Sample Activity for the Ninth Grade Common Assignment Prompt: Read (or re-read) “Thank You Ma’m” by Langston Hughes in the Holt Anthology (109- 112) and write an essay about the character of either Roger or Mrs. Jones. Students should create an outline first with a thesis about the character and gather supporting evidence. Time: 3 class periods including writing time. Materials Needed: Holt texts, writing materials. Steps in the Assignment: • Have students preview the prompt and read the short story, “Thank You M’am by Langston Hughes. • Look over the prompt again and review the handout. The literary term of character is composed into a thesis. Remind students that other ideas and terms are possible for the writing as well. Sample thesis on the literary term of character: Roger, the young man, learns a positive lesson about life in this coming of age story. He changes from a young thief to a thoughtful young man. • Create an outline around a literary term on character, plot, setting, or theme, Sample Outline I. Quote: “The boy took care to sit on the opposite far side of the room away from the purse …”(112). Comment: The young man wanted to avoid temptation and also wanted to earn her trust. II. “That will be fine,” said the boy”(112). Comment: Roger and Mrs. Jones are eating at the table together, a kind and hospitable event that suggest grace and comfort. III. The boy wanted to say something other than “Thank you,m’am” to Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones…” (112). Comment: The young man is grateful for the woman’s kindness and cannot express his appreciation enough. Perhaps he takes this lesson to heart or share it with others. • From the thesis and outline the opening paragraph of writing is composed and crafted and shared with the class. (Refer to essay format as well). Sample Paragraphs I Will Not Forget You “Thank You, M’am” by Langston Hughes is a powerful short story that conveys important lessons about life, especially for a young man named Roger. Roger confronts Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones on a dark city night as he tries to steal her pocketbook or purse in attempt to buy what we later learn is a pair of blue suede shoes. As the story unfolds and the characters interact, Roger learns a powerful and positive lesson in life and he evolves or changes from a young thief into a thoughtful young man. • The second paragraph is shared with the students of the class. Quotations and interpretation are role-modeled through the exemplar example. 2nd paragraph After Roger’s apprehension he is hauled up to Mrs. Jones tenement home. There is a brief interrogation about his name and motives and she proceeds to share a bit about her own past. It is during this discussion that she him invites him to sit and have something to eat. There seems to be a softening in the characters as if the act of eating food represents civility and hospitality. Roger’s character begins to transform when he sits on the bed away from the purse. Langston writes, “But the boy took care to sit on the far side of the room, way from the purse, …(112) so as if to say the young man to wanted to resist temptation and also display trust. • Discuss the paragraph with the class. Make sure that you go over the thesis and review how this second paragraph covers the quote as represented in the outline. Remind students the other examples would be used in the rest of the writing. Craft Lesson: Gathering Details for the Outline Time: 2 class periods Materials Needed: Write Source text (264-265), Holt Anthology and writing materials Steps in the Assignment: • Refer to the short story, “Thank You M’am (109-112). • Refer to pages 264-265 in the 9th grade Write Source text. • Go over the steps of gathering details as identified on page 264, for the Hughes short story. Refer to the character chart and the earlier craft lesson on theme. The sample in the text states the theme, as Forgiveness is Sweet. • Have students gather details on the theme. For example: 1. The young man picks up the pocketbook when asked. 2. The boy is taken to the apartment and invited in the woman’s home. 3. Introductions are made. • Students are asked to gather other details or pieces of information that support the theme. • Students review the short story and find short quotations that connect to the ideas that have been gathered. For example: 1. The young boy picks up the pocketbook- “Then she said, Now ain’t you ashamed of yourself.” (110) 2. The young man goes to the apartment and learns civility. “The woman said, ‘You ought to be my son. I would teach you right from wrong.’ ” (110) 3. Find other quotations that connect to the details. Craft Lesson: Theme Time: 1 class period Materials Needed: Write Source text (263) , Holt Anthology and writing materials Steps in the Assignment: • Go over theme on page 263 in the 9th grade Write Source text. • Go over the steps of discovering a theme as identified on page 266. For the Hughes short story: • Look for clues in the title, “Thank you M’am.” • Look for the author’s statement on life. Review the “Try It” prewriting tips and form your own theme A main theme in the story is __________ Craft Lesson: Thesis Time: 1 class period Materials Needed: Write Source text (594), Holt Anthology and writing materials Steps in the Assignment: • Refer to the short story, “Thank You M’am” ((109-112) that has been the focus of the pre-assessment assignment and the exemplar pieces. • Go over thesis on page 594 in the 9th grade Write Source text. • Review the thesis checklist at the bottom of page 594 • Recall events in the story and refer to the ninth grade prompt. • Compose a thesis: Thesis: Craft Lesson: The Middle Paragraph(s) Embedding the Quotations Time: 1 class period Materials Needed: Write Source text (270-271), Holt Anthology and writing materials Steps in the Assignment: Refer to the short story, “Thank You M’am” ((109-112) and the handouts on theme, thesis, and gathering details. • Review your outline and compose paragraph(s) based on the ideas that you gathered. Look over the first example of detail and quotation that we gathered on the theme that forgiveness is sweet. The young man picks up the pocketbook when asked. “Then she said, Now ain’t you ashamed of yourself.” (110). These details could be crafted into a paragraph as follows: Early in the short story we learn moral implications about the characters of Roger and Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. She requests that he pick up the pocketbook and he complies obediently. She responds to this action with moral indignation and rebuke, “Now ain’t you ashamed of yourself” (110) indicating that Roger had crossed a moral or ethical boundary and needs to reflect on his action. This is the beginning of the process of forgiveness for both the woman and Roger. • Review the next detail and quotation and compose another paragraph. Be sure to explain the detail and connect the quotation to the example. Interpret and connect the idea that forgiveness is sweet to the example. Detail: The young man goes to the apartment and learns civility. Quotation: “”The woman said, You ought to be my son. I would teach you right from wrong.” (110) Your paragraph: Ninth Grade Literary Analysis Essay Format Write about a literary term that interests or intrigues you about the story. Review your outline and text and come up with an idea or thesis. Think of the following questions or ideas when you sit down and write the essay. Compose a creative title to the writing I. Introduction Have you introduced the text and author that you are writing about? (Underline title) Have you explained the general plot of the story? What is the text or book about? What is the point or thesis of your writing? Creative Strategies: Start with a specific quote and then expand into ideas about the story II. Body or Main section of your writing Do you use examples and do you explain how they relate to your point? Do you use short quotes? Hint: Quote and enclose page number in parentheses i.e. (23) **The stronger papers will use short quotes and longer analysis to support the main idea. Hint: Use your outline and texts. This part should be the longest section of our paper. Also, it will reveal how much you invested and paid attention to the story. III. Conclusion What kinds of examples have you used? Have you made your point? Can you establish any general observations or patterns? What personal ideas or connections can you add?
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