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Teaching The Kite Runner

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Crystle Heather Brewster

on 21 March 2015

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Transcript of Teaching The Kite Runner

Engaging Students With Text: Teaching The Kite Runner
Supplemental Text #3
The film is centered around the friendship of two women from different religions. This is shown after reading the core text. The film highlights the difficulties of maintaining a friendship similar to Hasan and Amir's, but in a much more positive way. This contrast allows students to explore the possibility that that equal friendships can be had between people of different ethnicity, religion, and social class. A less complex presentation of the theme combined with the form (film), help make it more easily accessible for students.

Core Text:
The Kite Runner

Enduring Understanding:
Friendship is experienced differently by people of different ethnicities, religions, and social classes.

Essential Questions:
Can you have a truly loyal and equal friendship with someone from a different ethnicity, religion and/or social class?

In what ways does our society impede friendships between people of different ethnicities, religions, and/or social classes?

Supplemental Text #1
The Stolen Party
A short Story by Liliana Hecker
Supplemental Text #2
The Hazara of Afghanistan
CBC TV video clip
Learning Outcome

Using Talking To The Text (TTTT), students will identify literary features in the story and analyze how they are used to enhance the theme of equality between different classes.
Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.
Common Core State Standard
Focus of Learning Outcome
Addresses the academic language of the discipline.
Students will begin by following along with the text as the teacher reads aloud.

Students then critically reread the story on their own and talk to the text focusing their attention on the literary features within the text and any unfamiliar words.

In groups of three students discuss the different literary features and how they are used in the text to enhance its theme.

As a class, the students and teacher create collective lists of vocabulary words and the literary features used in the text including how they enhance the text's theme.
Literacy Strategy
Talking To The Text (TTTT)

Talking to the text is a cognitive scaffolding technique that encourages students to engage with the text.

Students are given a text and asked to pose questions, make comments or predictions, and address unfamiliar vocabulary in the margins.

Talking To The Text is a scaffolding tool that encourages multiple aspects of comprehension processes. It asks readers to make connections to prior knowledge, generate questions, visualize and create sensory mental images, make inferences, determine importance, and synthesize information, all of which are crucial features of proficient reading and support access to the text (Buehl, 2014) . This strategy promotes the autonomous development of proficient reading abilities.
The strategy is the scaffolding tool students use in this lesson to aid them in identifying the literary features and making inferences into how they enhance the theme. It also helps them identify unfamiliar words and work towards developing meaning. Additionally, the group discussion gives students the opportunity to further use the domain specific literary terms required by the standard.
This activity provides practice analyzing literary features in terms of how they enhance the theme using a shorter and simpler text. The theme also provides knowledge that will be used to answer the Essential Questions at the end of the unit.

This text shares a similar theme with
The Kite Runner
but is shorter and less cognitively demanding. Because of this, this text would be used prior to reading the core text and would serve as a scaffold to help students better access the core text.
Learning Theory

TTTT requires students to draw on their own funds of knowledge. Funds of knowledge

TTTT is a scaffolding tool that focuses students' comprehension processes and then guides their
discussion of literary features and vocabulary words found in the text.

TTTT encourages students to read critically and construct knowledge from the text. Knowledge construction is critical to constructivist theory (Ormrod, 2014).

Students further construct knowledge when they discuss their "talks" with their group (Ormrod, 2014).
By examining the students' "talks," an informal assessment can be done to determine their discipline specific knowledge of literary features as well as their ability to gather vocabulary knowledge when encountered with an unfamiliar word.
This clip frontloads important historical knowledge and understanding of the relationships between the Hazaras and Pashtuns after beginning reading the core text. Being in the form of a video it allows more access for students who might otherwise have difficulty understanding the concept in text form.
Learning Outcome
Focus of Learning Outcome
Common Core State Standards
Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
Addresses the integration of visual information.
Students will be able to understand and evaluate the conflict between the Hazara and Pashtun in Afghanistan by creating a mini-presentation that makes strategic use of digital media to enhance understanding of their answer in some way. The presentation will answer the question:
What is the significance of the distinction between Hazara and Pashtun in Afghanistan?
The teacher will elicit any background knowledge students have of Afghanistan or the people living there and scribe it onto the whiteboard.

The teacher will pose the question:
What is the significance of the distinction between Hazara and Pashtun in Afghanistan?

The students will then watch the short clip
The Hazara of Afghanistan
and take notes.

In groups of four, students will create a mini-presentation attempting to answer the question. Students must include one form of digital media that enhances their answer in some way.
Literacy Strategy
Frontloading is a strategy that involves creating activities that either elicit students' background knowledge or provides them with knowledge necessary to understand a difficult concept. It "prepares students to handle complex disciplinary texts" (Buehl, 2014, p. 17). In this instance, a video is used to provide information about the conflict between the Hazara and Pushtan in Afghanistan.
Understanding historical information regarding the conflict between Hazara and Pashtun in Afghanistan is critical to understanding the novel and answering the essential questions for the unit. Frontloading builds background knowledge for students who do not have it. That background knowledge helps students connect and construct new knowledge (Buehl, 2014).
Learning Theory
One assumption of constructivism is that students bring prior knowledge with them to the classroom and use it to construct new knowledge in idiosyncratic ways (Anthony, 1996, p. 349). This prior knowledge allows for elaboration on information they already have, thereby storing more information than they might have otherwise (Ormrod, 2014, p.170). Frontloading provides students with the background knowledge they need to construct new meaning.
The mini-presentation serves as a somewhat formal formative assessment. Through the presentation the teacher can determine how successful the frontlading was and whether or not more fronloading is necessary. This kind of ongoing assessment is critical to differentiation.
Learning Outcomes
Focus of Learning Outcome
Common Core State Standards
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Addresses argument in English Language Arts.

LO: Using examples from the film and core text as evidence, students will be able to create an original argument answering the essential questions for this unit:
1. Can you have a truly loyal and equal friendship with someone from a different ethnicity, religion and/or social class?
2. In what ways does our society impede friendships between people of different ethnicities, religions, and/or social classes?

by Kahled Hosseini
After watching Arranged, in groups of four students will each create a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting elements of friendship in the film and the core text.

Students will then move to another group as in a jigsaw activity and share their group's Venn Diagram collecting any new information in the process. Then students will return to their original group once more for a final debriefing.

Students will use their Venn Diagrams and any other work from the unit to write a persuasive essay answering the essential questions for this unit.
Crystle Brewster
University of Southern California
EDUC 505
Dr. Esther Jang-Tamanaha

Literacy Strategy
Venn Diagram
A Venn Diagram is a graphic organizer that helps students visually compare and contrast information and/or relationships. Two circles are drawn to overlap slightly. In the circles, students write characteristics of each complex concept, and characteristics that are shared between the two complex texts are written where the circles overlap. In the case of this activity, the Venn Diagram would be used to compare friendship in
The Kite Runner
Venn Diagrams are a scaffolding tool that helps students visually understand complex ideas and promote critical constructive thinking. Using a Venn Diagram for comparing and contrasting the theme of friendship in the film and core text will allow students who might otherwise struggle to understand the complexities of the two "texts." The diagram will assist students in developing their reasoning behind their argument in the essay.
The jigsaw activity furthers learners understanding by promoting active knowledge construction with peers.

Learning Theory
Supporting students in their Zone of Proximal Development with scaffolding tools is one of the important concepts of Sociocultural Theory (Ormrod, 2014). The Venn Diagram acts as a scaffolding tool that learners use to promote deeper understanding of the complex texts.
In Constructivist theory learners actively construct their own knowledge and understanding from their experiences and beliefs (Ormrod, 2014, p. 27). Specifically, group work promotes problem solving and knowledge construction through peers. Working on Venn Diagrams in groups combined with the jigsaw activity is a great strategy to help students actively construct knowledge.
Creating the persuasive essay that answers the essential questions in the unit challenges students to synthesize the knowledge learned during the unit. This final summative assessment allows the teacher to determine how well the students have understood the material presented over the unit as well as how developed the learners argument writing skills are.
Anthony, G. (1996). Active learning in a constructivist framework. Educational Studies in
Mathematics, 31, 349-369.

Buel, D. (2009). Classroom strategies for interactive learning (4th. ed.). International
Reading Association.

Common Core State Standards Initiative
(2015). Retrieved from

Ormrod, J.E. (2008). Educational psychology: Developing learners (8th ed.). Boston, NY:
Pearson Education, Inc.
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