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 LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.

Characterization through Dialogue in The Great Gatsby 
One Lesson, Differentiated for Three Classes

The students have been enjoying reading The Great Gatsby, but the different sections have different strengths. The 12 students in AP Language and Composition are typically hesitant to participate, but offer complex and sophisticated analysis and demonstrate a high level of comprehension of the text and its subtleties. The eight students in College Prep American Literature 02 sometimes struggle with comprehension of the text but participate often and ask meaningful questions that bring us to a higher level of analysis. The 16 students in CP American Literature 01 range greatly in their comprehension of the text and often require a breakdown of the events from the previous night’s reading. 

 

Chapter 4 of The Great Gatsby includes many dialogue-heavy scenes and introduces several new characters. The characters' dialogue with one another reveals their relationships and offers insight into character identities.  For this reason, in this lesson, students break up into groups and act out the dialogue of different scenes.

 

I created this lesson with all three sections in mind: For AP Language, the students have expressed how they love acting. In their performances of the scenes, we spent time discussing the performative nature of Gatsby’s existence and how the dialogue standing alone differs greatly from Nick’s analysis and reading of the situation. The students had the ability to give characters different intonations in their voices to emphasize their different personalities and intentions. 

 

For both sections of College Prep American Literature, breaking up the different scenes helps students comprehend what happened in the chapter from scene to scene, distinguish the many different characters who were introduced, and gain a greater understanding of why so many of the conversations were significant. For Section 02, students who hesitate to participate get their voices heard in a small group setting. For Section 01, performing the dialogue, and then watching their classmates' performances break down the progression of plot in the scene, and distinguishes the new characters from one another. 

For all three sections, before each of the scenes, students break down who they are, where they are, and what is happening in the scene. After, I ask questions to the group about what textual evidence informed their performance, and then ask the class how the performance enhanced their understanding of the text. Working in groups encourages student collaboration​ and established a classroom environment where creativity and risk-taking are encouraged. However, students also engage in a performative analysis of the text, making a visual argument about what the text is saying. As an instructor, I can gauge their comprehension of the text in a medium other than writing. 

GREAT GATSBY CHAPTER
FOUR LESSON PLAN

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