Melissa Bruns Professor Heather Schilling



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Melissa Bruns

Professor Heather Schilling

Adolescent and Exceptional Learners

23 October 2005


Becoming Myself Unit

Lesson # 3: Autobiographies and Malcolm X


Standards:

      1. Evaluate interactions between characters in a literary text and explain the way those interactions affect the plot.

      2. Analyze characters’ traits by what the characters say about themselves in narration, dialogue, and soliloquy (when they speak out loud to themselves).

      1. Interpret and evaluate the impact of ambiguities, subtleties, contradictions, ironies, and inconsistencies in a text.

      1. Analyze the way in which a work of literature is related to the themes and issues of its historical period.

Objectives:



  1. The students will describe the parts of an autobiography correctly two times of three when asked.

  2. The students will tell how a story incorporates the elements of an autobiography when asked in discussion.

  3. The students will work in cooperative groups to complete a worksheet of critical thought questions.

Advanced Preparation by Teacher:



  • The teacher must have a list of critical thought questions for each group to answer made up and printed off. There must be enough for each student to have their own and an extra for each group recorder to write on.

  • A list of student groups must be ready to assure good work ethic and ability levels in each group.

  • Must have a list of roles for students in each group to take part in and be able to explain what each role is responsible for completing.

  • Needs to have homework assignment sheet made up and printed off before class begins. One for each student is necessary.

  • Must have a brief background on the author of the story to place it within its historical context. Can be found within textbook.

  • Have an example list of ways in which people express themselves through fashion ready for previewing story.

  • Have a copy of notes ready for class discussion and lecture about what an autobiography is.

Procedure:

Introduction/Motivation:

Start the class by brainstorming ways in which people express themselves through fashion, and what fashions are popular in current culture (Gardner’s Verbal-Linguistic & Spatial, Bloom’s Knowledge). Ask students if any of the vocabulary words from the previous day could be used when describing people (Bloom’s Knowledge). Ask students what they know about the life of Malcolm X and give a brief background that places him within the stories frame. Preview the story Hair from The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Be sure to point out the vocabulary words, pictures, and captions found in the book while previewing the story.
Step-by-Step Plan:

Read the Hair from The Autobiography of Malcolm X aloud to the class (Gardner’s Linguistic-Verbal). Have students follow along in their book. When the reading is complete, discuss ways in which the story relates is an autobiography of Malcolm X’s life. Talk about how he is telling a brief anecdote about his hair to describe how he became the man he ended up being.

Give notes on the board about what an autobiography is (Gardner’s Verbal-Linguistic). Have students take down the notes in their notebooks for reference later. Ask students questions about the notes as you put them up so that they are involved. Many students will be able to tell you what comes next in the notes with little or no prompting(Gardner’s Math-Logic, Bloom’s Knowledge & Comprehension).

After note taking is complete, split students up into prior made groups. The groups will be working on a thought question worksheet for the story. Tell class that each group member has a responsibility and they need to decide among themselves who is the recorder, reporter, and questioner. The recorder writes down the information they will discuss in their groups, the reporter will tell the class the findings that the group agrees upon, and the questioner will help to keep the group on task my asking the reading the worksheet questions aloud and referring back to them as the discussion continues on each question. Each person within the group is responsible for helping to come up with the answers and must contribute to the group (Gardner’s Verbal-Linguistics & Interpersonal).

After the group tasks have been assigned, hand out the Thought Questions guide to the reading. Students will be discussing the questions(Bloom’s Comprehension) in their groups to come up with the answers (Bloom’s Application & Analysis). Circulate around the room answering questions and giving ideas that further stretch the mind.
Closure:

Have the students turn in what is done of their Thought Question guide (Bloom’s Synthesis & Evaluation); they will be finishing them tomorrow in class. Ask students if they have any questions over the Thought Questions before they leave for the day. Review briefly how the Hair is an anecdote. Tell students that they are to complete a brief biography (Gardner’s Verbal-Linguistic) and timeline (Gardner’s Math-Logic) of Malcolm X’s life by the end of the week. Hand out an instruction sheet for the assignment and tell student's that if they have any questions they may bring them to you in class the next day. Also tell students that they need to start thinking about an important moment in their life, they will be starting to write their own autobiographies in class the next day (Gardner’s Intrapersonal).

Adaptations/Enrichments:

This lesson uses cooperative learning groups to help students with ADD/ADHD. Students who struggle with ADD/ADHD work well in cooperative groups that have good role models in them. The cooperative groups are pre-arranged by the teacher so that the ADD/ADHD student will not feel they are being pointed out to the class when the teacher says who they must work with. Cooperative groups give ADD/ADHD students a chance to excel because they have a task to complete but help focusing and working as a pace that is close to the rate of the rest of the class. Cooperative groups also help the ADD/ADHD student by allowing them to ask questions as they come up in the assignment and not get as frustrated while they work because they always have help close at hand.

In general, this lesson has adaptations for students to all have their own worksheets for each exercise, and the assignment is printed out and handed to them so they will not get confused on directions and can move at their own pace. The story was read aloud to aid students who do not read well. They also worked in groups to enhance the critical thinking process and work on social skills. Jobs were given to each person in the group to require participation.
Self-Reflection:

Thought Questions

Hair” from “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”


Directions: Each person in the group has a role: recorder, reporter, and questioner. Write your names and role at the top of the paper. Discuss each question as a group and write a brief response. Responses should be well thought out and written in complete sentences. There should also be references to the text in your answers. Answers may be written on a separate sheet of paper and stapled to the back of this sheet.


  1. Why did Malcolm X suffer through the pain of the congole? Did the pain justify the outcome?



  1. What did the conk stand for at that point in Malcolm X’s life? How did he feel when the first conk was complete? What was his attitude? Why did he feel this way?



  1. What role did Shorty play in influencing Malcolm X? How did his attitude affect the decisions Malcolm X made? Why?



  1. How does Malcolm X look back upon his youth and reflect? Why do you think he feels the way he does?



  1. Why is this story important in our unit, Becoming Myself? In what ways can you relate to Malcolm X? In what ways is he similar and different to the society we live in today?

Hair” from “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” Assignment
You will be responsible for a brief biography and timeline of Malcolm X’s life. This is to set the story in its historical place and to help you understand what influenced the author’s choices in life. This assignment will be due at the end of the week and class time will be appropriated for work time and questions. However, do not depend on this work time as it is mostly an out of class assignment!!! Good luck!
Biography

  • 3-5 paragraphs in length

  • Well written in complete sentences

  • Contains three points of importance in his life

  • Minimum of 3 sources

  • Must have a bibliography page

Timeline



Thought Questions Answer Key

Hair” from “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”


Directions: Each person in the group has a role: recorder, reporter, and questioner. Write your names and role at the top of the paper. Discuss each question as a group and write a brief response. Responses should be well thought out and written in complete sentences. There should also be references to the text in your answers. Answers may be written on a separate sheet of paper and stapled to the back of this sheet.


  1. Why did Malcolm X suffer through the pain of the congole? Did the pain justify the outcome?

    • He thought the conk would make him “cool” at that point in his life. He was willing to put himself through pain to become what he though society wanted him to be. He wanted to fit into what society had defined as the correct way to look, the same way in which people today try to look like models and are willing to suffer eating disorders to be thin.

    • In the end Malcolm X did not think that the pain justified the changes he made to himself at that point in his life. However, at the time the first conk was completed, he believed that the pain was just a way of life. The pain was what he was willing to suffer through for what he wanted.

  2. What did the conk stand for at that point in Malcolm X’s life? How did he feel when the first conk was complete? What was his attitude? Why did he feel this way?

  • The first conk stood for the first time that Malcolm X looked “white” in his life. It was the first time he had given in to society’s standards.

  • Malcolm X was elated when his first conk was complete. He was extremely excited and happy to finally fit in to the white mans world of straight hair.

  1. What role did Shorty play in influencing Malcolm X? How did his attitude affect the decisions Malcolm X made? Why?

  • Shorty completed the first conk for Malcolm X. He served as an influence by supporting society’s claims that straight hair made you “prettier” and “better” than people with curly hair.

  • Shorty’s attitude that conks were the way to go helped justify the pain that Malcolm X was willing to go through to straighten his hair. Being surrounded by people that he looked up to Malcolm saw no reason to disagree with what society was telling him. He had not yet found a mind of is own.

  1. How does Malcolm X look back upon his youth and reflect? Why do you think he feels the way he does?

  • Malcolm X looked back at his youth and reflected upon it with disgust. He could not believe that he did not have enough of his own mind to stand up and say that the pain was not worth the outcome.

  • “I had joined the multitude of Negro men and women in America who are brainwashed into believing that the black people are ‘inferior’—and white people are ‘superior’—that they will even violate and mutilate their God-created bodies to try to look ‘pretty’ by white standards” ( Elements of Literature 347).

  • Opinion answer…must have statement of own thoughts.

  1. Why is this story important in our unit, Becoming Myself? In what ways can you relate to Malcolm X? In what ways is he similar and different to the society we live in today?

  • Opinion answer…must have statement of own thoughts.


Autobiography Notes


  • What is an autobiography?

    • The story of a writer’s own life.

  • What elements of literature does an autobiography use frequently?

    • Anecdotes

      • Brief story that often makes a specific point.

    • Tone

      • Writer’s attitude towards the audience, the subject or character.

        • Is the author sympathetic, angry, loud, tired, sad, happy, etc. towards the even occurring.

    • Point of View

      • Remember that it is the author writing this so it is what they are thinking and feeling.

      • These are not necessarily always correct in facts and figures is the author has not done their research, it is what the author remembers as they are writing

  • What is the difference between an autobiography and a biography?

    • Autobiography story of writer’s own life, biography is the story of someone’s life written by someone else.


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