Lesson Plan: Envisionment-Building in the Literature Classroom
lesson plan is also available as a PDF
file. See Materials Needed, below, for links to student
activity sheets related to the lesson.
Levels: Sixth through eighth
Reading and appreciating literature
books for students; either a class set or selected titles
from which students can choose
note pads for each student
notebooks or other areas for written responses
Read, Notice, and Wonder:
A Guide to Literary Response (generic directions for
encouraging student responses to literary texts)
materials as appropriate for specific titles (i.e. handouts
for specific extension activities, copies of topically related
poems or other short works, art materials, etc.)
is a generic envisionment-building lesson that can be adapted
to and used with any literary text. Its design reflects the
key tenets of envisionment-building: 1) students are life-long
envisionment builders whose ideas are at the center of the
classroom; 2) questions are essential to envisionment-building;
3) students come to class after reading equipped with understandings
about the literature. It is assumed that they will develop
those understandings during class discussions; and 4) multiple
interpretations of literary texts are to be expected and are
helpful, both to the individual and to the class as a whole.
and enjoy literature.
writer's notebooks (or other forms of personal writing)
to record their responses to their reading.
sticky notes (or mark the text, if allowed) to indicate
passages of interest, or areas about which they have questions.
in thoughtful discussions of the literature (in small groups
and as an entire class) where they listen to and interact
with one another about the interpretations they are developing.
fuller understandings of the literature through reflective
writing, discussion, and other support activities.
language to develop as a classroom community of thinkers
and learners, respectful of views other than their own.
issues raised by the literature with their own lives.
original products that demonstrate their understandings
of the literature.
Products From Lesson:
written responses in writer's notebooks; the Teacher Tool,
Using Personal Writing
To Extend Literary Envisionments offers useful strategies
use of sticky notes for comments, questions, and identification
of specific passages
extension and support activities as appropriate (see other
programs for specific suggestions)
final product designed to help the students and the teacher
evaluate the students' understandings of the literature
and small group discussions
as a tool for making meaning
facilitation, guidance, and feedback
of drama and/or artistic activities to develop and broaden
Structure of Class:
Envisionment-building classes work well when the physical
space is flexible and furniture can be rearranged to accommodate
changing activities. Teachers directing whole class discussion
might favor circular arrangements so students can talk with
one another easily. Desk clusters of four or five serve small
group discussions well. Linear rows of desks create an environment
where easy conversation among peers is more difficult and
where, as a result, a teacher has to overcome physical restrictions
to keep student questions and ideas at the center of the literary
independently and in groups
to oral reading
responses to, and/or questions about the literature
discussion of the literature and the human issues it presents
dramatic, poetic, and/or artistic presentation of ideas
development within the context of developing literary understandings
Activities or Culminating Activities:
Teachers typically wish to give students some sort of closure
after extended engagement with a literary text. In addition,
they may need a tool for formal evaluation at this time. Final
projects, written formal papers, and oral reports are all
possible means of addressing these needs. See the support
materials for the various programs in this series to observe
the choices these teachers made for their students.
Students may be assessed on a daily basis through:
and participation, and
following activities might receive holistic or scaled evaluation
(see Assessment and Evaluation:
Some Useful Principles for a detailed explanation of holistic
and scaled evaluation).
to specific passages
and quantity of writer's notebook entries
poetic, or dramatic representations of passage or scene
paper in response to a literary work