Lighthouse Initiative for Texas Classrooms

Grade 10 Sample Lesson

Reading, and Thinking, and Annotating…Oh My!

Close reading and annotation strategies for analyzing tone, theme, and purpose

Contributed by Drue Ann Wise, James Pace High School, Brownsville, TX

(Click here for downloadable MS Word version.)

Time needed:

Five 55-minute class periods

Materials/Resources Needed:

Class Period 1—Pre-reading activity and first reading of "The Last Lesson"

  • Preparation and Instruction
    • Present the following prompt for students: "What are some of the positive and negative effects associated with the war in Iraq?"
    • Students free-write for 10 minutes.
    • Teacher generates table on transparency (or other presentation equipment) illustrating effects given by students.

Effects of the War in Iraq

Positive effects Negative effects
    • Students discuss effects as a group.
    • Students are given Daudet’s "The Last Lesson."
    • Students read title and write prediction of story content in margin.
    • Students read story silently annotating in margins anything they find interesting or meaningful. This reading activity can be given as homework if class time is limited.

Class Period 2—Re-read "The Last Lesson" and annotate for word choice, images, and details

  • Preparation and Instruction
    • Teacher reviews Spirit Reading strategy.
    • Teacher leads students in discussion of the effects of the German invasion on the residents of Alsace.
    • Students and teacher re-read story using Spirit Reading strategy (paragraphs 1-14 only).
    • Teacher then leads class in annotation of each paragraph (1-14) using the following guidelines:
      • Circle all words that stand out or have connotative meaning. Review definition of connotation as needed.
      • Bracket [ ] all details that seem important, interesting, meaningful.
      • Underline dominant images.
    • Students and teacher then discuss the specific tone/tones created from the author’s choice of diction, details, and images and note any shifts in tone.
    • Next, students break up into groups of four or five, re-read paragraphs 15-22, and annotate using the same guidelines as for the previous paragraphs.
    • Students generate tone words created from annotation of diction, details, imagery and note any tonal shifts.
    • Next, students generate thematic concepts or ideas which are illustrations of the details and tone.
    • From the thematic ideas, class (led by teacher) develops thematic statement(s) for the passage.
    • Students discuss multiple tone and theme possibilities.
    • Students, guided by teacher, generate statement to sum up the speaker’s attitude toward the German infiltration of Alsace and the author’s purpose.
    • For homework, students write one or two paragraphs analyzing the tone of the passage through the author’s word choice, images, and details making note of any shifts in tone. Consider what purpose the author illustrates here.

Class Period 3—Read Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and annotate for main ideas and purpose

  • Preparation and Instruction
    • Provide copies of Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.
    • Teacher leads students in brief discussion of the effects of the Civil War, both positive and negative.
    • Teacher writes effects on transparency or other presentation equipment. During this time, the teacher should encourage students to think about the commonalities between their responses from the question of two days ago about the war in Iraq and their responses for this assignment.

Effects of the Civil War

Positive effects Negative effects
    • Students are given copy of Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address to read silently; write a brief main idea statement of each paragraph.
    • Teacher re-reads speech to class (paragraph by paragraph) discussing the main idea of each paragraph. Students write main ideas in margins.
    • Teacher and students generate statement of author’s purpose.
    • Students break up into groups of four or five and analyze word choice of each paragraph highlighting any words that have connotative meaning (emphasis on repetition).
    • Students generate words which represent author’s tone.
    • Teacher leads students in discussion of author’s attitude toward ending of the war and the future of the country.
    • For homework students write one or two paragraphs analyzing the author’s purpose and attitude supported by evidence from the speech.

Class Period 4—Compare both selections and analyze bar graph of armed conflicts

  • Preparation and Instruction
    • Review H-Chart strategy.
    • Prepare copies of H-Chart Handouts.
    • Prepare copies of Armed Conflicts, 1999-2004.
    • Students compare and contrast literary and rhetorical devices in the two readings using the H-Chart Handout.
    • Students, led by teacher, discuss the authors’ attitudes and purposes and how they are achieved.
    • Students, led by teacher, discuss thematic connections between the two texts.
    • Using the Armed Conflicts, 1999-2004 graph, teacher leads class in analysis and discussion of modern day conflicts and their effects.
    • Class discusses how bar graph might change in 2004 and 2005 with the conflict in Iraq.

Class Period 5—Assessment (modified lesson-objective questions)

1. c

2. d

3. a

4. c

5. d

6. b

7. d

8. a

9. a

10. c

11. c

12. b

13. d

14. c

15. a