Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Conversations in Literature
Conversations in Literature — Workshop
About CONVERSATIONS IN LITERATURE

Individual Program
Descriptions

1. Responding
as Readers


2. Envisioning

3. Stepping In

4. Moving Through

5. Rethinking

6. Objectifying
the Text


7. The Stances
in Action


8. Returning to the
Classroom

Support Materials
Teacher-Talk




HomeEnvisionment BuildingHelpful Hints for Site LeadersLesson BuilderSearch this SiteSite Map
Moving Through


Introduction

Key Points

Learning Objectives

Background Reading

Homework Assignment

Extension:
Classroom Connection

Ongoing Activity
Additional Reading


Activity Sheet: "The Lottery" Discussion Guide

Directions: Use this discussion guide to facilitate thoughtful responses to the story "The Lottery." Before students read the story, utilize the "accessing the story" questions to assist students with recalling their prior knowledge. Invite multiple interpretations throughout all discussions, giving the students opportunities to explore a variety of perspectives and pose an array of questions.

Accessing the Story
This story by Shirley Jackson takes place in a small rural village. The people are gathered for the drawing of a lottery. Consider what you know about small towns. What are some characteristics of a small town or community? Have you ever been to a small town? What was it like? When you think of a lottery, what do you expect to take place? How would you define a lottery? Have you or do you know someone who has participated in a lottery? What was the outcome?

Making Meaning
Use the following questions to guide students through a post-reading literature discussion. Focus on inviting all students to participate, inviting a variety of interpretations and perspectives. Utilize student comments to probe at the meaning of the story and to move the conversation along. Encourage students' questions and celebrate them. Use students' questions to lead to others, helping students to develop their own unique visions of the text.

1. Why do you think so much time is spent describing the black box?
2. What do you think the purpose of the lottery is in the village? Why do you think people continue to participate in it?
3. Why do you think the lottery is such a long-standing tradition in the village?
4. Does this compare to anything you know in real life? Explain.
5. How do you think the village people feel about the lottery? Explain.
6. What would you have done in Tessie Hutchinson's situation? Explain.
7. How did you feel about the lottery at the end of the story? What was your reaction?
8. Do you think this sort of lottery could take place in your own community? Why or why not? Are there any events that have occurred in your community that remind you of the events in "The Lottery?"
9. How did your initial understanding of the term "lottery" compare to the lottery in the story? How did your initial understandings help or confuse your interpretation of the story?
10. Do you think this story has a message for readers? Explain your view.
11. How have other classmates' interpretations of the story impacted your own understanding of it?

Creative Response
Consider how this story would change if it was told from a different point-of-view. How would Bill Hutchinson or Tessie Hutchinson tell the story? What if the reader knew all of their thoughts? Write a news story about the event of the lottery, focusing on an interview with one of the townspeople. What would they say about the event? An alternative to this activity is to conduct a dramatic interview of some of the townspeople, as in a talk show format.

Across Texts
Consider using other texts to inform the students' understanding of this one. Students may point out texts on their own, or the teacher may point out texts students have read or ones they are going to read in the future. You might consider the following:

Novel: The Giver by Lois Lowry

Novel: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/sl.html and http://www.bartleby.com/83/

Novel: Animal Farm by George Orwell
http://www.ddc.net/ygg/etext/animal.htm

Novel: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Novel: 1984 by George Orwell
http://www.constitution.org/orwell/1984.htm

Novel: Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Short Story: "Charles" by Shirley Jackson

Short Story: "A Jury of Her Peers" by Susan Glaspell
http://www.learner.org/exhibits/literature/story/fulltext.html and http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/lit-med/lit-med-db/webdocs/webdescrips/glaspell779-des-.html

Short Story: "All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury

Short Story: "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
http://www.crosslink.net/~jbloom/harrison.html

Old Testament: Leviticus 16:22, ritual of purification
http://www.wabashcenter.wabash.edu/Internet/bible_e-texts.htm, http://digital.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=1609 , and http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/rsv.browse.html, a comprehensive listing of online biblical texts

Current events identified by students, and teacher.

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