Today we annotated the first three paragraphs of To Kill a Mockingbird, as close reading will reveal the hidden meaning behind the words. Foreshadowing, key characters, and broad ideas are revealed on the first page, the first paragraph, even the first sentence of a novel.
1. Review of stereotypes from “What it means to be Southern.” As a class, we reviewed which stereotypes about the South are actually true, and which are false. We found that, indeed, the South is poorer and more religious than the rest of America. Stereotypes about “folks” as a whole will run rampant in Maycomb, Alabama, the fictional town that provides the setting for To Kill a Mockingbird.
2. Annotation instruction. We reviewed annotation, which is the high school version of “Talking to the Text.” Annotation is like thinking on the page. It is creating a treasure map to finding the hidden meaning in the text. As writers, students know how long it takes to figure out what word to use or what phrase works just right. We need to give the author credit for her work by reading closely, by assuming she has intended us to find deeper meaning at every turn. We used these guidelines for annotating: Close Reading and Annotation.
3. Annotating paragraph 1. As a class, we annotated the first paragraph, paying special attention to the word “got” and its implication that Jem did not break his own arm. We wonder, who broke it? How? Why?
4. Annotating paragraphs 2-3. Students annotated paragraphs 2 and 3 on their own or with their partners.
In some classes, we went over more background for To Kill a Mockingbird, including watching a clip from the film, listening to FDR’s inaugural speech, and looking at some art from the 1930s. The other classes will get to this on Monday.
View a photostream on the 1930s here.
Listen to FDR’s inaugural address here.
HW: None… unless you want your own book to annotate!
Absentees: Download Close Reading and Annotation as well as TKAM First 3 paragraphs. Label the Close Reading and Annotation sheet L15. Use it as a guide to do your own annotations on TKAM First 3 paragraphs.