A Lesson Plan on Details
Anticipatory Set: Today we will have a five question quiz on environmental reformation from last week’s reading in Chapter 4. The quiz will constitute 50% of your course grade, so do your best. You will have five minutes to complete the five questions. Time starts now.
If you think that won’t create a buzz in the classroom, think again. Now that you have your student’s attention, you can present the lesson objective and begin your lesson on details.
Lesson Objective: Today, I will read a short reading – Part A from an original story entitled, "A Night Spent in the Woods." Listen for the details in the story for a short class discussion afterwards. Tomorrow, I will read Part B for part 2 of this lesson on details.
Story: "A Night Spend in the Woods"
Teacher: Part A – The dusk settled in on the crimson edge of a fiery sunset flattened against a windless evening. Driving into the Olympic Rainforest in Olympia, Washington against the backdrop of tall pine trees creating green coats of branches against the sunset, the escaping light of dusk was soon becoming the encroaching darkness of night. Her 88′ Volkswagen Bug’s forest green paint job blended with the array of forest growth. Stacy was thinking about Mack’s detailed conversation on why she should take the shortcut through the Olympic Rainforest. He was adamant that as a shortcut to Highway 2, the 20 minute drive would save her at least 2 hours of driving time to her home in Vancouver, Washington. Leaving the University of Washington and final exam behinds, Stacy was eager to spend the winter break with her family and friends.
Teacher: Part B – Her headlights illuminated the dirt road carved through the Rainforest as she drove slowing down to 20mph to avoid any sudden deer or other animals darting across the road ahead. As Stacy came to a turn in the road, her engine sputtered and died. The whispers of the Rainforest closed in as she sat in her car in the middle of a two lane road with headlights now black on black with the sudden settling of night. The cold quickly replaced the heat in her car as she tried frantically to place a 911 call on her Blackberry. The "no service" icon illuminated a battery light that was already half over when she heard the distinct sound of heavy footprints coming towards her. Thoughts of bears, Bigfoot or some other large animal dragging her out of the car started the screaming that permeated the forest. She was so hysterical that the knock on the driver’s window drowned out the stranger’s voice outside shouting, "Ma’am, ma’am can I help you!" as he gently placed his toolkit on the road next to her door.
Discussion Questions: Start with easy recall detail questions and move to more complicated detail questions.
1. What was the name of the main character in this story? Answer – Stacy
2. Where was Stacy driving? Answer – Home
3. Where is home located? Answer – Vancouver
4. In what state is Vancouver – Answer – Washington
5. Why did Stacy drive through the Olympic Rainforest? Answer – She took a shortcut to get home sooner.
6. Why do you think Stacy’s car engine died? Answers will vary – She had engine problems. She ran out of gas. Her car was old.
7. Who do you think the stranger was who came to help her? Answers will vary – Bigfoot, A bad guy, The Forest Patrol guy
The questions could go on and on, but what you’re trying to help students learn is that the details of a story are important in setting the location, providing context to place and time and the tone of the story.
Closure: This lesson details can be modified even further by giving students a copy of Part A or Part B of the story and having them engage in group discussions to reread the story text individually and then in groups before answering a list of questions to see how many details they can remember from what they heard or read. Students will begin to see how the details can make or break a story line.