Because of how the Forming EBC worksheets seemed to be helping my Regents kids better organize their ideas (as opposed to how we had been doing the same activity earlier in the year in a journal…they must prefer worksheets), I decided to see the sheets might work with my Enriched kids and Frankenstein.
I had the kids read the four letter from Robert Walton at the beginning of the novel. I then listed on the overhead several ideas surrounding Walton: his dream, his willingness to sacrifice for others, his doubts, his education, his relationship with his sister, his relationship with others (besides his sister), his financial background, his resolve, and his loneliness. These were from Prestwick House’s Activity Pack for Frankenstein.
I then instructed the kids to “go head to head” with their partner…or in one case, a group of three because we had an odd number (meaning that they had to turn their desks to face the person across the row from them so that they could talk face to face). Once they were in place, I drew names for them to choose which of the ideas about Walton each pair wanted to work with. The catch was that once a topic was chosen, it was off limits for the next pair. In one class, we started at the beginning once all eight had been selected by the first groups. That gave the kids in that particular class who were drawn last an opportunity to have some choice instead of being “stuck” like most last groups are.
Using a Forming Evidence-Based Claims worksheet (like those in the Regents classes with Plato’s “Apology”), the partners had to argue and agree on what three pieces of textual evidence they were going to use to best support the idea they’d chosen. Once they had their textual support, they had to explain why that detail was important to the topic. Finally, they had to make a claim about Robert Walton’s character based on the evidence.
These are some examples of student work:
In this, Katie is making the claim that Robert Walton is curious. She also extends her claim with several points (signposts). This is a very strong response.
Brittany is making the claim that Robert Walton is wealthy. This is situational for the character, not a character trait (which is what was assigned). She and her partner will have to go head-to-head once more to come up with a trait that is specific to Walton’s character based on the fact that he was a wealthy man. She does state that “wealth wasn’t an important thing in his life,” so I will ask her and her partner to dig more into that idea.
Melissa claims that Robert Walton is compassionate and a loyal friend when she and her partner examined Robert Walton’s relationships with others. She sites Robert Walton’s interactions with the stranger that has boarded his ship in the middle of the tundra. She also offers points (signposts) to explain her claim.
Next class, the students will use the information from these worksheets to write a paragraph characterizing one aspect of Robert Walton. The “Claim” sentences will serve as the topic sentences for the paragraphs, the quotations will be the concrete details (CDs), and the “Connecting the Details” responses will serve as part of their commentary (CMs).