English 11

Breh and Kirkland

Corcoran High School

Syracuse, New York

Novel Unit

ESSENTIAL QUESTION:  How does the literature we read connect to our own lives? 

Continuing our on-going search for understanding of our basic Constitutional Rights as they are presented through the literature we read, we will be reading A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J Gaines.  

Cut and tape this sheet on pages 27 & 28 in your journal.  All work for this unit due 5/1. 

Required Activity (20 points):  Read the book and take part in class discussions. (You may make arrangements to “read” using tapes/CD with the teachers.)  We have broken the reading into ten parts, as usual.  The timeline for completion is:

3/21-22 – Chap. 1-4, pp. 3-32.   4/5-6 – Chap. 17-19, pp. 125-151

3/23-24 – Chap. 5-7, pp. 33-58  4/7-17 – Chap. 20-22, pp. 152-177

3/27-28 – Chap. 8-10, pp. 59-79  4/18-19 – Chap 23-25, pp. 178-203

3/29-30 – Chap. 11-13, pp. 80-102  4/20-21 – Chap. 26-28, pp. 204-225

4/3-4 – Chap. 14-16, pp. 103-124  4/24-25 – Chap. 29-31, pp. 226-256.

For each of the ten parts of the book do one of the following activities.  You may choose different activities for each part. (5 points each)

Level C: Choose 40 points at this level.   Be prepared to defend your learning.

____1.  Find 20 vocabulary words throughout the book that are new to you.

       Write out the words, a definition, a sentence, and a drawing or symbol to help you

      remember the meaning of the word.  Use the context of the word from the book to

       help you.  Make these words your own. (10 points)

____2. Use a plot summary graphic organizer to list the elements of literature in this

      book.  (Include reference pages.) (15 points)

____3.  Gaines, the author, gives detailed descriptions of the characters in

       this book, Choose three characters and write three paragraphs or three poems, or

____4.  Write a newspaper story about the trial or the execution.  Use a “Reporter’s

       Notes” organizer to plan your story.  (20 points)

____5.  Use magazine pictures to create a collage of one of the characters   

       in this book, include quotes that reflect the character. (20 points)

____6.  Pick out 10 significant incidents in the book and, using a time line graphic organizer,  construct a time line with the incidents.  Graph this using the +(top) for positive  incidents and the – (bottom) for negative.  Use graph paper for this.  (10 points)

____7.  Draw a map of the quarter where Grant lives.  Include any areas in which the

       action in the story takes place.  Be sure to include and label the places where each

____8.  Using a T Notes graphic organizer list the elements in Grant’s education and

      upbringing on one side and those of Jefferson. on the other (10 points)

____9.  Women play an important part in this story.  List and describe the most important

      female characters and tell how they influence Grant or the outcome of this novel.

       (10 points)

____10.  Write a letter to the author in which you discuss this book through theme, setting

      or characterization. (10 points)

____11.  There are several references to racial prejudice in this novel.  Choose two of these

      references, name the characters involved and the result of their actions or

B level Activities:  Choose 20 points. Be prepared to defend your learning.

____1.  Develop interview questions you would use if you had the opportunity

       to interview Ernest J. Gaines.  (10 points)

____2.  Produce a sound track for the book. By selecting and listing songs and artists for

      each section, briefly explain each choice (one or two sentences). (10 points)

____3.  Produce the actual soundtrack CD to go with the above activity. (10 points)

____4. Describe the setting for this novel.  Include climate, weather, landforms, and any

      other elements of nature that would be found in this area.  (10 points)

____5. Draw a new cover for this book that would appeal to your friends

       and would make them want to read the book.  Include pictures and a

      summary of the book. (10 points)

____6.  Write a poem about family that reflects the theme of family Gaines

       presents. (15 points)

____7. Write a song/rap about the book. (10 points)

A level: Choose one for 20 points. .  Use an A level assignment sheet. 

      Find three sources to respond to your question of choice.

   Summarize each source in five to ten sentences and then synthesize your findings in

       two to three paragraphs.  (2 pts for each correct citation, 3 pts. for each

      summary, 5 pts. for opinion) 

      Should there be capital punishment?

      Are teens treated fairly in the criminal justice system?

      Are minorities treated fairly in the criminal justice system?

      Is this book a “classic?”

      What does it mean to be a man?