Charles: Focusing on Literacy Skills [Comparing]

Having made INTERTEXTUAL CONNECTION between this story and other texts, you are fully prepared to make INTRATEXTUAL connections by COMPARING things within the text itself.

Charles: A Focus on Literacy Skills

Charles is a short story written by Shirley Jackson in 1948.  A full copy of the text can be READ HERE.  This SERIES will focus on all TEN KEY LITERACY SKILLS.  The lessons are arranged in SEQUENTIAL ORDER which builds a strong foundation before moving on to the next skill.

This series is an excellent way to BEGIN your class’s semester, ensuring everyone has a strong understanding of BASIC LITERACY SKILLS before you gradually release responsibility, asking them to put those skills into practice.

Explore other SHORT STORY LITERACY SKILLS ASSIGNMENTS for more ways to instruct your students.

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Comparing

When you compare LIKE or UNLIKE things you are identifying details in each of them.  Those details offer the reader a better understanding of the compared things.  By knowing both what it is like, and what it is not like, the reader is better able to focus and direct their thoughts.

The First Step is Deciding What to Compare

Before you can compare two things, you need to decide what you’re going to compare.  There are a number of things to choose from, and they may include – but are not limited to:

  • Characters
  • Settings
  • Actions
  • Choices
  • Appearances

When looking at Charles the first thing one should compare are the characters LAURIE and CHARLES.  By creating a GRAPHIC ORGANIZER like the one below, you can record your notes, and prepare to make informed, detailed, comparisons.

What I’m Comparing:  Two Characters

Charles

Laurie

DETAILS

EVIDENCE DETAILS EVIDENCE
Charles comes across as a tough guy who is willing to use violence He hit a boy in the stomach (59) Laurie likes be come across as a tough guy who is willing to use violence Looked ready to fight at school (3)
Charles is a rambunctious child with little regard for other peoples’ property He threw chalk (74) Laurie is a rambunctious child with little regard for other peoples’ property He knocked over his sisters milk (6)
Charles has had trouble at school He had to stay after school (40) Laurie has had trouble at school The teacher mentions this (88)
Laurie’s parents consider him to be a negative influence on their son

 

They assume Charles is a bad influence (89) Laurie’s parents consider him to be well behaved when given free reign

 

They assume Charles is a bad influence (89)

IMPORTANCE OF COMPARISON

The importance of this connection is that it shows the disconnect between what Laurie’s parents think of him, and how he actually behaves.  While Laurie’s parents consider him to be a well behaved boy who “fits in quickly” (89) the way he treats his sister, and yells at his family is evidence of his true personality.  Though both students have had “trouble getting used to school” (88), Laurie’s parents continue to assume that anything negative about Laurie must be caused by the influence of Charles.  This demonstrates that parents always think the best of their own child, regardless of evidence to the contrary.  This is problematic as it leads the parents to make excuses rather than addressing and working to change the negative behaviour that hurts others.

 

 

 

Making Your Own Comparison

Think about TWO THINGS you would like to compare from the short story.  Use the GRAPHIC ORGANIZER below to collect your thoughts, and pieces of evidence.  Once you have completed those two columns for EACH of the two items you are comparing, use the IMPORTANCE OF COMPARISON section to explain:

  • How the comparison led you to a stronger understanding about one of the following:
    • The text itself
    • The world around us
    • Something in your life
    • Another text you’ve read
    • A decision you have / will make

What I’m Comparing:

DETAILS

 

 

 

EVIDENCE

 

 

 

DETAILS

 

 

 

EVIDENCE

 

 

 

IMPORTANCE OF COMPARISON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What’s Next

Having COMPARED a number of things within the short story, it’s time to focus on considering what might be to come.  PREDICTING is used when one is making an INFERENCE about things to come in the future.


 

Resources

Charles – WhatBinderDotCom Literacy Skills – Comparing.PDF

 

 

 

 

Charles: Literacy Skills Series

CHARLES: ANNOTATING

CHARLES: DETERMINING IMPORTANCE

CHARLES: SUMMARIZING

CHARLES: VISUALIZING

CHARLES: INFERRING

CHARLES: QUESTIONING

CHARLES: CONNECTING

CHARLES: COMPARING

CHARLES: PREDICTING

CHARLES: SYNTHESIZING

Gender Lesson: The Gender R.A.F.T. Assignment

Advertisers constantly push messages at our students.  Our students need to learn how to push back at the advertisers.  Having already presented on the importance of creating better advertisements, this lesson will encourage them to take on a Role, select an Audience, choose a Format, and finally select a Topic as they write a piece aimed at raising awareness of problematic gendered messaging in the media.

This lesson is part of a large mini-unit on Teaching Gender Representation in the Media.  It can be used as a stand-alone piece or part of a larger conversation.

 

The Importance of R.A.F.T. Assignments

Differentiated assignments allow students to fully engage with an assignment, as they have agency over the piece that they are creating.  By using RAFT assignments in your classroom, you ensure that whatever interest your student has in a topic, they can tailor their response appropriately.

I find it best to give four options for each of the four parts of the RAFT.  This allows for over 256 unique arrangements for the assignment.  Offering limited choice often helps focus students that would perseverate over an embarrassment of options; however, if you’re feeling up to it, you are free to add an option for students to write in an appropriate Role, Audience, Format, and Topic of their choosing.

Minds On

As your students come into the classroom, you should have the following image displayed on the board.

Summer Man and Dog - Pixabay

Students should be asked to discuss the image from a variety of perspectives.  What is the dog thinking?  why is the woman smiling?  What’s in the man’s cup?

Once they’ve had a brief introduction to the image, students should be given a copy of the RAFT Minds On Assignment.  By completing this piece, they will have a foundation upon which you can build the main focus of your lesson.

 

Focus

Once students have been granted a foundational understanding of R.A.F.T. assignments, through the Minds On the portion of this lesson, they should select from one of the two assignments:

Once again, ensure that students understand that they need to tailor their piece to all four parts of the R.A.F.T.

Role

This is the perspective from which the student will be writing their piece.  For example, they may be a specific individual with an established job, or a certain gender, or age.  As the teacher, you are free to set whatever roles you think best suit the assignment.

Audience

Students will be writing their piece to a specific individual.  This will determine the language they use.  A blog post on the internet would look very different than a formal letter to a politician.  A note to self might include different information than a letter to a best friend.  Ensure that students have a strong grasp on who they are writing to before they begin.

Format

This is the type of written piece the students are creating.  It could be a formal essay or a business proposal.  It could be a piece of short fiction, or a poem, or a diary entry.  You could have students writing a memoir, or an instructional guide.  The type of piece they select will direct the shape of their final piece.

Topic

The final part of a raft is the topic.  While all topics will fall under a general thematic umbrella, you can offer a variety of lenses through which to view and explore the main concept you want students to address.

Once students have a strong understanding of their RAFT choices, let them know that they must write a multi-paragraphed P.E.E. Formated response.  They should then be left to complete the writing task for the remainder of the period.

 

Consolidation

Using the bottom of the assignment sheet as an exit slip, you can ask students to students write in what Role, Audience, Format, or Topic they wished were on the assignment.  This will help you understand student interest and debrief the lesson through a focused student discussion over the following few days.

 

 

Next Steps

When we addressed the Media Triangle we took a look at how we could impact future messaging, and in this assignment, we wrote some targeted pieces.  In our next, and final gender lesson, students will have agency to affect the future of gendered messaging by writing and sending letters to people in charge of the decision making process.

 

Downloads

RAFT Assignment – Minds On.pdf
Lego vs. Goldieblox Comparison RAFT Assignment.pdf
Effects of Gender Messaging in Advertising RAFT Assignment.pdf

 


PART 1: Gender Representation in the Media

PART 2: Lesson – The Toy Box

PART 3: Lesson – The Gender Box

PART 4: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 1

PART 5: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 2

PART 6: Lesson – Annotating Texts

PART 7: Lesson – Gender R.A.F.T.

PART 8: Lesson – Reshaping Roles

PART 9: Final Thoughts

PART 10: Gender Representation – Resources

Gender Lesson: Using the Media Triangle to Annotate Advertisements

It’s important that students know how to identify and name problematic messaging in the media they consume.  From Facebook to Twitter to Television and Websites, our students view hundreds of advertisements a day.  Having already seen how problematic messaging exists in the media we consume, in our past lesson, this lesson will arm our students to identify the true meaning and message of the piece by viewing it through all three sides of the media triangle.

Students will need to already have a foundation using The Media Triangle.  You are encouraged to use the Introduction to the Media Triangle assignment to familiarize them with the basic concepts.

This lesson is part of a large mini-unit on Teaching Gender Representation in the Media.  It can be used as a stand-alone piece or part of a larger conversation.

 

Minds On

As students enter the classroom, one of these images should be displayed at the front of the room.  Teachers can either use an overhead projector, or they can use a photocopier to enlarge the image, and tape it to the board.

 

On their desks, students should each have a smaller copy of the advertisement, as well as three different coloured sticky notes.

Students should be told that each sticky note colour relates to a different side of the Media Triangle.  For example:

  • Green – Text
  • Red – Audience
  • Blue – Creation

Once the entire class has a uniform understanding of which colours will be used for which aspects they are free to annotate the image.  To do so, students will look at their copy of the Media Triangle, and choose one question from each of the three sides.

They will write their response on the appropriate coloured sticky note, and then place it on their advertisement near the evidence for their response.

For example, if students answer “Who profits from this text?” they would take a blue sticky note and write Pepsi profits from this text, as it’s selling their product.  They would then place that sticky note beside the can of Pepsi.

If students were answering “What stereotypes are present in this text?” then they would take a green sticky note and write This text shows that women must wear make up and lipstick.  This sticky would then be placed near the dark red lips on their advertisement.

Once students have annotated the text in front of them, you can move on to the main focus of the lesson.

 

Focus

Having been given time to consider aspects of the Media Triangle at their own desk, students should now be ready to form into small groups.  I recommend groups between four and six students in size.

Debriefing the Minds On Activity

The first part of the class will debrief the annotated advertisement, to ensure all students have a full understanding of how to use the media triangle to annotate their texts.  This will be important, as there will be a release of responsibility that requires them to complete this task on their own for the second part of this lesson.

Small Group Discussions

Students should consolidate their sticky notes onto one of the sheets, still being sure to place them near the appropriate evidence on the advertisement.

While students discuss the questions they answered, and the evidence that supports their response, teachers can circulate the ensure that students have a full understanding of the material.

Sharing with the Class

Next, one student per group should bring their group’s sticky notes to the front of the classroom, and stick them to the large version of the advertisement at the front of the room.

Once all sticky notes have annotated the large advertisement, the teacher can highlight a number of key points, demonstrating all three sides of the media triangle.

Leave the class-annotated text on the board for students to reference in the second half of this lesson.

Fixing Contemporary Advertising

In the second half of this lesson, students will form small groups of one to three and be assigned the Fixing Contemporary Advertising Assignment.  They will then need to select a Contemporary Advertisement to work with.  They are free to select their own, or you may want to have them select from those attached below.

 

The assignment is broken into five main parts:

  • Annotating the group’s advertisement
  • Summarizing a related article
  • Creating an engaging advertisement
  • Making a class handout / brochure
  • Presenting the information

Annotating the Group’s Advertisement

Similar to the Minds On activity at the start of this class, groups will annotate their advertisements by using the media triangle, focusing on all questions for all three sides.

While students can annotate their advertisement using sticky notes, I recommend that they use the digital tool ThingLink which is free for digital image annotations.  If you’d like to know more about using this tool for this assignment please view the ThingLink Tutorial: How to annotate Texts using the Media Triangle.

Summarizing a Related Article.

Each group must also find an article that explores the problematic nature of contemporary advertisements.  The article must specifically link advertisements to a problem in our society.  It must relate to the same problem the students are attempting to fix with their piece.

A great starting place to find specific articles can be discovered using this Google Scholar Keyword Search.  By using Google Scholar, students will also ensure that the texts they find are suitable for classroom use.

Creating an Engaging Advertisement

Having identified the problems with the existing advertisement, and the negative impact such messaging can have, students will be responsible for making a high quality piece that works towards solving the problems from the initial advertisement.

Making a Class Handout / Brochure

Dividing their information under appropriate headings and titles, students will create a handout or brochure that includes the information they gathered throughout the assignment.

The handout will feature the students’ written pieces as well as the created advertisement along side the original advertisement.  the piece must be engaging for the reader.  A folded booklet, or brochure is encouraged.

Presenting the Information

The oral marks for each group member will be based on their individual contribution to the overall presentation.  Due to this, each member must participate in an equal share of the presentation as they communicate their ideas to the class.

 

Consolidation

As they leave the classroom, students should tell you who (if anyone) they will be working with, and they should show you the advertisement they will be working with.

This will set the groundwork to ensure they are prepared to work on their assignment during future classes.

 

Next Steps

Using The Media Triangle and creating a multi-faceted presentation, students will have demonstrated their knowledge, while discovering research articles that illustrate the dangers of media messaging.

They will now be prepared to move on to The Gender R.A.F.T. which will be a final written consolidation of their information.

Downloads

Fixing Contemporary Advertising.PDF

 


PART 1: Gender Representation in the Media

PART 2: Lesson – The Toy Box

PART 3: Lesson – The Gender Box

PART 4: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 1

PART 5: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 2

PART 6: Lesson – Annotating Texts

PART 7: Lesson – Gender R.A.F.T.

PART 8: Lesson – Reshaping Roles

PART 9: Final Thoughts

PART 10: Gender Representation – Resources

Gender Lesson: The Past is Present – Part 2

Advertisements often have problematic gender messaging; however, advertisements can also be used to combat negative messaging, drawing attention to problematic norms.

Building on the negative messaging from The Past is Present – Part 1 students should have a strong notion of the problematic messages that are inherenant in media pieces, and gendered advertisements.  This lesson will focus on how things have, and can continue to be, improved.

This lesson is part of a large mini-unit on Teaching Gender Representation in the Media.  It can be used as a stand alone piece, or part of a larger conversation.

Minds On

The minds on for this project will take a look at the Demand Better Media in 2015 video by The Representation Project.  This video demonstrates how things improved in the media during the year 2014, but also how it failed to change fast enough.

After watching this video, students will record their thoughts about how “Some things are improving…” / “But others things didn’t change fast enough…”  Students can use their own paper, or you are use the Representation in Media Handout.

The Representation Project

After watching the above video, students should be able to reflect on the current state of gendered messaging in the media.  On a sheet of paper, they should Think-Pair-Share about some of the positive changes they’ve seen over the past year, as well as some of the more problematic things that still need to change.

Just like the above video, students can discuss:

  • Television shows
  • Advertisements
  • Video Games
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Sports
  • News Events
  • Politics

Once this discussion has ended, students should see that there is hope for positive change, although it is happening slower than many of us would want.  The focus of this lesson will be on how the media can help create change for the better.

Focus

Just like the previous lesson, this will be very teacher driven.  You will guide students through a number of videos, leading them to come to their own conclusions.  The first step in this lesson will be to revisit Goldieblox.

Goldieblox: From Then to Now

This will take students on a journey from the Goldieblox Kickstarter launch in 2012 all the way to 2018.

Kickstarter Launch

Having discussed gender normative toys in the Gender Lesson: The Toy Box students should now be ready to Compare those pieces to Goldieblox.  After watching the above video, allow students a moment to discuss how Goldieblox is both similar, and different from other – more traditional – toys.

Next, have them discuss why this toy is important, and the positive impact it can have.

Three Years Later

Lead into this video by asking students if they think the toy succeeded, or not.  Despite its success, the toy is still relatively unknown outside of those with young children.  As such, students are probably unaware of the answer, and will be able to have rich discussion about this.

After viewing the video, the success of the product is obvious.  Students should think about how toys can have a large impact on those that play with them, as well as the parents that purchase them.

Optional Activity: Four Corner Toys

Assign students into four groups:

  • Barbie Dolls
  • Goldieblox
  • Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Lego

Students should separate into four different corners of your room.  Once there, they should talk to each other about the toys.  Their discussion should be focused around these three guiding questions:

  1. What makes this toy fun to play with?
  2. What are five different ways children could play with this toy?
  3. What positive impacts can playing with this toy as a child have on the individual when they become an adults?

For the third question, students should consider life skills, possible careers, personal development, or – if you’re feeling up to it – have them consider how these toys can connect to the Global Competencies.

After debriefing this, you are free to move on to the modern incarnation of Goldieblox.

Robot Runway

Goldieblox has expanded beyond being a simple toy.  Their YouTube Channel has more than 200 000 subscribers, and has programming aimed towards girls, with a focus on construction and creativity.

Where toys like Lego once provided an outlet to build, and create, Goldieblox has taken up the mantle, by becoming more than a simple toy.  Their how-to videos, and creative content provides a space that turns girls from consumers into creators.

In the next part of this lesson, students will look at how Lego – once the king in the creator space – has been failing girls since the launch of their Lego Friends line.

Lego Friends

In 2012 (the same year Goldieblox was created) Lego introduced a new line, specifically for girls.  This meant more Pink and Purple, which fed into a number of Gender Normative tropes.

Saving the Dolphins

Students should consider both the positive and negative messaging in this short Lego Friends clip to introduce them to the line, before they watch a longer breakdown of the toy by Feminist Frequency host Antia Sarkeesian.

Lego and Gender

A number of students may groan at the mention on Antia Sarkeesian.  You can remind them that she was addressed in the first video you watched, about how some things aren’t changing fast enough.  She has been a target of online hate since she began her feminist YouTube series.

Students may point out one or two reasons why they disagree with her.  You should honour their disagreement, but instruct them to criticize the idea, not the person.  You should also point out that disagreeing with one or two points does not invalidate all of her points.

Having watched the Lego Friends video, students should be able to see how toys can have both a positive and negative impact on young children.  They should also now realize that even when toy companies try to make change for the better, they can often end up creating a more problematic landscape that children need to navigate.

At this point you can choose to conclude the lesson, or assign students the: Lego vs. Goldieblox Comparison RAFT Assignment which will be the focus of a future lesson.

Consolidation

Now it’s time to see if other companies are looking to make positive change through their products, and advertisements.  The answer is a resounding YES!  A number of companies are using Feminism in their marketing.

Students will look at two strong examples of this, before discussing why they feel companies are moving along these lines.  While the answers is almost definitely, “because it makes them more money.” the fact that Feminism, and creating a positive space for women, is now profitable is a worthwhile thing to consider.

Always #LikeAGirl

Pantene – Labels Against Women

Exit Slip

Finally, students should look back on the representation of women from 2014 in the first video, and consider how things have changed from then until now.  They should then be asked to consider what they think the media-landscape, in regards to gender normativity, will look like five years from now.  They can write their assumptions about positive changes, and things that they feel won’t change fast enough on the back of their minds on notes.

Students should hand this in before they leave.  You can use these comments as a way to host a discussion at the start of your next class.

Next Steps

Now that we have explored media representation, giving students a strong foundation to do their own research and explore the world around them, you can move on to the lesson where they will analyze a variety of advertisements.

If you have not already done so, students should be introduced to The Media Triangle which is the lens through which they will analyze works of media, moving forward.

Downloads

Representation in Media Handout.pdf

Goldieblox vs. Lego – Comparison Assignment.pdf

 


PART 1: Gender Representation in the Media

PART 2: Lesson – The Toy Box

PART 3: Lesson – The Gender Box

PART 4: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 1

PART 5: Lesson – The Past is Present – Part 2

PART 6: Lesson – Annotating Texts

PART 7: Lesson – Gender R.A.F.T.

PART 8: Lesson – Reshaping Roles

PART 9: Final Thoughts

PART 10: Gender Representation – Resources