do you think Carlotta truly began her journey to justice?”

*   “What were some of the trials she encountered?”

*   “Who were her greatest helpers during the hardest parts of her journey?”

  • Listen for students to say that the beginning of her journey is when the Little Rock Nine students have the meeting with Superintendent Blossom and he lays out his strict rules for their conduct, which precluded even their participation in extra-curricular activities. Students should also highlight events from the first day of school, when the Little Rock Nine encountered the Arkansas National Guard. They may also focus on the beating of the African American and white journalists, as well as the removal of the black students from the campus.
  • Before students begin adding detail to their note-catchers, provide them with a short amount of time to locate details from the book A Mighty Long Way, Chapters 3–5, that fit the second stage of Carlotta’s journey and highlight her commitment to travel through the fear, loneliness, and hardship to achieve the end goal of attending Central High School. Explain that the first and second stages of her journey may overlap a bit, which is why they are going back as far back as Chapter 3 to find important details. Students may also want to refer to their structured notes from previous lessons.
  • Give One, Get One helps all students gain necessary information, even if some students need more work time than others.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Give One, Get One (5 minutes)

  • Remind students of the Give One, Get One protocol and invite them to stand up and Give One, Get One with other students.
  • Cold call on a few students to share out a detail from the book that provides more information on this piece of Carlotta’s journey. Add these responses to the projected note-catcher. Use the Journey to Justice note-catcher (for teacher reference) as a guide. Ask:

*   “What point in Carlotta’s story marks her initiation into the trials to come in her journey?”

*   “Who is helping Carlotta on her journey?”

  • Listen for students to mention the meeting in Superintendent Blossom’s office before the beginning of school to be the point at which the issues became very clear to Carlotta. Students should also mention that Daisy Bates has entered Carlotta’s life as a mentor, and she is beginning to meet the remainder of the black students who will be entering Central High with her in the fall.
  • Model adding these comments to the note-catcher in the Journey to Justice column.
  • Tell students that the remaining category will be addressed in Unit 2.
  • If time remains, have students continue working on their note-catchers.
  • Give One, Get One helps all students gain necessary information, even if some students need more work time than others.

Homework

Homework
  • Continue to read your independent reading book.

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