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6 Thinking Strategies Short Story Model

Students can communicate how they've applied the 6 Thinking Strategies at an 8th grade level while reading a short story

Erin Paysen

on 23 September 2013

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Transcript of 6 Thinking Strategies Short Story Model

"The Ransom of Red Chief," by O. Henry
Prezi by Mrs. Paysen, Period 1

6 Thinking Strategies
Determining Importance
When the author wrote, "The kid was in the street, throwing rocks at a kitten," I inferred right away that this was a bad little boy, because good little boys wouldn't throw rocks at kittens!
I inferred that Red Chief was annoying because he kept asking the kidnappers question after meaningless question (like, "Why are oranges round?") and wouldn't stop talking! I know that when this happens to me, I feel pretty annoyed.
When Bill mentioned some of the ordeals that the kidnappers had been through together, such as "poker games, dynamite outrages, police raids, [etc.]," I inferred that they were experienced criminals with a lot of loyalty to one another. I know that if they weren't loyal or experienced, they wouldn't have stuck by one another all these years.
Think and Search Question
Q: What were some of the things Red Chief did to Bill?
A: He played (?) that he was scalping him, put a red-hot boiled potato down his back and smashed it, and hit him in the head with a rock.
Author and Me Question:
Q: Why wouldn't the kidnappers have kept Red Chief restrained or hurt him since he was such a pest?
A: I infer that they didn't hurt Red Chief because they just aren't violent men. I think this because in the story, when Bill mentioned their previous crimes, none of them were violent crimes against others.
On My Own Question:
Q: Considering your behavior, what would your parents do if you were kidnapped and kept for ransom?
A: When I was a teen, I think my parents may have been tempted to keep their money. I was an uber-brat for sure! But in the end, they still love me and wouldn't want me hurt, so I think they would involve the police and pay whatever they could.
When Bill thought he had finally lost Red Chief as he came out of the bushes, and the author wrote, "Behind him was the kid, stepping softly like a scout, with a broad grin on his face," I could see the boy being completely amused by messing with Bill. The author's adjectives allowed me to see Red Chief's joy at the "game" he was playing!
While being kidnapped, Red Chief was described as "[putting] up a fight like a welterweight cinnamon bear." I could see the boy fighting his kidnappers like a huge bear because of the simile the author used.
When the author described Bill's screams when Red Chief was trying to scalp him, I could hear it because of the author's descriptive word choice and simile. The author wrote, "[The screams] weren't yells, or howls, or shouts, or whoops, or yawps, such as you'd expect from a manly set of vocal organs--they were simply indecent, terrifying, humiliating screams, such as women emit when they see caterpillars."
As I read this story, my thinking changed.
At first I thought the boy's father would pay the ransom right away, but then I realized he didn't mind his son being kidnapped because he was such a pest! I certainly never thought that the tables would be turned and that the kidnappers would end up paying the father to take his son back!
I also used to think that the kidnappers were good at what they did, evil and clever, but I realized through their actions that they were pretty incompetent, fairly harmless, and dumb!
In the short story “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry, two men end up paying a ransom to get rid of the child they kidnapped. At first, Sam and Bill kidnap a boy named Johnny in the hopes of making a large sum of money off his ransom. As the story progresses, Johnny drives the two men mad with his pranks and constant badgering. Johnny’s father refuses to pay the ransom, but instead offers to “take the boy off [their] hands” if Sam and Bill pay the father. In the end, Sam and Bill agree to the father’s terms in order to regain their sanity, and they run far away from town.
Text-to-text Connection:
In the story, the author wrote, "Just then we heard a kind of a war whoop, such as David might have emitted when he knocked out the champion Goliath." This was an allusion (a built-in text-to-text connection) to the biblical story of David and Goliath, and it made me think more about the story. From this connection, my comprehension improved, because I began to infer that the author wanted me to compare Red Chief to David, and the kidnappers to Goliath. I then started predicting that Red Chief was going to somehow come out the victor in this story!
Text-to-self connection:
I could connect with the kidnappers feelings about the misbehaving boy they were in charge of. Once when I was babysitting a very naughty child, who, coincidentally resembled Red Chief, I felt helpless and would do anything to make the bad behaviors stop. This helped me comprehend why Bill played games with Red Chief instead of just tying him up. I could relate!
Text-to-self connection:
When Bill commented to Sam that he wished they hadn't made the ransom more than a thousand dollars, I could connect to his feelings of desperation. It reminded me of trying to sell my condo, which I desperately wanted to do so I could buy a house I loved. At first I wanted a lot of money, but when I saw the house I wanted and realized that the condo was a burden (like Red Chief was a burden to the kidnappers) I wished I had asked for less, because I really wanted to get rid of it! This helped my comprehension because I could relate to the emotions of the character.
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