Lesson Plan: The Essence of a Novel

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The Essence of a Novel

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Unit Objective

● Demonstrate an understanding of the plot structure
● Analyze and explain the growth of dynamic characters, providing evidence from the text
● Identify the central themes, providing evidence from the text
● Incorporate quoted material into written responses to a prompt

Background and Rationale

The lesson focuses on identifying character development and themes in any novel. The goal is to find the “essence” of the chapter and ultimately the major themes of the story. This lesson will build on the lessons taught during the course of the novel study by helping students to see the “big picture” and to recognize how the author has developed the themes throughout the narrative. Similarly, identifying how dynamic characters have grown and changed will help students understand the major themes, as these are usually connected.

Lesson Objectives


Bloom’s Verb

Analyze character development using textual support Analyzing
Synthesize information to determine the central themes in a novel while using textual support Synthesizing

Bloom’s Taxonomy


Common Core / State and District Standards


  • CCRA.R.1
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.2
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.5

Technology Integration (ISTE) Standards

  • 2.b. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats
  • 6.a. Understand and use technology systems
  • Elaborate, refine analyze and evaluate their own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts (Think Creatively)
  • Develop, implement and communicate new ideas to others effectively (Work Creatively with Others)
  • Be open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives; incorporate group input and feedback into the work (Work Creatively with Others)
  • Use various types of reasoning (inductive deductive, etc.) as appropriate to the situation (Reason Effectively)
  • Analyze how parts of a whole interact with each other to produce overall outcomes in complex systems (Use Systems Thinking)
  • Synthesize and make connections between information and arguments (Make Judgements and Decisions)
  • Reflect critically on learning experiences and processes (Make Judgements and Decisions)
  • Know when it is appropriate to listen and when to speak (Social and Cross-Cultural Skills)
  • Conduct themselves in a respectable, professional manner (Social and Cross-Cultural Skills)Evaluate information critically and competently (Access and Evaluate Information)

Lesson – Introduction

The Thinking Routine was not listed above. This lesson uses Sentence-Phrase-Word

The teacher will ask students to remember and share some of their favorite parts in the novel they have just completed. Remembering what they enjoyed about the story will increase their motivation to study it further and will jog their memory of the plot. (5 min)

Lesson Activities and Procedures

Students will make the additions to their prezi, as directed by the teacherThe teacher will instruct students to compose a paragraph on their prezi explaining how their new responses connected to or shifted from their initial responses.prezi.com

Student Procedure

Teacher Procedure


Each student will be assigned a chapter to revisit. The teacher should preselect the chapters that are the most significant in terms of advancing themes and character development, making sure that each student in the class has a chapter to focus on. (2 min) Novel
Students will reread their chapter and then choose a sentence from the chapter that is meaningful to them and helped them gain a deeper understanding of the characters. The teacher will provide a link to a GoogleForm and instruct students to record their sentence, phrase, and word in this form as well as the page number that each was found on. (20 min) Google Forms
Next the student will select a phrase that they find particularly meaningful. Finally, they will select a word that captured their attention. (The word may be from the sentence or phrase, but it does not have to be). The teacher will pass out poster board and markers to each student, instructing them to write their sentence, phrase, and word on one side. They will remind students to include the page number for each. (5 min)

 Posterboard, markers

Students will then present their selections to the class, explaining their rationale for their choices and responding to questions and ideas their peers may have. The students will present chronologically, so that the entire class participates in a review of the big ideas present in the novel. (10 min) The teacher will instruct students to compose a paragraph on their prezi explaining how their new responses connected to or shifted from their initial responses. Laptops
The class will discuss the word cloud that is generated, commenting on which words appeared most often in all of the students’ selections and analyzing how this applies to the larger themes in the work. The class will work as a group to synthesize the information in order to trace character development and identify core themes in the story. (10 min) The teacher will then copy all of the text that has been collected via the GoogleForm and paste it into a word cloud using wordle.net. The teacher will display the word cloud to the class on the SmartBoard. (2 min)  Wordle.net

Lesson – Closure

The poster boards will be hung around the classroom, and students will be asked to compose a paragraph explaining one of the novel’s major themes. They will be asked to incorporate a quotation from the text to support their ideas in their response and will be encouraged to use the quotes provided on the poster boards as a resource. They will be given the remainder of the class period to work on their paragraph, with the option to finish it for homework.







Student Work Example

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/document/d/135zKsx1cseYBAQEDZ_5TDz_PpFJdJBdYwQwA3v6k7Zg/pub” height=”500″]



Author Profile:

Raina Burditt


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