Close Reading: Understanding Carlotta’s Journey | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M3B:U1:L3

Close Reading: Understanding 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 determine the meaning of words and phrases in text (figurative, connotative, and technical meanings). (RI.8.4)
  • 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 use a Frayer Model to deepen my understanding of words in A Mighty Long Way.
  • I can cite evidence that supports my analysis of A Mighty Long Way.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Structured notes, Chapter 2, pages 27–43 (from homework)
  • Answers to text-dependent questions

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

     A. Reviewing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

     B. Engaging the Reader: Justice Frayer Model (10 minutes)

2. Work Time

     A. Close Reading: Carlotta’s New Awareness (20 minutes)

     B. Carlotta’s Journey to Justice (8 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

     A. Debrief Learning Targets and Preview Homework (5 minutes)

4. Homework

     A. Read Chapter 3 and complete the structured notes.

  • As noted in Lessons 1 and 2, this unit deals with sensitive issues of race. See Opening A in Lesson 1 for more information about supporting students in talking about these sensitive issues with care and respect.
  • As students learn more about Carlotta’s “journey to justice,” (the subtitle of the memoir), you may notice references to the Hero’s Journey that students may know and will have learned in Grade 6, Module 1. In this module, the structure of the Hero’s Journey is used as an underlying infrastructure and is not explicitly taught to students. Instead, students study just three stages in Carlotta’s journey to justice. Each stage relates to the three main stages in the Hero’s Journey: Act 1: Separation; Act 2: Initiation and Transformation; Act 3: The Return.
  • In this module, each of the three stages of Carlotta’s journey will be identified with the title of a civil rights song, which evokes key messages about that stage. Each of these three songs also appears in one section of the Journey to Justice note-catcher, which students use throughout the module as they gather details about Carlotta’s “journey.”
  • Students will continue to add to the Journey to Justice note-catcher throughout Units 1 and 2. Students will use this note-catcher as they prepare to write the narrative writing piece for the final performance task in Unit 3. Be sure students hold on to this crucial resource.
  • The first stage of Carlotta’s journey is framed in this lesson. As students enter the classroom, play the song “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. This song title is used as the first category on the Journey to Justice note-catcher, as it reflects the initiation of a journey to justice for African Americans in this country. This song can be found by searching for “Sam Cooke A Change Is Gonna Come” on free music or video streaming websites—for example, 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 www.safeshare.tv, for viewing these links in the classroom.
  • This is the first close reading lesson of the unit. It provides an opportunity for students to analyze incidents in U.S. history and in Carlotta’s personal history. See the Close Reading Guide (in the supporting materials) as a teacher reference to guide students through their work with the text-dependent questions. 
  • This lesson touches on the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case, which students will explore in more depth at the start of Unit 2.
  • In advance: Review Fist to Five in Checking for Understanding techniques (see Appendix).
  • In advance: Search for the song “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke on free music or video streaming websites—for example, on YouTube.
  • Post: Learning targets, Declaration of Independence.

Vocabulary

justice

Materials

  • Declaration of Independence (from Gallery Walk in Lesson 1)
  • Justice Frayer Model (one per student)
  • Document camera
  • Justice: Frayer Model (for teacher reference)
  • Discussion Appointments: Carlotta’s travels (from Lesson 2)
  • Document camera
  • A Mighty Long Way (book; distributed in Lesson 1; one per student)
  • Close Reading Guide: A Mighty Long Way, pages 38–43 (for teacher reference)
  • Text-Dependent Questions: Understanding Carlotta’s Journey (one per student)
  • Journey to Justice note-catcher (one per student)
  • Journey to Justice note-catcher (sample responses, for teacher reference)
  • A Mighty Long Way structured notes, Chapter 3, pages 44–62 (one per student)
  • A Mighty Long Way supported structured notes, Chapter 3, pages 44–62 (optional; for students needing extra support)
  • A Mighty Long Way Structured Notes Teacher’s Guide, Chapter 3, pages 44–62 (for teacher reference)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

  • Direct students’ attention to the posted learning targets. Cold call on students to read the three 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 use a Frayer Model to deepen my understanding of words in A Mighty Long Way.”

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

B. Engaging the Reader: Justice Frayer Model (10 minutes)

  • Focus students on the second learning target:

*   “I can use a Frayer Model to deepen my understanding of words in A Mighty Long Way.”

  • Focus students on the posted Declaration of Independence and read aloud the enlarged passage from the text: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
  • Invite students to turn and talk with someone nearby about what these important words mean. Circulate and listen as students discuss.
  • Cold call on student pairs to share their thinking. Listen for students to say something like: “All people are equal; all people should have the same opportunities for freedom and to pursue a life they want to live.”
  • Ask:

*   “According to the last line of the Declaration, what is the role of the government?” Have students turn and talk, then cold call on student pairs. Listen for students to recognize that according to the last line, it is the job of the government to “secure” or make sure people have the opportunities described.

*   “Considering these lines from the Declaration of Independence and what you have read so far in A Mighty Long Way, why was the civil rights movement necessary?” Cold call on students to answer this question and listen for them to recognize that the civil rights movement sought to make the equality and opportunities described in the Declaration of Independence available to African Americans, too.

  • Distribute the Justice: Frayer Model handout and display it using a document camera. 
  • Orient students to each of the four boxes and explain that they will be learning about justice throughout the module, and they will use this Frayer Model organizer to get them started.
  • Draw students’ attention to the Examples box in the lower left corner of the chart. Ask:

–   “What are some examples of justice in life?”

  • Listen for students to mention things like: hard work being rewarded with success; laziness resulting in failure or disappointment; law or rule breakers punished for breaking laws or rules; innocent people who have had bad things happen to them end up, over time, having good things happen; wrongly accused people are found innocent.
  • Use the Justice: Frayer Model (for teacher reference) as a guide. Add examples to the displayed Frayer Model.
  • Next, draw students’ attention to the Definition box in the upper left corner and invite them to turn and talk about what justice means. Cold call several pairs to share out a definition and write something like: “Justice means a sense of equal treatment; impartiality; people should be treated the same.”
  • Next, draw students’ attention to the box labeled Characteristics/Explanation in the upper right corner of the handout. Ask:

*   “What are some characteristics of justice?”

  • Invite students to turn and talk with their partners and listen for them to say features such as: fairness, truth, morality, a sense of rightness, and getting what one deserves.
  • Use the Justice: Frayer Model (for teacher reference)as a guide. Record these features on the model.
  • Finally, draw students’ attention to the Non-examples box, and invite them to turn and talk about some non-examples of justice. Cold call on several student pairs to share. Listen for non-examples such as: cheater getting a good grade on a test; laziness being rewarded; bad things happening to good people.
  • Use the Justice: Frayer Model (for teacher reference)as a guide. Record non-examples on the displayed model.
  • Draw students’ attention to the subtitle of the central text: A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock High School. Share with students that in this lesson they are going to begin to think about Carlotta’s ‘Journey to Justice.’
  • Graphic organizers and recording forms provide the necessary scaffolding that is especially critical for learners with lower levels of language proficiency and/or learning. They also engage students more actively. 

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Close Reading: Carlotta’s New Awareness (20 minutes)

  • Be sure students have their text A Mighty Long Way. For this part of the lesson, please reference the Close Reading Guide: A Mighty Long Way, pages 38–43 (for teacher reference) provided in the supporting materials.
  • Distribute the Text-Dependent Questions: Understanding Carlotta’s Journey to students.
  • Hearing a complex text read slowly, fluently, and without interruption or explanation promotes fluency for students: They are hearing a strong reader read the text aloud with accuracy and expression, and are simultaneously looking at and thinking about the words on the printed page. Be sure to set clear expectations for students to follow along silently as you read the text aloud.

B. Carlotta’s Journey to Justice (8 minutes)

  • Distribute and display the Journey to Justice note-catcher. Tell students that throughout their reading of this book, they will continue to identify incidents, conditions, and details from the book that lead to certain decisions being made by Carlotta (and sometimes by others).
  • Draw students’ attention to the first row of the note-catcher. Read the title and the summary of the category “A Change Is Gonna Come” aloud. Remind students that this was the title of the song they heard at the beginning of class. Point out to students that in the Sam Cooke song, the recurring lyric is “It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will.”
  • Refer to the questions in the left column of the note-catcher and read them aloud:

*   “What change do you think is coming for Carlotta, based on what you know of her life so far and her different experiences in the Jim Crow South and New York City?”

*   “How would you describe the life with which Carlotta was familiar?”

*   “When did she first enter ‘the unknown’?”

*   “Who influenced her in the beginning of her journey to justice?”

  • Listen for students to point out that Carlotta is realizing that the segregation of black and white people is not equal and just. Her familiar life is that of living in the Jim Crow South. She first entered the unknown when she visited New York City as an eight year old. People who influenced her in the beginning of her journey include her teachers at Dunbar and her family. Rosa Parks, her “she-ro,” and the bus boycotts also influence her. Also, the murder of Emmett Till is a pivotal point in her journey.
  • Model adding these comments to the note-catcher in the column titled “Details of Carlotta’s Journey to Justice” using the Journey to Justice note-catcher (sample responses, for teacher reference) as a guide.
  • Point out to students that this note-catcher contains the titles of additional songs, which they will explore in future lessons. They need to keep the note-catcher in a safe place as they will be filling in more of it over the course of the next few weeks. This note-catcher will be an important resource for them when they begin to work on the final performance task in Unit 3.

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A. Debrief Learning Targets and Preview Homework (5 minutes)

  • Reread the first learning target:

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

  • Ask students to reflect on their learning today and rate their mastery of this first learning target using Fist to Five.
  • Repeat with the second and third learning targets (one at a time).

*   “I can use a Frayer Model to deepen my understanding of words in A Mighty Long Way.”

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

  • Distribute A Mighty Long Way structured notes, Chapter 3, pages 44–62.

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs
  • Read Chapter 3 and complete the structured notes.
  • Provide struggling learners with the supported structured notes for additional scaffolding as they read the memoir.

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