Author:
Kristin Robinson, Lynn McCormack
Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson, Lesson Plan
Level:
Middle School
Tags:
CAST, Clusive, Lesson Plan, Lesson Plans & Materials, clusive, lesson-plans-materials
License:
Creative Commons Attribution
Language:
English
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs, eBook, Text/HTML

Education Standards

Clusive Lesson: Tom Sawyer, The Glorious Trickster

Clusive Lesson: Tom Sawyer, The Glorious Trickster

Overview

This Lesson was created to use in conjunction with materials in Clusive [https://clusive.cast.org], a free, online learning environment that makes materials flexible and accessible.  The Lesson is designed to engage and support middle school teachers and their students to evaluate Tom Sawyer as one of a long-line of trickster characters in world literature. 

About this Lesson

Review the instrutional plan with students

Prepare any paper copies in anticipation that some students will prefer to read on paper

Gather some physical highlighters in anticipation that some some students will prefer to use paper copies of the stories

Prerequisites 

Information In student friendly terms, describe the requirements that need to be in place for students to start this lesson.

  • None

Goals

Clusive Goals:

InformationClusive goals are skills and understanding that students will work toward to become more expert learners. Focus on one or two of these skills during a lesson to support learner growth. 

  • Self-awareness: Students can identify a tool or setting and explain how it is useful for their learning.

  • Vocabulary building: Students will look up and rate at least 5 unfamiliar words in Tom Sawyer Chapter 2.

  • Engagement: Students will connect their knowledge and experience with tricksters today to Chapter 2: Tom Sawyer

Instructional Goals:

Information Instructional goals are the overall skills or understanding that students will work toward during a lesson. Unless a specific means (production type) is the instructional goal (i.e., writing), instructional goals should be unrestricted by the means students use to achieve the goal.

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to

  • Vocabulary Task: Students will identify the meaning of key words in the passage by using dictionary tools and context clues.
  • Discussion Task: Students will discuss the passage in depth with their teacher and peers.

Learning Objectives:

Information Create objectives that serve as concrete, specific, measurable steps that will lead students toward accomplishing the instructional goals and inform adjustments to instruction. Express the objectives in words that will be easy for your students to understand.

  •  Students will read and view trickster tales
  • Students will outline problems and trickster solutions
  • Students will read and re-read Chapter 2: The Glorious Whitewasher closely;
  •  Students will idenfiy the problem Tom Sawyer faced;
  •  Students will describe how Tom Sawyer solved the problem;
  •  Students will connect Twain's writing and trickster tales.  

Estimated Time 

Information Indicate the amount of time you think this lesson will take.

 

This lesson can be delivered in two days of instruction and reflection on the part of students and their teacher, with the possibility of adding an additional day devoted to peer review and revision of a culminating writing assignment.

In preparation for this lesson, materials to assign in Clusive or prepare elsewhere:

  1. Assign specific Clusive texts to students:
    • I found Fables, by Aesop at Standard Ebooks, added it to My Readings in Clusive, and assigned it to my class. We will use the short piece, "The Bat and the Weasles" to review the elements of a Trickster Tale
    • Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Chapter 2: The Glorious Whitewasher
  2. Ananci tale video:
    Drawing of a spider, Ananci, with a lion and antelope
    How Ananci outwitted Lion 

Variability

InformationConsider the barriers that you can reduce; provide choice and options for the materials that students may use, for example.

  • I will prime students to think about tricksters by relating it to a familiar event: halloween
  • I want to engage students and get them to think about Tom Sawyer as a trickster. A video Ananci story, a short Aesop Fable can be choices or may both be something we look at together.
  • I will provide students with an organizer to help them think work through cause/effect in trickster tales
  • I will provide students with options for culminating activities.

The Glorious Trickster

What do Aesops' Fables, Ananci Stories, Native American Folktales, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer have in common? All have tricksters as important characters in their stories.

In this lesson, you will

  • read, view, build, and discuss

  • explore the trickster as a recurring character in tales

  • build a cause and effect organizer showing actions and consequences in trickster tales

  • read and re-read Chapter 2: The Glorious Whitewasher in Clusive version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

How much time this will take us:   

  • 2 classes

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to

  • discuss how Chapter 2 in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer compares and contrasts with other trickster stories

Engage: tricksters in history

Background overview:

  • Relate Trickster tales with a familiar event: halloween

Some priming questions: 

  • Use priming questions to encourage learners to relate the theme (tricksters) via the example (halloween) to their own background knowledge
  • Broaden the background knowledge about halloween to Tricksters in general, and access personal/prior learner knowledge and connections

Some priming materials:

  • Halloween tricksters

Pre-Assess Student Information in Clusive

On your Clusive Teacher Dashboard

Before the lesson:

Note what your Clusive teacher dashboard tells you about 

  • student reactions 

  • student interests

  • student use Clusive features

Build background

Trickster tales are sometimes funny, sometimes happy, and sometimes even aggravating.

Tricksters are part of today's culture. Ever wonder why people carve "Jack O'Lanterns" and put them outside on Halloween?

Photo of a pumpkin with a lit up carved face.

One legend

One legend that has been told references a man named “Stingy Jack” and goes back to when the Irish immigrants came to the United States due to the potato famine many years ago. Jack was known as a trickster that fooled the devil a couple of times, making the devil promise to not bother him for over 10 years and upon his death to not take his soul.

Another legend

Other stories say that people carved scary faces into turnips, rutabagas or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. The English immigrants to the United States found that the Native American variety of pumpkins made perfect lanterns.

Either way, the carved pumpkin face lit up at night was originally meant to trick and outwit something or someone that people wanted to avoid!

Tricksters outwit or outsmart others to get something they want.

What tricksters do you know about?

Have you ever been a trickster?

 

Engage: tricksters in tales

Use this warm up activity to:

  • engage learners with multimedia trickster tales
  • build background knowledge of tricksters in literature
  • extend understanding of trickster beyond Halloween and to a ubiquitous theme in world literatures
  • build understanding of elements of trickster tales and how the trickster can shift during a single story.

Discussion Questions:

  • In the Ananci story:
    • Who was the trickster?
    • Who was the fool?
    • How did the trickster and fool change over the story?
    • What was one EFFECT?
    • What was the CAUSE?
  • In the Bats fable
    • Who was the trickster?
    • Who was the fool?
    • How did the trickster and fool change over the story?
    • What was one EFFECT?
    • What was the CAUSE?
  • What do tricksters USE to be successful?
  • Are tricksters doing good for themselves? for others? When?
  • What are the characters' values?
  • How do trickster characters act?
  • How do trickster characters speak?
  • How do the way characters speak and their values connect with how they act?

 

Warm-up activity:

Tricksters are characters (often animals) in stories. Tricksters play tricks on other characters, and may be portrayed as a villain, a hero (when helping others), or even a self-indulgent clown. Sometimes, tricksters even have the magical ability to transform.

Read or watch the resources to learn about TRICKSTERS.

As you read and watch, use the Trickster Tales: Cause and Effect Organizer to note

  • tricksters and fools
  • events in the stories
  • causes of the events
WatchRead


Drawing of a spider, Ananci, with a lion and antelope
How Ananci outwitted Lion 
 

 

Screen capture of cover of Aesops Fables

1. In Clusive, go to our Class Readings.

2. Search for Fables, by Aesop

3. Go to the Table of Contents and read "The Bat and the Weasels"

 

When you have looked at these resources, get ready to discuss these questions:

  • Who is the trickster?
  • How did the trickster change?
  • What was one EFFECT?
  • What was the CAUSE?
  • What do tricksters USE to be successful?
  • Are tricksters doing good for themselves? for others? When?
  • What are the characters' values?
  • How do trickster characters speak? How does that connect with how they act?

What did you learn about tricksters? What makes a character a trickster? What makes a character the 'fool'?

Explore

Description    

Information Briefly describe the lesson topic, what students will be doing in this lesson, and why.

About this Lesson:

Learning Objective: The goal of this two day lesson to give students the opportunity to use the reading and writing habits to discover the rich humor and moral lessons embedded in Twain’s text.  By reading trickster tales, and reading and then rereading the Chapter 2 passage closely students will focus their reading through a series of questions and discussion about the text. Students will explore the problem Tom Sawyer faced and how he “solved” his problem and met his goals. When combined with retelling a trickster story with Tom as the main character, students will learn to appreciate Tom's goals, values, and how these are used as part of a trickster tradition. 

Reading Task: Rereading is deliberately built into the instructional unit. The class will read the passage together. Then students will read the passage independently or with a small peer group.  Depending on the difficulties of a given text and the teacher’s knowledge of the fluency abilities of students, the order of the student silent read and the teacher reading aloud with students following might be reversed. What is important is to allow all students to interact with challenging text on their own as frequently and independently as possible. Students will reread specific passages in response to a set of concise, text-dependent questions that compel them to examine the meaning and structure of Twain’s prose. 

Vocabulary Task: Most of the meanings of words in this selection can be discovered from careful reading of the context in which they appear. Teachers can use discussions to model and reinforce how to learn vocabulary from contextual clues, and students must be held accountable for engaging in this practice. Where it is judged this is not possible, direct students to use the lookup feature in Clusive. At times, this is all the support these words need. At other times, particularly with abstract words, teachers will need to spend more time explaining and discussing them. In addition, draw attention to high value academic (‘Tier Two’) words. Given how crucial vocabulary knowledge is to students’ academic and career success, it is essential that these high value words be discussed and lingered over during the instructional sequence.

Discussion Task: Students will discuss the passage in depth with their teacher and their classmates, performing activities that result in a close reading of Twain’s text.  The goal is to foster student confidence when encountering complex text and to reinforce the skills they have acquired regarding how to build and extend their understanding of a text. A general principle is to always reread the portion of text that provides evidence for the question under discussion. This gives students another encounter with the text, reinforces the use of text evidence, and helps develop fluency.

Culminating Writing Task: Students will paraphrase different sentences and sections of Twain’s text and then write a narrative inspired by Twain’s message. Teachers might afford students the opportunity to rewrite their narrative or revise their in-class paraphrases after participating in classroom discussion, allowing them to refashion both their understanding of the text and their expression of that understanding.

 

 

Learning Objectives:

Information Create objectives that serve as concrete, specific, measurable steps that will lead students toward accomplishing the instructional goals and inform adjustments to instruction. Express the objectives in words that will be easy for your students to understand.

  •  Students will read and re-read the passage closely;
  •  Students will idenfiy the problem Tom Sawyer faced;
  •  Students will describe how Tom Sawyer solved the problem;
  •  Students will explain how Twain uses techniques similar and different than trickster tales to convey humor and to share a message about human nature. 

Estimated Time 

Information Indicate the amount of time you think this lesson will take.

 

This lesson can be delivered in two days of instruction and reflection on the part of students and their teacher, including the Trickster Tale retelling as a culminating writing assignment.

Screen capture of Clusive version of Tom Sawyer

Now we will dig into The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Chapter II (2): The Glorious Whitewasher

Together:

Then independently or in small groups you will do:

  •  Reading task:

    • Re-read the chapter

  • Gather Evidence task: 

    • use Clusive Highlight & Notes

      • Highlight evidence for when you see a Trickster or a Fool.

      • Use the Notes to explain how that character is a trickster or fool, including the EFFECT and CAUSE.

  •   Vocabulary task:

    • Use the Vocabulary lookup tool to identify the meaning of key words in the passage with dictionary tools and context clues.

  • Reactions check-in (independently):

    • Use the Reaction tool in Clusive to note your feelings and your current learning.

  • Discussion task:

    • Compare and contrast the tricksters you know about and have learned about with Tom Sawyer.

Explain

Variability

Information In any class, there is wide variability in how students learn and express what they know. For this lesson, it is predictable that learners will come with varied levels of engagement, background knowledge, and skills. What are your thoughts on how this lesson can support this diversity as learners work through the lesson?

  • I will support students by providing a compare/contrast graphic organizer
  • I will provide choices for how students can share their thoughts:
    • class discussion (live, face to face)
    • blog discussion post (asynchronous)

On your Clusive Teacher Dashboard

During / After the lesson:

Check in on your Clusive Dashboard. What does it show you about

  • student reactions, topics of interest, student use Clusive features?

  • What was the level of student engagement during the lesson? 

  • What will you build on?

  • What will you change in your next lesson?

  • What will you do to further support learners to become more independent, self-directed learners? 

 

    Discuss your ideas / opinions / understandings.

    • Discussion task:
      • Compare and contrast the Tricksters from the stories you read/viewed in this lesson WITH Tom Sawyer. (You can use the Trickster Comparison Guide document)
      • Share your thoughts in class or our Class Blog discussion.

    Evaluate

    Variability

    Information In any class, there is wide variability in how students learn and express what they know. For this lesson, it is predictable that learners will come with varied levels of engagement, background knowledge, and skills. What are your thoughts on how this lesson can support this diversity as learners work through the lesson?

    • I will support students by providing a compare/contrast graphic organizer
    • I will provide choices for how students can self-evaluate:
      • online quiz with immediate feedback
      • discussion with feedback
      • paper and pencil quiz

    Screen capture of first question in Trickster Quiz

    Now it is time to self check how much you have learned about Trickster Tales and Tom Sawyer.

    Your options: 

    If you do not know as much as you thought, go back to the “Explore” and "Explain" sections of this lesson and reread or rewatch the activities listed.  

    See me if you have questions.

     

    Elaborate

    Variability

    Information In any class, there is wide variability in how students learn and express what they know. For this lesson, it is predictable that learners will come with varied levels of engagement, background knowledge, and skills. What are your thoughts on how this lesson can support this diversity as learners work through the lesson?

    • I will support students by providing a rubric to guide their retellings
    • I will provide options for how students can do their retelling
      • text
      • video
      • audio
      • slideshow
      • other?
         

    Now here's your chance to bring Trickster Tales and Tom Sawyer together--and have some fun!

     

    Culminating task:

    • Retell one of the tales (Ananci or Bat and Weasel), substituting Tom Sawyer for one of the trickster characters. (for example, substitute Tom for the Spider or Lion in the Ananci story)
    • As you retell the story, make sure to
      • think about how the story might change if Tom were in the story
      • include important the elements (the Trickster, the Fool, the event, and the cause) to show your understanding of what makes a trickster tale
      • stay true to Tom's character AND to what happens in your chosen story.
        • how would Tom act in this situation?
        • how would Tom speak?
        • what would Tom's values be?
        • what would Tom's goals be?
    • You can write, do a video, audio recording, or a slideshow to do your retelling, but your retelling must meet the rubric criteria.

      Express

      During

      Information Think about the varied methods you will use during the lesson to support learner engagement, understanding and interaction with the lesson concepts. Include options and supports for how students get and process information, how students express their knowledge, and how you will support and evaluate progress toward the instructional goals.

       

      Independent Practice

      • Have students sign into Clusive
      • Show students how to find the story choices
      • Give them a few minutes to find and choose the story they want to work on

      Tasks as students read...

      • USE 
      • Look up
      • Highlight and comment

      Assessments

      On your Clusive Teacher Dashboard

      During / After the lesson:

      Check in on your Clusive Dashboard. What does it show you about

      • student reactions, topics of interest, student use Clusive features?

      • What was the level of student engagement during the lesson? 

      • What will you build on?

      • What will you change in your next lesson?

      • What will you do to further support learners to become more independent, self-directed learners? 

      Formative Assessments           

      Information List the formative assessments you will use to evaluate how students are progressing in the lesson. Formative assessments should be based on the lesson objectives. Use the feedback from these ongoing, formative assessments to monitor and adjust instruction, methods, or materials.

      • 3,2,1 Exit ticket   
      • Looking at Clusive Dashboard to check in on student activity and identify barriers       

      Summative Assessments

      Information Enter the assessment(s) you will use in your lesson. Summative Assessments are usually end-of-lesson or-unit measures that assess the depth to which students have learned the skill or content related to the instructional goal.

      • Assessment of Student activities
      • Assessment rubric: https://www.oercommons.org/courseware/lesson/86605

      Image of a person thinking, holding a notebook

      Complete this wrap-up activity where you reflect on your learning. 

      Choose ONE of these prompts to reflect on what you've learned in this lesson.

      1. What is something you discovered about Trickster tales? 
      2. What do you want to learn more about? (you might want to learn more about tricksters in literature around the world, tricksters today, tricksters in holiday celebrations, more about Mark Twain's writing, or something else!)
      3. What problems do you hope to solve (today, this week, this school year, in your lifetime, etc) ? What will you need to learn to solve those problems?
      4. How can you take what you have learned and apply it to your own life?

      Your reflection needs to include:  a statement that answers the question, an explanation, at least two pieces of evidence, and a concluding statement.

       

      Wrap up

      Assessments

      Clusive Teacher Dashboard

      Before the lesson:

      Note what your Clusive teacher dashboard tells you about 

      • student reactions 

      • student interests

      • student use Clusive features

      During / After the lesson:

      Check in on your Clusive Dashboard. What does it show you about

      • student reactions, topics of interest, student use Clusive features?

      • What was the level of student engagement during the lesson? 

      • What will you build on?

      • What will you change in your next lesson?

      • What will you do to further support learners to become more independent, self-directed learners? 

      Formative Assessments           

      Information List the formative assessments you will use to evaluate how students are progressing in the lesson. Formative assessments should be based on the lesson objectives. Use the feedback from these ongoing, formative assessments to monitor and adjust instruction, methods, or materials.

      • 3,2,1 Exit ticket   
      • Looking at Clusive Dashboard to check in on student activity and identify barriers       

      Summative Assessments

      Information Enter the assessment(s) you will use in your lesson. Summative Assessments are usually end-of-lesson or-unit measures that assess the depth to which students have learned the skill or content related to the instructional goal.

      • Assessment of Student activities
      • Assessment rubric:

      Screen capture of Clusive Dashboard

      Before you leave today

      • Look at your Clusive Dashboard

        • What does your Clusive dashboard tell you about 

          1. your reactions?

          2. your interests?

          3. which Clusive tools and features are helpful for you?

      • Complete the exit ticket