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Sherine Aboelezz

The Great Gatsby and Literary Analysis


Student Population: This lesson plan is intended for a co-educational American International
School in Kuwait. Most of the students in the school are ELL students, however, the majority have
been in American schools since the early elementary years.
I will teach The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald to an 11th grade English class. This lesson
plan is intended for 11th graders who will most likely go onto University. The reading level ranges
from advanced, ELL, and minimal skilled. Due to the fact that it is an International school, most
students have lived in different countries, and have experienced different understandings of the
English Language.

Materials: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, What Makes the Great Gatsby Great by
Sara Churchwell (article from The Guardian), Was Gatsby Black? by Elizabeth Manus (Article
from Salon.com), Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes, Bulletin Board Paper, Markers, KWL
chart (anticipatory set), Imagery Graphic Organizer, Annotation Guide, SOAPSTone Graphic
Organizer
Digital Materials: www.rewordify.com, www.storybird.com, 2013 film adaptation of The Great
Gatsby, http://www.history.com/topics/roaring-twenties (The Roaring Twenties: History Channel
Video and Packet), www.visualthesaurus.com, www.pixton.com, www.wordle.com

Before Reading Strategies:


Activating Prior Knowledge: Students will be asked, What do you know about The Roaring
Twenties?
KWL Chart, Activating Prior Knowledge, and Mind Map: Students will be given a KWL chart to
fill out, followed by a two minute History Channel Video on The Roaring Twenties. After that,
the teacher will pass out a hand out that categorizes this era into 6 subtopics: The New Woman,
The Birth of Mass Culture, The Jazz Age, Prohibition, The Cultural Civil War, and The Lost
Generation. Students will complete the KWL chart, and then get into groups to create a group
mind map. The Roaring Twenties must be at the center of the map, with all the other categories
branching off. Each category must provide at least two subcategories. Students will present and
submit their mind maps as a formative grade.
Background Information: The next stage would be to present a power point presentation on the
actual text (The Great Gatsby). The teacher will introduce F. Scott Fitzgerald, the literary setting,
and the American Dream.

At this point, the Essential Questions are provided: 1) How do authors use literary elements and

devices to establish and express their themes? 2) How does Nicks character evolve throughout the
course of the text? 3) How do literary devices work to establish a tone? 4) How does annotating a
text support a readers understanding of the text? 5) How do Old Money and New Money exist till
today?
Define Terms: A definition of the literary terms that are to be identified throughout the novel will
be defined.
Students will also be told that, as part of an ongoing assessment, they must look up ten difficult
vocabulary words on visual thesaurus, and submit those terms at the end of each chapter. Visual
thesaurus is a website that visually represents synonyms for words. I will model this activity, in front
of the class, on a very small piece of text.

Analysis: The KWL chart and short History Channel video are extremely important for building
upon prior knowledge and for building background knowledge on the text. These activities allow
students to ponder about how much they might have learned about the topic in other classes. The
immediate video does not delay the delivery of missing information. It is the combination of these
two activities that allow for a completed KWL chart. The video is an excellent supplementary text
that provides background information to visual/spatial learners, and to English Language Learners
who might not have the immediate background information on American history.
The mind map activity appeals to Accountants because there is a specific task that must be
completed within a specific amount of time. Attorneys also appreciate the mind map because it
allows them to understand how each category connects to the other. Associates enjoy this task
because they are allowed to work in a group in order to play upon one anothers ideas.
The Essential Questions appeal to all learners because it establishes a purpose for reading.
Readers understand exactly what to look for in their texts. There is also comfort in the fact that
everyone is looking to answer the same questions. The final assessment will relate to these essential
questions, as students will work throughout the novel to answer these questions.
Defining the literary devices ahead of time strengthens minimally skilled readers. Defining these
terms reinforces theses students understandings of the devices, making sure that they have a
foundation before seeking them out in the text. My inclusion of the visual thesaurus helps not only
English Language Learners, but also helps the entire class in their vocabulary retention because
students are free to choose whichever word they find difficult. The visual outlay of the words
appeals to visual learners, as well as linguistic.

During Reading Strategies:


Annotation Guide: Students are to be given an annotation guide. The teacher will model the
annotation process with students. A visual representation of an annotated page will also be
provided as a sample. Each element will be given a symbolic letter: S= Setting, C= Conflict,
T=Theme, CH=Character, P=Plot, and LD= Literary Device. If a student labels an item as LD,
he/she must also indicate the type. Each symbol is also a color highlighter; S= Pink, C= Yellow,
T= Green, CH= Blue, P= Orange, and LD= Red Pen. Additionally, they must write at least two
How/Why questions per page i.e. How does Fitzgerald develop Nicks character on this page?
Why does Gatsby love Daisy? A formative quiz grade is given for this process after each chapter.
At the end of each chapter, students will use their findings to try to answer the essential questions.

Visual Thesaurus: Students are to use their visual thesaurus to define ten difficult terms per
chapter. This process allows students to take control over the vocabulary they do not understand.
They will earn a formative grade for this process after each chapter.

Graphic Organizers: Students are given various graphic organizers throughout the novel in order to
categorize their annotations. Graphic Organizers of interest are: Imagery, Character, Sequence of
Events, Relationship, Conflict, and SOAPSTone. These graphic organizers are especially relevant
as compared to the essential questions. These will eventually be tools used to answer the essential
questions at the end of the unit. These are not meant to be graded. At times, students are given
opportunities to complete these graphic organizers in groups.

Rewordify: Rewordify is an application that allows for students to place complicated texts into a
software, and then have the language simplified. This allows students to feel like they can get help
understanding the text, without immediately running to Spark Notes. The applications also works
as a dictionary that defines complicated terms.

Wordle: Wordle is an application that asks students to place excerpts of a text in order to illustrate
and keep track of the most frequently used words. This application helps students to pay attention
to the excerpts diction and tone.

Mind Map: Students will create a mind map in order to organize and categorize how and why
authors use their elements and literary devices to reinforce one another.

After Reading Strategies:


Body Biography: Students will create a Body Biography in order to characterize the essential
characters of the text i.e. Jay Gatsby, Daisy, Nick, Jordan, and Myrtle. Students are assigned in
groups and given a specific essential character from their text. As a group, they are to compare
their annotations in order to characterize/categorize their character. They must provide textual
evidence for all of their claims. Each group will be given bulletin board paper and markers in order
to draw a life size representation of their character. After detailing the physical descriptions of their
character, they must use their text and place it in the area of the body that describes the character.
For example, if there is a moment in the text that describes a character with a broken heart, then
the group must place that piece of textual evidence over a picture of a broken heart. Each group
must provide at least five pieces of characterization, both direct and indirect. The final product
will be used as a formative grade.

Readers Theater: Students are given the opportunity to get into groups and interpret their
understanding of the text through acting. Students must use their annotations as tools to identify
different elements of the setting, character, conflict, and plot.

Pixton: Students will be asked to choose an event in the novel and create a Pixton comic through
www.pixton.com. The website provides a format and tools for students to create their own comics.
This allows students to illustrate and summarize their understanding of the text. This may count
towards a formative assessment.

Storybird: Storybird is an application that provides students with free illustrations that they can
then turn into picture books. The task will be for students to not only create their own stories, but
to also show the interrelationship between the literary elements i.e. conflict, character, plot, setting,
and theme. They must provide a reflection at the end of how they used each element to reinforce
the other. They must also provide a minimum of five literary devices.

Supplementary News Articles: What Makes the Great Gatsby Great by Sara Churchwell (article
from The Guardian) and Was Gatsby Black? by Elizabeth Manus (Article from Salon.com). As
a class activity, students will read the above articles in order to have an understanding of a
functional literary analysis. How do authors develop a claim about a text?

Jazz Age Poetry: A Dream Deferred, by Langston Hughes, will be annotated as a class. The
teacher will model the process of a complete literary analysis. The teacher will attempt to answer
the essential questions using the poem as a guide. The teacher will also use the poem to help
reinforce the idea of the Jazz Age and the American Dream. For homework, students must

display the interrelationship and/or cause and effect relationship between two elements and two
literary devices. A Cause/Effect Graphic Organizer will be used during this time.

Mind Map: Students will create a mind map in order to organize and categorize how and why
authors use their elements and literary devices to reinforce one another.

Reader Response Journal: Students will write in a Reader Response Journal after their assigned
reading in order to document any of their questions or moments of confusions. They will also use
this space to create connections between the texts. Students MUST attempt to answer the essential
questions in their journals.

Assessments:
Formative Assessments:
Annotations: Evaluating the annotation process allows the teacher to see what the students are
noticing/observing/identifying per chapter. This allows the teacher to modify his/her teaching, and
allows for students to identify their weaknesses before the summative assessment.
Storybird: This group assessment gives students the opportunity to apply their understanding of the
interrelationship between literary elements. This group activity allows gives various learners the
opportunity to get student/teacher feedback on their learning processes and understandings.
Pixton: This assessment allows students to illustrate their understandings of the text in order to
clarify any misunderstandings.
Group Problem Solving: The class is divided into chunks and each given an excerpt from the text.
The teacher will ask a general question to all groups i.e. How does Fitzgerald establish the setting
your piece? How was the character of Daisy developed in your piece? How does Fitzgerald
characterize the character in your piece? As a group, they must discuss and determine the answer
this question.
Reader Response Journals: This assessment gives students the opportunity to respond/question the
text in order to deepen the writer-reader relationship.
Writers Workshop: This assessment shows readers that writing is a process. Students are given the
opportunity to edit one anothers work. Each editor is given a specific set of questions to answer
about the individuals work. The questions for the writers workshop are attached.
Student/Teacher Conferences: After the writers workshop, students are given the opportunity to
have a one on one conference with their teacher about their essays. The student must come
prepared with specific questions about their writing.

Sentence Combining: Students are divided into teams and asked to combine various sentences in
order to increase their understanding of sentence fluency and grammar.

Summative Assessments:
Literary Analysis Essay: Students are to compose a literary analysis of The Great Gatsby. They
must answer the following questions in one essay: How does F. Scott Fitzgerald use literary
elements and devices to establish his theme? How does the authors tone reinforce this theme?

The rubric is attached alongside this document.

Directions: Answer the above questions and establish a well written, five
paragraph literary analysis essay. Your essay must be in proper MLA format.
Do not forget to cite your textual evidence with page numbers. Remember
that your introduction should include SOAPS and a thesis statement (The
point you are trying to prove).

Alternative Library Sources:


Rewordify: https://rewordify.com/ Rewordify is a website that helps students decode complicated
text.
Wordle: http://www.wordle.net/ Wordle is a website that, after placing a chunk of text into the
software, will illustrate the most frequently used words in the piece. This helps with analyzing tone
and word choice.
Visual Thesaurus: https://www.visualthesaurus.com/ Visual Thesaurus creates a visual word map
for students.
Storybird: https://storybird.com/ Storybird is an application that provides free illustrations and
gives students a forum for creating their own picture books.
Pixton: http://www.pixton.com/ Pixton is a website that allows students to create free comics
Newsela: https://newsela.com/ Newsela is a database that provides students with a plethora of free
news articles
Youtube: www.youtube.com Youtube is a website that provides free videos
Cooperative Learning Groups: I cite cooperative learning groups as a source because in order for
students to gain full independence from their teachers, students must first view one another as a
source.
The Perdue Online Writing Lab: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/ The Perdue Online Writing Lab
is a website that answers questions about the writing process.
Easybib: http://www.easybib.com/ Easybib is a free bibliography generator.

Conclusions:
Teaching an entire novel is a difficult task for most teachers. The reason that the process of
teaching a novel is so difficult is due to: 1) Students not reading the assigned text 2) The difficulty
in determining/gaging a students understanding of the text before the summative assessment. The
combination of these two factors leave students frustrated, lost, and unmotivated. A way to
overcome this problem, and motivate students, is through read alouds, alternative library sources,
and a growth mindset.
Reading portions of a shared text aloud helps model the reading process for students. Reluctant
readers learn the metacognitive reading process from their teachers and learn how to get
themselves out of difficult situations. The required reading is also divided up into smaller chunks
for the student so that he/she can read independently at home. He/she has gone through a process
of modeled reading and, therefore, is more motivated to try it alone at home.
Alternative reading sources create great motivation for all learners. This is because the teacher
allows his/her students to explore the text through other media sources. These sources help
scaffold the learning process so that the student does not feel completely dependent on the
teacher. This sense of independence is a great motivator, as students feel like they are in control of
their own learning and are more willing to do the work independently.
A growth mindset is key to creating motivation in the classroom. Through formative assessments,
the teacher and the student can focus on the learning process, as opposed to just the final
summative grade. The teacher will take the student from chapter to chapter, as to make sure that
the student does not fall to the side. The student sees that the teacher is on his/her side. Learning,
in turn, becomes a purposeful and personal process.
Overall, I do not think that the student must choose the book for it to be enjoyable. We cant, as
teachers, avoid anchor texts in the classroom. Therefore, it is our job to make the text as enjoyable
as we can. Through read alouds, alternative library sources, and a growth mindset, teachers can
create hype around a text. It is important for the teacher to interact with the multiple intelligences
in her classroom, as well as appealing to her minimally skilled, ELL, learning disabled, and gifted
students.

Works Cited Page


Churchwell, Sarah. "What Makes The Great Gatsby Great." The Guardian. The Guardian, 2013. Web.
2015. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fbooks%2F2013%2Fmay%2F03%2Fwhatmakes-great-gatsby>.
"EasyBib: The Free Automatic Bibliography Composer." EasyBib. EasyBib, 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
Manus, Elizabeth. "Was Gatsby Black?" Saloncom RSS. SALON, Sept.-Oct. 2000. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
<http://www.salon.com/2000/08/09/gatsby/>.
"Newsela | Nonfiction Literacy and Current Events." Newsela | Nonfiction Literacy and Current
Events. N.p., 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
"The Online Writing Lab at Purdue (OWL)." Welcome to the Purdue University Online Writing Lab
(OWL). Purdue University, 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
"Pixton Comic Maker." Pixton. Pixton, 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
"Read Smarter Now." Understand What You Read. Rewordify, 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
"The Roaring Twenties." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
"RubiStar Home." RubiStar Home. Rubistar, Apr. 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
<http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php>.
"Search for Synonyms Using the Visual Thesaurus." Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus. Thinkmap Visual
Thesaurus, 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
"Storybird - Read, Write, Discover, and Share the Books You'll Always Remember." Storybird.
Storybird, 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
"Wordle - Beautiful Word Clouds." Wordle - Beautiful Word Clouds. Wordle, 2015. Web. 01 Apr.
2015.