The Great Gatsby

Quiz over chapter 4 (concerns Jordan’s story about Daisy and Gatsby as she relates it to Nick).

  1. Where did Daisy grow up?
  2. What did Daisy do on her wedding day that almost stopped the wedding?
  3. What did Tom do immediately after returning from their honeymoon?
  4. Who was the Army officer that Jordan saw in Daisy’s car the year before she got married?
  5. Why did Gatsby buy the house on West Egg?

Read chapters 5 and 6 aloud.

Chapter Five:

One night, Gatsby waylays Nick and nervously asks him if he would like to take a swim in his pool; when Nick demurs, he offers him a trip to Coney Island. Nick, initially baffled by Gatsby’s solicitousness, realizes that he is anxiously waiting for Nick to arrange his meeting with Daisy. Nick agrees to do so. Gatsby, almost wild with joy, responds by offering him a job, a “confidential sort of thing,” and assures Nick that he will not have to work with Meyer Wolfsheim. Nick is somewhat insulted that Gatsby wishes to reimburse him for his help, and so declines Gatsby’s offer.

It rains on the day that Gatsby and Daisy are to meet, and Gatsby becomes extremely apprehensive. The meeting takes place at Nick’s house and, initially, their conversation is stilted and awkward. They are all inexplicably embarrassed; when Gatsby clumsily knocks over a clock, Nick tells him that he’s behaving like a little boy. Nick leaves the couple alone for a few minutes; when he returns, they seem luminously happy, as though they have just concluded an embrace. There are tears of happiness on Daisy’s cheeks.

They make their way over to Gatsby’s mansion, of which Gatsby proceeds to give them a carefully rehearsed tour. Gatsby shows Daisy newspaper clippings detailing his exploits. She is overwhelmed by them, and by the opulence of his possessions; when he shows her his vast collection of imported shirts, she begins to weep tears of joy. Nick wonders whether Gatsby is disappointed with Daisy; it seems that he has made of her a goddess, and ­ though Daisy herself is alluring ­ she cannot possibly live up to so grandiose an ideal.

Gatsby has Ewing Klipspringer, a mysterious man who seems to live at his mansion, play “Ain’t We Got Fun” (a popular song of the time) for himself and Daisy:

In the morning, in the evening
Ain’t we got fun!
Got no money, but oh, honey
Ain’t we got fun!

As Klipspringer plays, Gatsby and Daisy draw closer and closer together; Nick, realizing that his presence has become superfluous, quietly leaves.


The exchange between Nick and Gatsby that opens this chapter highlights the uncertainty at the heart of their relationship: is Gatsby’s friendship with Nick merely expedient ­ that is, is he merely using him to draw closer to Daisy ­ or is he genuinely fond of him?

The question cannot be absolutely decided: while it becomes clear that Gatsby has great affection for Nick, it is also true that he uses his money and power as leverage in all of his personal relationships. Gatsby, in his extreme insecurity about class, cannot believe that anyone would befriend him if he did not possess a mansion and several million dollars a year. Fitzgerald seems to bitterly affirm this insecurity, given the fact that Gatsby was abandoned by Daisy because of his poverty, and remains ostracized by the East Eggers even after his success. In the world of the novel, only Nick does not make friendships based upon class.

The gross materialism of the East and West Egg milieus explains the obsessive care that Gatsby takes in his reunion with Daisy. The afternoon is give over to an ostentatious display of wealth: he shoes Daisy his extensive collection of British antiques and takes her on a tour of his wardrobe; Gatsby himself is dressed in gold and silver. His Gothic mansion is described as looking like the citadel of a feudal lord. Nearly everything in the house is imported from England (the scene in which Gatsby shows Daisy his piles of English shirts is one of the most famous scenes in American literature). Fitzgerald implies that Gatsby is attempting to live the life of a European aristocrat in the New World of America. This, Fitzgerald suggests, is a misguided anachronism: America committed itself to progress and equality in abandoning the old aristocracy. To go back to such rigidly defined class distinctions would be retrograde and barbaric ­ as is implied by the fact that the major proponent of such ideas is Tom Buchanan, who is clearly a cretin and a brute.

This chapter presents Gatsby as a man who cannot help but live in the past: he longs to stop time, as though he and Daisy had never been separated ­ as though she had never left him to marry Tom. During their meeting Nick remarks that he is acting like “a little boy”: in Daisy’s presence, Gatsby loses his usual debonair manner and behaves like any awkward young man in love. Gatsby himself is regressing, moving back in time, as though he were still a shy young soldier in love with a privileged debutante.

Nick describes the restless Gatsby as “running down like an over-wound clock.” It is significant that Gatsby, in his nervousness about whether Daisy’s feelings toward him have changed, knocks over Nick’s clock: this signifies both Gatsby’s consuming desire to stop time and his inability to do so.

Daisy, too, ceases to play the part of a world-weary sophisticate upon her reunion with Gatsby. She weeps when he shows her his collection of sumptuous English shirts, and seems genuinely overjoyed at his success. In short, Gatsby transforms her; she becomes almost human. Daisy is more sympathetic here than she is at any other point in the novel.

The song “Ain’t We Got Fun” is significant for a number of reasons. The opening lyrics (“In the morning/ In the evening/ Ain’t we got fun”) imply a carefree spontaneity that stands in stark contrast to the tightly-controlled quality of the lovers’ reunion. This contrast is further sharpened by the words of the next verse, which run: “Got no money/ But oh, honey/ Ain’t we got fun!” It is bitterly ironic that Gatsby and Daisy should reunite to the strains of this song, given the fact that she first rejected him for his poverty.

Chapter Six:

A reporter, inspired by the feverish gossip about Gatsby then circulating in New York, comes to West Egg in the hopes of obtaining the true story of his past from him. Though Gatsby himself turns the man away, Nick interrupts the narrative to relate Gatsby’s past ­ the truth of which he only learned much later ­ to the reader.

His real name is James Gatz, and he was born to an impoverished farmer in North Dakota ­ rather than into wealth in San Francisco, as he claimed. He had his named legally changed to Jay Gatsby at the age of seventeen. Though he did attend St Olaf’s ­ a small college in Minnesota ­ he dropped out after two weeks, as he could not bear working as a janitor in order to pay his tuition. Gatsby’s dreams of self-improvement are only intensified by his relationship with Dan Cody, a man whom he met while working as a fisherman on Lake Superior. Cody was then fifty, a self-made millionaire who had made his fortune during the Yukon gold rush. Cody took Gatsby in and made the young man his personal assistant. On their subsequent voyages to the West Indies and the Barbary Coast, Gatsby became even more passionately covetous of wealth and privilege. When Cody died, Gatsby inherited $25,000; he was unable to claim it, however, due to the malicious intervention of Cody’s mistress, Ella Kaye. Afterward, Gatsby vowed to become a success in his own right.

Several weeks pass without Nick’s seeing Gatsby. Upon visiting Gatsby at his mansion, Nick is shocked to find Tom Buchanan there. Tom has unexpectedly stopped for a drink at Gatsby’s after an afternoon of horseback riding; he is accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Sloane, an insufferable East Egg couple who exemplify everything that is repellent about the “old rich.” Gatsby invites the group to supper, but Mrs. Sloane hastily refuses; perhaps ashamed at her own rudeness, she then half-heartedly offers Gatsby and Nick an invitation to dine at her home. Nick, recognizing the insincerity of her offer, declines; Gatsby accepts, though it is unclear whether his gesture is truly oblivious or defiant.

Tom pointedly complains about the crazy people that Daisy meets, presumably referring to Gatsby. Throughout the awkward afternoon, he is contemptuous of Gatsby ­ particularly of his acceptance of Mrs. Sloane’s disingenuous invitation.

The following Saturday, Tom and Daisy attend one of Gatsby’s parties. Tom, predictably, is unpleasant and rude throughout the evening. After the Buchanans leave, Gatsby is crestfallen at the thought that Daisy did not have a good time; he does not yet know that Tom badly upset her by telling her that Gatsby made his fortune in bootlegging.

Nick realizes that Gatsby wants Daisy to tell Tom that she has never loved him. Nick gently informs Gatsby that he can’t ask too much of Daisy, and says, “You can’t repeat the past.” Gatsby spiritedly replies: “Of course you can!”


Nick begins the story of Gatsby’s past by saying that Gatsby “sprang from his Platonic conception of himself.” In order to understand this statement, the reader must remember that the “Platonic conception” of a person or thing refers to that thing’s ideal form. That is, the Platonic form of an object is the perfect form of that object. Therefore, Nick is suggesting that Gatsby has modeled himself on an idealized version of “Jay Gatsby”: he is striving to be the man he envisions in his fondest dreams of himself. Gatsby is thus the novel’s representative of the American Dream, and the story of his youth borrows on one of that dream’s oldest myths: that of the self-made man. In changing his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby, he attempts to remake himself on his own terms; Gatsby wishes to be reborn as the aristocrat he feels himself to be.

It is significant that Gatsby leaves college because he finds his work as a janitor degrading. This seems a perverse decision, given the fact that a university education would dramatically improve his social standing. His decision to leave reveals Gatsby’s extreme sensitivity to class, and to the fact of his own poverty; from his childhood onward, he longs for wealth and ­ perhaps more importantly ­ for the sophistication and elegance which he imagines that wealth will lend him. His work as a janitor is a gross humiliation because it is at odds with his ideal of himself; to protect that ideal, he is willing to damage his actual circumstances.

Fitzgerald uses the character of Dan Cody to subtly suggest that the America of the 1920s is no longer a place where self-made men can thrive. Cody, like Gatsby, transcended early hardship to become a millionaire; also like Gatsby, he is remarkably generous to his friends and subordinates. Cody takes to drinking because, despite his wealth, he remains unable to carve out a place for himself in the world of 1920s America. It is important to note that Cody’s death is brought about, at least in part, through the treachery of the woman he loves; this foreshadows the circumstances of Gatsby’s death in Chapter VIII.

The painfully awkward luncheon party at Gatsby’s mansion underlines the hostility of the American 1920s toward the figure of the self-made man. Both the Sloanes and Tom Buchanan treat Gatsby with contempt and condescension, because he is not of the long-standing American upper class. Though Gatsby is fabulously wealthy ­ perhaps wealthier than Tom himself ­he is still regarded as socially inferior. For Fitzgerald, nothing could be more inimical to the original ideals of America. The first Americans fought to escape the tyrannies of the European nobility; Tom Buchanan longs to reproduce them.

This chapter makes it clear that Daisy, too, is a part of the same narrow-minded aristocracy that produced her husband. For Gatsby, she became the symbol of everything that he wanted to possess: she is the epitome of wealth and sophistication. Though Gatsby loves this quality in Daisy, it is precisely because she is an aristocrat that she cannot possibly fulfill his dreams: she would never sacrifice her own class status in order to be with him. Her love for him pales in comparison to her love of privilege.


The Great Gatsby

Answer the following questions in complete sentence form on a separate sheet of paper.

Chapter 5

1.Gatsby’s actions in preparing for Daisy’s arrival seem both flamboyant and absurd. What does he do? Why?

2.Discuss Gatsby’s actions once Daisy arrives. How do we know he is nervous? How does he try to impress her?

3.Toward the end of the chapter, Nick attempts to explain “the expression of bewilderment that had come back into Gatsby’s face.” What explanation does Nick give? Why, in his opinion, is Daisy not at fault?

4.Describe Daisy’s reactions during the course of her meeting with Gatsby.

5.Has Nick been affected by the meeting between Gatsby and Daisy? In what way?

Chapter 6

1.What was Gatsby’s real name? Why and when had he changed it?

2.In what way was Dan Cody involved in Gatsby’s destiny?

3.Why does Tom attend Gatsby’s party? How does this scene reveal the contrast between Gatsby and Tom?

4.What is deeply ironic in Tom’s statement, “…I may be old-fashioned in my ideas, but women run around too much these days to suit me”?

5.Note the reactions of Tom and Daisy at different times during Gatsby’s part. Did they enjoy themselves? Explain.

6.What suspicions does Tom have about Gatsby? What does he vow to do?

7.What do Nick and Gatsby talk about after the party?

8.What is Gatsby expecting of Daisy that prompts Nick to warn him, “I wouldn’t ask too much of her… You can’t repeat the past”?



The Great Gatsby

Chapters 3 & 4

Ch. 3


  • Nick meets Gatsby at one of his parties.
  • Why doesn’t Gatsby introduce himself to Nick when they first sit down together? (wants to see if they will say something about him)
  • Nick begins spending time with Jordan.
  • What does he have to do before they can become more involved?
  • (break up with girlfriend back home)

Literary Focus

  • Does Nick’s first meeting with Gatsby make him more or less mysterious?
  • Gatsby’s smile/artificiality (formal speech)
  • Rumors about Gatsby.
  • Jordan is careless in both her driving and speech.
  • This prepares us for later events.

Ch. 4


  • Nick has lunch with Gatsby in New York.
  • Gatsby gives his bio? Is it all true? (doubtful)
  • Nick meets Meyer Wolfsheim.
  • What does this tell us about Gatsby? (shady associates)
  • Revelations about Gatsby and Daisy (used to be together)
  • Jordan asks Nick to invite Gatsby and Daisy for tea.
  • Why doesn’t Gatsby ask Nick himself? (insecure? Aloof?)

Literary Focus

  • Why the list of names of Gatsby’s summer visitors?
  • Why do so many of them have tragic ends?
  • Why do you think Gatsby carries “evidence” of his past?
  • What is the “San Francisco/Midwest” thing all about?
  • How does Jordan’s telling of the Gatsby/Daisy romance make Gatsby more real for Nick?

Read Chapters 5 and 6

Chapter 3

1.Chapter 3 describes Gatsby’s “little party.” Enumerate details about the party itself, about the guests and about their conversation and behavior.

2.Describe the meeting between Nick and Gatsby. Comment on Fitzgerald’s skill in preparing for Gatsby’s entrance into the story.

3.In what way are Nick and Gatsby similar at this point? Why are they paradoxical?

4.What is the reason for Nick’s breaking the story atthis point? Read the section beginning with “Reading over what I have written so far…”

5.At the end of Chapter 3, Nick meets Jordan again. The author includes several episodes that emphasize her carelessness and basic dishonesty. Discuss these instances. What do they reveal about Jordan? About Nick?

6.Notice the last paragraph in Chapter 3. Is Nick being overly proud here? Discuss.

Chapter 4

1.The introductory section of Chapter 4 gives a long roster of those who attended Gatsby’s parties. How do they behave toward their host? Why, then, do they accept his hospitality?

2.Describe Gatsby’s car.

3.Discuss the details that Gatsby shares with Nick about his past.

4.Does Nick believe Gatsby’s story? Why or why not?

5.Who is Meyer Wolfsheim? What seems to be his connection with Gatsby?

6.Jordan Baker tells Nick about Daisy, Gatsby, and Tom. Summarize the story.

6. Explain the epigraph on the title page of the novel(“it’s the quote”). What does it reveal about Gatsby and his love for Daisy?

7.Do we know why Gatsby has so many parties? Why did he buy the house? Explain.

8.When Gatsby spoke to Jordan in his library in Chapter 3, he had devised a plan involving Nick. What was it? Why did he not ask Nick directly?


The Great Gatsby

Students complete questions over chapters 1-2

Chapter 1

1.Explain what Fitzgerald achieved by using Nick’s point of view to tell Gatsby’s story?

2.What do we learn about Nick Carraway in the introductory section of the novel?

3.In discussing East Egg and West Egg, Nick states: “To the wingless a more arresting phenomenon is their dissimilarity in every particular except shape and size.” Indicate what the “dissimilarities” might be.

4.Compare the homes of Nick, Gatsby, and the Buchanans. How does each home reflect the personality of its owner?

5.Fitzgerald’s description of Tom, Daisy, and Jordan creates not only an impression of physical appearance, but also contains added information. What do you learn about their history and interests, and from their gestures and mannerisms?

6.When Nick leaves the Buchanan’s house, he is “confused and a little disgusted.” Why? What does this suggest about his values?

7.Though we do not meet Gatsby until Chapter 3, we hear references to him in the conversations of others. Note each reference. What impressions do you get?

Chapter 2

1..In what way is the description in the opening paragraphs of Chapter 2 appropriate to the total atmosphere of this chapter? What is symbolic about the “valley of ashes,” and “the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg”?

2..Evaluate Myrtle’s talk of her unhappy marriage. What does she seem to be trying to justify?

3.How does Myrtle’s speech reveal her character?

4.What does the scene in this New York apartment reveal about Tom? About Myrtle?

5.Does Nick enjoy the afternoon at the apartment in New York? Why or why not?


The Great Gatsby

Chapters 1-2

Ch. 1:

  • Synopsis: Meet main characters
  • Tom
  • Daisy
  • Nick
  • Jordan
  • Literary Focus:
  • Gatsby is a presence rather than a real person
  • What is the “secret society” Tom & Daisy belong to? (cynicism, sarcasm)
  • Daisy’s “thrilling” voice
  • What does Fitzgerald say about the voice? (full of promise to men)
  • What does “full of promise” mean?
  • “single green light”
  • We will see it again.
  • Think about what it means to Gatsby.

Ch. 2:

  • Synopsis: Meet Myrtle
  • Horrible party with Myrtle’s sister & the McKees
  • Literary Focus:
  • “valley of ashes”
  • symbolic of the wasteland America has become
  • What wasteland? (vapidness of chasing money)
  • “eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg”
  • What do they symbolize? (God?)
  • Tom’s attack on Myrtle represents what? (the views he and Daisy have for the rest of the world: everyone is beneath them)


Nonfiction Test 

Begin reading “The Great Gatsby”


Nonfiction Test Review


American Non-Fiction

Letter From Birmingham Jail”

Objective: Recognize Subjectivity

Analyze Details


  • Students complete Vocabulary Study (75) and Vocabulary Practice (76) worksheets
  • Review Martin Luther King Biography (p1202)
  • Review “Text Analysis: Allusion” & “Reading Skill: Elements of an Argument” (p1203)
  • Read from “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (ps 1204-1213)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-4 on page 1215 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 6-8 on page 1215 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.


American Non-Fiction

A New Kind of War”

Objective: Recognize Subjectivity



  • Students complete Grammar and Style (357) Worksheet
  • Review Ernest Hemingway Biography (p1094)
  • Review “Text Analysis: Subjectivity in Reporting” & “Reading Strategy: Analyze Descriptive Details” (p1095)
  • Read from “A New Kind of War” (ps 1096-1101)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 1102 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 5-8 on page 1102 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.
  • Students complete Text Analysis (351) and Reading Skill (353) worksheets
  • 9/05/2014

American Non-Fiction

Regionalism” “The Autobiography of Mark Twain”

Objective: Recognize Irony and Overstatement

Predict Events


  • Review Mark Twain Biography (p659)
  • Review “Text Analysis: Irony and Overstatement” & “Reading Strategy: Predict (p659)
  • Read from “The Autobiography of Mark Twain” (ps 660-669)
  • Read “Epigrams” (p670)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 671 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 4-8 on page 671 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.

09/04 – 05/2014

American Non-Fiction

Civil War

  • Letter to His Son / Letter to Sarah Ballou Letters by Robert E. Lee and Major Sullivan Ballou
  • A Diary from DixieDiary Entry by Mary Chesnut
  • Speech to the American Equal Rights Association Speech by Sojourner Truth

Objective: Analyze Primary Sources; Synthesize Non-Fiction Documents

Pre-Lesson: Review Primary Sources on page 592


  • Read texts (p593-596) aloud
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 597 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 5-7 on page 597 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.“The Gettysburg Address”Objective: Identify Audience and Form; Analyze Author’s BeliefsProcedures:
      • Review Abraham Lincoln Biography (p584)
      • Review Text Analysis: Audience and Form & Reading Strategy: Analyze an Author’s Beliefs (p585)
      • Read “The Gettysburg Address” (p586)
      • Answer Comprehension questions 1-2 on page 590 aloud. Assessment


      Write a speech paying tribute to an important event. It may be from the distant past or a more recent time period. Do not give us a list of facts, but concentrate rather on the impact and meaning this event had for those who experienced it and those who came after, including yourself.


American Non-Fiction

from “Civil Disobedience”

Objective: Evaluate Ideas


  • Students complete look up definitions for following words:
    • abject, congenial, deliberately, impetuous, misgiving, perturbation, pervade, transgress
  • Review Henry David Thoreau Biography (p378)
  • Review Text Analysis: Essay and Reading Skill: Evaluate Ideas (p379)
  • Read from “Civil Disobedience” (p390-396)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 397 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 4; 7 on page 397 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.


American Non-Fiction  from “Self-Reliance” and “Nature”


  • Students complete look up definitions for following words:
    • aversion, decorum, exhilaration, importune, nonconformist, occult
  • Review Ralph Waldo Emerson Biography (p368)
  • Review Text Analysis: Transcendentalism and Reading Skill: Identify Theme (p369))
  • Read from “Self-Reliance” and “Nature” (p370-374)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 375 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 4-5 on page 375 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.


American Non-Fiction

The Crisis”

Common Core Focus: Persuasive Techniques; Summarize Main Ideas

RI2; RI3; RI5; L4c; L6

Objective: Recognize Persuasive Techniques

Provide a Summary of Main Ideas


  • Students complete Vocabulary Practice (322) and Vocabulary Strategy (323) worksheets
  • Watch Herb Brooks locker room speech from “Miracle”
  • Review Thomas Paine Biography (p248)
  • Review Text Analysis: Persuasive Techniques and Reading Strategy: Summarize Main Ideas (p249)
  • Read “The Crisis” (p250-255)
  • Assignment: Using examples from “Poor Richard’s Almanac”, Ben Franklin’s “Autobiography”, and Patrick Henry’s “Speech in the Virginia Convention”, write a five-paragraph essay describing three qualities every American should possess. Use one quality from each of the above works.



American Non-Fiction

The Declaration of Independence”


  • Review Text Analysis: Argument and Reading Skill: Analyze Text Structure (p238)
  • Read from “The Declaration of Independence” (p240-244)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-4 on page 245 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 5-6 on page 111 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.


American Non-Fiction

Speech in the Virginia Convention”


  • Review Patrick Henry Biography (p228)
  • Review Text Analysis: Rhetorical Devices & Reading Skill:Reading a Persuasive Speech (p229)
  • Read from “Speech in the Virginia Convention” (pgs230-234)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 235 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 4-7 on page 235 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.



  • Read pages 266-275 (Franklin’s” Autobiography” and “Poor Richard’s Almanack”)
  • Students answer #7 on page 276 in a short essay


American Non-Fiction

from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

Objective: Determine an author’s purpose


  • Review Jonathan Edwards Biography (p122)
  • Review Text Analysis: Persuasion and Reading Skill: Analyze Emotional Appeals (p123)
  • Read from from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (p124-127)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 130 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 4-7 on page 130 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.
  • Benjamin Franklin’s “The Autobiography” “Poor Richard’s Almanack”Objective: Understand Characteristics of an AutobiographyMake Inferences about AuthorProcedures:
    • Students complete Vocabulary Practice (358) Part A #s1-7 independently
    • Review Analogies with students and have them complete part B #s8-9c
    • Review Benjamin Franklin  Biography (p266)
    • Review Text Analysis: Characteristics of Autobiography and Reading Skill: Make Inferences About the Author (p267)
    • Read from “The Autobiography” (p268-274)
    • Discuss Aphorisms
    • Read and discuss aphorisms from “Poor Richard’s Almanack” (p275)
    • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 276 aloud. Assessment


American Non-Fiction

A General History of Virginia”


  • Review John Smith Biography (p92)
  • Review Text Analysis: Narrator and Reading Strategy: Reading Older Texts (p93)
  • Read from “The General History of Virginia” (p94-99)
  • Answer Comprehension questions 1-4 on page 100 aloud. Assessment
  • Students answer Text Analysis questions 5-8 on page 100 on paper.
    • Assessment: Review answers aloud.“of Plymouth Plantation”
      • Review William Bradford Biography (p102)
      • Review Text Analysis: Cultural Characteristics and Reading Strategy: Summary (p103)
      • Read from “of Plymouth Plantation” (p104-110)
      • Answer Comprehension questions 1-3 on page 111 aloud. Assessment
      • Students answer Text Analysis questions 4-7 on page 111 on paper.
        • Assessment: Review answers aloud.


Writing Commentaries Unit (Day 9)



Students publish and share their commentaries.

Guiding Questions: 
What opportunities are there to publish our commentaries and make them public?

 Lesson Design:

  • Explain that writers write for an audience and as a writing community, the class will be your first audience.
  • Students will prepare final versions of their commentaries, editing them for mechanics and grammar.
  • Final, polished commentaries will be shared with the class, either in print or electronically on blogs or discussion boards.
  • Provide students with a structure to respond to each other’s writing. 
  • Encourage students to pursue additional avenues for publication, the school or local newspaper, Teen Ink, blogs, etc.
  • Final Commentaries are due Friday at the beginning of class.


Writing Commentaries Unit (Day 8 )


Students revise their commentaries to add comparisons.

Lesson Design:
  • Explain that good persuasive writers use comparisons to support their claims.
  • Comparisons can…
    • be written as similes
    • be written as metaphors
    • use hyperbole
  • Ask students to find examples of comparisons in the Commentary Packet.
  •  Share discovered examples.
  • Students find places in their drafts where they might be able to add effective and compelling comparisons as support.



Writing Commentaries Unit (Day 7 )

Revising Introductions


Students revise the leads in their commentaries.

Guiding Questions:

How can revising our leads help strengthen our writing? 


 After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Revise their commentaries for craft in a commentary
Lesson Design:
  • Explain to students that commentary leads, like all leads, must hook the reader.
  • Using the model texts from the Commentary Packet and any other examples you have used with students, show examples of various kinds of leads. 
  • Some ways commentaries begin:

            * A direct statement:

“Fashion is easy to copy: Counterfeiters buy the real item, take them apart, scan the pieces to make patterns, and produce almost perfect imitations.”

The Real Cost of Fake Goods 

            * An anecdote:

            “Kyleigh D’Alessio never met 16-year-old John Clapper, the

            teenager Connecticut State Police say was the driver in

            Tuesday’s car accident in Griswold that killed four teenagers

            and critically injured a fifth.” 

            ‘Kyleigh’s Law’ is not the Answer for Connecticut’s Young Drivers

* A statement that raised questions:

“With Democrats on the warpath over trade, there’s pressure

for tougher international labor standards that would try to put

Abakr Adoud out of work.”

Put Your Money Where Their Mouths Are

            * A quote or reference to a quote

            “Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the

            same thing over and over again and expecting different


            Starve, Get Aid, Repeat

  • Consider modeling how to write various kinds of leads for students.
  • Students write at least three possible leads for their commentaries.
  • After composing the leads, students consult with a partner, determining which leads provide the best “hook” and revise their commentaries accordingly.


Writing Commentaries Unit (Day 6 )

Finding Balance Between Fact and Opinion


Students reread their commentaries, revising them to balance facts and opinions.

Guiding Questions:

How can we strengthen our use of facts and opinions to make our point?


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Revise their commentaries for content
Student Skills:
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision making
  • Writing and application of the writing process
Lesson Design:  (Peer Editing)
  • Instruct students to revisit the commentary examples that they highlighted for facts and opinions, reminding them about the conclusions they drew from that lesson.
  • Explain that they will be doing the same work today, highlighting their own writing for facts and opinions.
  • Students should revise their commentaries based on their findings, adding factual information if necessary and/or strengthening the opinions in the piece.


Writing Commentaries Unit (Day 4)

Facts and Opinions in Commentaryc

Planning a Commentary: determining opinion and tone.”


Students make initial plans for their commentary, determining a statement of opinion, and selecting a tone before making an outline for the piece.


 After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Experiment using various tones and craft moves
Student Skills:
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision making
  • Writing and application of the writing process
Lesson Design:
  • Explain that commentary writers, like writers of all genres, make some decisions before drafting. 
  • By the end of class, students will be required to turn-in an index card with their name, the topic for their commentary, and a statement that clearly expresses their opinion about the topic and what tone they intend to use in their writing.
  • Model for students how you would determine these things for yourself.  Show how you would experiment crafting an opinion statement and try writing in various tones.
  • Students use the remaining time writing to make these decisions for themselves.
  • Collect index cards at the end of class, reading them to determine who is ready for the next step. 
  • Discuss that each commentary comments on a particular incident.
    • Define each article’s incident.
  • Each incident leads to a larger issue.
    • Define each commentary’s issue.
  • Find each commentary’s thesis and the statement that tells you how the author feels/thinks about the issue.
  • Hand out newspapers and have students choose a news event.
  • By the end of class, students will be required to turn-in an index card with:
    • their name,
    • the topic for their commentary,
    • a statement that clearly expresses their opinion about the topic
    • what tone they intend to use in their writing (formal or conversational)
    • One possible model for a commentary outline is:

       –Lead + Claim

       –Reason #1

          * support (example)

       –Reason #2

          * support (example)

       –Reason #3

          * support (example)

       –Other POV/counter argument  

       –Interesting ending

    • Students work on creating their own outlines and start drafting.


Writing Commentaries Unit (Day 3)

Facts and Opinions in Commentary


Students reread commentary examples, identifying the authors’ use of facts and opinions by marking up the text.


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify use of facts and opinions in commentaries
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of facts and opinions in commentaries 
Student Skills:
  • Critical thinking
  • Analyzing text
  • Comparing and contrasting
Lesson Design:
  • Explain that students will be working with a partner, rereading commentary examples from their Commentary Packet.
  • Students read through selected examples twice.  The first time, they highlight or underline places in the text where the author uses facts.  The second time, using a different color, they highlight or underline places in the text where the author uses opinion.
  • Partners evaluate and compare examples, noting the following:
    • What is the ratio of facts to opinions in each commentary? 
    • How does each author integrate facts and opinions?  When and where in each piece are they used?
    • What impact do you feel facts have in each commentary?  What impact do you feel opinions have in each commentary?c
  • Class regroups to share.  Chart one list of “Facts and Opinions in Commentary” for display in the classroom.


Defining Commentary

In this lesson, students work together to create a list of characteristics found in good commentaries.  The class then agrees on characteristics that all commentaries must have.

Lesson Design:
  • Explain that students will work with a group, using information collected in their Commentary Packet to capture what they notice about commentary writing.
  • Students will create a chart together, listing things under the title, “We notice that good commentary writing…”. 
  • Some things worth noticing are: format, point-of-view, tone, content, kinds of sentences, word choice, paragraphs.
  • Groups should be prepared to share.
  • Class regroups to make one list together. 
  • Read through completed list, asking students to consider which of the characteristics are essential (things a commentary must do or include).  Highlight or bold these items.


Learning about examples of powerful commentaries

Lesson Design:

  • Distribute and review Commentary Packet and commentary examples with students. 
  • Read through the first commentary, “Starve, Get Aid, Repeat” by Craig and Marc Kielburger as a class.
  •  Model how to complete the graphic organizer.
  • Students work on reading at least three additional commentaries, completing the organizer.


Be in your seat before the bell rings.

Only a principal can give you permission to go to your car.

Keep any conversation in class relevant to current class topic.

Pick up all trash and place in trashcans  or recycle bin at the end of class.

You are not dismissed by the bell. The bell is to inform the teacher it is time to stop teaching.  Students are dismissed by the teacher. Please remain in your seat until the teacher dismisses you.

Cell phones are not to be used unless the teacher instructs otherwise

If your cell phone is confiscated, your parents will have to claim it at the office the next day.

All other rules, including dress codes, listed in the student handbook will be enforced. If you are seen with any non-allowable item (knife, tobacco, etc.) you will give that item to the teacher upon request. (Let’s review those policies)

Demonstrate the same respect and courtesy for others as you wish to receive.

You are responsible for bringing your own materials to class.

Place assignments in corresponding boxes at the beginning of each class.

You will find previous days’ assignments in notebooks if you are absent.

Use blue or black ink only for all assignments; including quizzes, tests, and essays.

Assignments will be turned in on white paper.  Use college ruled paper for essays.

Late assignments will lose 10 points per day.

Extracurricular activities, including athletic events, club events and after school jobs do not excuse students from deadlines.  All procedures regarding late assignments will apply.

If you turn in an assignment on time and are dissatisfied with your grade, you may redo the assignment and turn it back in the day after it is returned to you.

You have 5 days following your last day absent to make up any work.

Quizzes cannot be made up. If you are absent on the day a quiz is given, you are excused from it and it will not count against you.

Any missed tests will be made up before or after school by appointment within five days.

Grades are determined as follows: TESTS = 40%  ESSAYS = 30%  QUIZZES = 20% CLASS/HOMEWORK = 10%

Fold all assignments lengthwise.

Assignments need to have the following heading printed on the outside fold:

Name: First and Last

Class:  English II, English III, etc.

Period: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.

Date: month/day/year (08/11/2014)

Assignment:  Essay Title, Page #s, etc.


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