INTEGRATED UNITS #4:

"The Best Gift of My Life" (by Cynthia Rylant) - Objective: Distinguish between objective and subjective writing.


This reading selection was rather short --about one textbook-page-- but the vocabulary was almost totally unknown to any of the students in the class since it described objects found and events happening in a small town in rural America in the 1950's. I found many pictures of the objects described in the selection, of the foods, the animals, and a map of the USA was provided by the classroom teacher. One of the teachers observing the lesson demonstration had actually lived in the towns mentioned in the story and had seen many of the places mentioned in the story. This teacher explained some of them.

BEFORE the lesson, I analyzed the vocabulary for the entire selection:

PEOPLE
Cynthia Rylant (the author) / C.R.
Christy Sanders (the author's friend) / C.S.
C.S.'s dad / mother
C.R.'s mother
Tod / Tod's father / a ghost
the world
city kids
teenager
students
Symphony Orchestra conductor
maids
musicians
Elvis Presley
Paul McCartney
The Monkeeys
artists
writers
someone else
other people

GOD

PLACES
heaven
C.S.'s home
new brick house
grocery (store)
apartment
Tod's warehouse
Tod's junkyard
enclosed
outside
library
nearby city
drugstore
Beaver - small town in West Virginia
anywhere else
college
Northern cities
New Orleans
Junior High School gymnasium / gym
London
New York
Los Angeles
museum / art museum
Charleston, WV
a place of wonder
surrounded
G.C.Murphy's Department Store
The Baptist Youth Fellowship

OBJECTS
carpeting
everything matched
green-brown linoleum
cigarette burns
Sears' catalog
died / dead
look out
chain-link fence
rusting barrels
parts of bulldozers
rotten equipment
better things
magazines
comic books
drugstore paperback romances
college degrees
classical records
hard bleachers
(musical) instruments
picture
time clock

ABSTRACTIONS
idea
desire
overall desire
symptom
my sense of being somebody special
publicity
culture
music
curse
gift

FOODS
chocolate-covered marshmallow cookies
ice tea
peanuts

QUALITIES
new
matched
worked
old
big
high
unworthy
unequal
evaporated into nothing
real
sort of
elegant
marvelous
heavy
slender
serious
swept back (hair)
surrounded
notable
beautiful
worst / best

TIME
morning
week
at night
for years
they were all fresh out of London
Saturday / Sunday
my childhood

EVENTS
visit
Junior Varsity
school plays (theater)
a life

ANIMALS
one spider
tiger

COLORS
yellow
blue and gold
dark
pink
white

AMOUNTS
at least one
ounce
too
all manner
all kinds
no matter how much
no matter how many
fully
extra
beyond

EMOTIONS / FEELINGS
nerve
too scared
too worried
to be ashamed
I felt I was somebody
important
I was smart, pretty
fun
I became dull, ugly, poor
it would be all right for me
full of awe and humility
wonder
"felt something in me that wanted more than I had"

PARTS OF BODY
head
bottoms
nose
hair
forehead

IDIOMS / IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS
to give it much thought
could breeze through the world
talking like they owned it
I was not familiar
I would finish out my childhood

PARTS OF A HOUSE
kitchen
a bar
livingroom
picture window
old gas heaters
bathtub
couch
front window
drapes / curtains
backyard pool
walls
canopy bed

OCCUPATIONS
WORK
Queen of the PTA

CLOTHING
suit

MATERIAL
velvet

ACTIONS
wear / wore
smelled
shared
light
threaten
look into
blow up
check
crawled out
step on it (animal)
dropped
leave / left it there
walked around
judge
feel
move
stay
stick with me
go / went away
meet / met
grow / grown up
realize
study
learn
imagine / can not imagine
forget / forgotten
played (records)
set foot / go
sit / sat
warm
play (music)
transformed
watched
carry
greeting
to want to be
thought / think
listen
repeat
find my own ideas
I will be willing

In this lesson, AFTER the vocabulary was introduced, the students listened to a recording of the story. In the previous lesson the classroom teacher read outloud the three selected paragraphs.

BEFORE listening to the recording of the story, however, I helped the students achieve the main objective for this lesson. I explained that in all the pictures I had shown them during the two lessons thus far, they could see REAL OBJECTS in each picture, just as they had read descriptions of real objects and real happenings in the first story. When an author describes REAL OBJECTS and REAL happenings, the author is writing OBJECTIVELY. When an author describes his or her feelings, her opinions, her judgments, how he or she feels, the author is writing SUBJECTIVELY. As they read silently along with the recording, they were to remember in which parts of the reading selection the author was writing OBJECTIVELY and in which parts the author was writing SUBJECTIVELY. We would make a list words the author used when writing OBJECTIVELY or SUBJECTIVELY.

 

 

 


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