November 30: A Day


1. Freewrite.

2. Sentence Corrections. Students corrected run-on sentences in their writer’s notebooks to practice correct mechanics and grammar.

3. Tell the Truth. Students picked cards with the names of characters on them. After picking cards, students received this graphic organizer: Tell the truth. In small groups, students gathered to fill out the organizer, searching for quotes connected to character motivation and desires. Then, students returned to their desks to write in complete sentences, answering the questions in the boxes. Finally, students came up to the front of the class “in character.” As their character, they had to answer questions posed to them by a character judge. As a class, we voted on the most accurate version of each character.

4. Sustained Silent Reading. We read for about 15 minutes at the end of class.

HW: Read Chapter 5 AND Chapter 6, taking notes on your Outsiders Reading Guide as you go.


1. Freewrite and Field Trip form collection.

2. Oral Quiz on Chapter 4.

3. Tableau vivant. Students gathered in their motif groups to create two tableaux showing how their motif was especially important in chapters 3 and 4; the first tableau depicted a scene or moment the motif showed up and the second tableau could not use any characters––instead, students had to show what the novel is telling us about the importance of the motif. The students in the audience guessed at what the tableaux meant.

4. Preview of Chapter 5.

HW: Read Chapter 5 and continue taking motif notes.


1. Freewrite.

2. Idea web on what’s important to you in life. Students came up with a bubble map and then three statements that represented what they believed most in life. Here’s one of mine: A good friendship is one that involves both deep, philosophical discussions and stupid jokes. Students were told we would return to this later.

3. Oral Quiz on Chapter 5. This oral quiz was preceded by lots of great questions from students. Thank you! We had an awesome conversation about how Gollem refers to himself as “my precious” until the moment he realizes the ring is lost, at which point he shifts to using “my precious” for the ring as well, suggesting how intimately linked the ring is to his very identity. Cool.

4. Riddles and Humanity. Students learned briefly about the Riddle of the Sphinx and we discussed how riddles reveal much about the nature of man and the teller, since the answer to the sphinx’s riddle is “man, himself.” As a class we examined the first riddle closely, annotating it on the board and discussing:


5. Next, students chose their own riddle to analyze and annotate: Riddles. This took about 15 minutes.

6. Finally, students wrote their own riddles based on the statements they came up with at the beginning of class. Here was mine:

It turns without warning
At the slightest laugh.
Its giggles and nodding
Alternate thoughtful and crass.
A mirror between them shows
Knees touching knees.
An electric feeling blows
‘tween lilting sounds, free.

(It’s a friendly conversation.)

HW: Read Chapter 6 of The Hobbit and continue taking your motif notes. The goblins will return!