Lighthouse Initiative for Texas Classrooms

Grade 8 Sample Lesson

Deriving Author’s Purpose

Analysis of literary devices to determine author's purpose; examination of similarities and differences in style

Contributed by Kathy Brown, Gentry Junior School, Baytown, TX

(Click here for downloadable MS Word version.)

Time Needed:

Eight class periods

Materials/Resources Needed:

Class Period 1—Reading strategies

  • Preparation and Instruction
    • Read Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address using the Read Along / Think Aloud strategy with students.
    • Place particular emphasis on clarifying meaning, connotative words, and historical references.
    • Be sure students are annotating.

Class Period 2—Determining author’s purpose

  • Preparation and Instruction
    • Students complete the Author’s Purpose activity.
    • Allow students to work with a partner pre-assigned by the teacher.
    • Students will finish for homework if necessary.

Class Period 3—Identifying textual evidence

  • Preparation and Instruction
    • Debrief Author’s Purpose activity by conducting a whole-class discussion.
    • Focus discussion around questions 1-3 and 6-8; use the overhead or chalkboard to keep a visual record of discussion points.
    • As the discussion progresses, note similarity in responses, but more importantly, when students offer different responses to the same question, encourage them to support their answers with specific textual evidence.
    • Move students away from the idea that there is "one right answer." Students must become accustomed to thinking, taking a stance, then supporting it with textual evidence.
    • Encourage students to add to their responses on the worksheet as other students' ideas make sense to them; have them use a different color of ink so that they can see how their thinking/understanding has changed/deepened.

Class Periods 4-6—Reading strategies, author’s purpose, textual evidence

  • Preparation and Instruction
    • Repeat days 1-3 using "The Last Lesson."

Class Period 7—Compare and contrast

  • Preparation and Instruction
    • Students complete the Venn Diagram individually.
    • Students use annotated texts and Author's Purpose worksheets to compare and contrast the two pieces by completing the Venn diagram.
    • Have students use three different colors of ink or highlighters on the diagram: one for the difference in Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, one for the differences in "The Last Lesson," and one for the similarities in the two pieces.

Class Period 8—Paragraph writing

  • Preparation and Instruction
    • Students construct a paragraph.
    • There are many possibilities at this point for student writing.
    • Consider having the students write a paragraph of 5-8 sentences on one or more of the following topics:
      • comparing and contrasting the two pieces overall;
      • comparing the two pieces only;
      • contrasting the two pieces only; or
      • choosing one specific criterion from the Venn diagram (such as tone or literary devices) to compare and/or contrast.