Title: By the Waters of Babylon
5 days (45 minutes per day)
Common Core ELA Standards: RL.9-10.1, RL.9-10.2, RL.9-10.3, RL.9-10.4, RL.9-10.5, RL.9-10.10; W.9-10.1, W.9-10.4, W.9-10.7; SL.9-10.1, SL.9-10.4; L.9-10.1, L.9-10.2, L.9-10.4
Preparing for Teaching
Read the Big Ideas and Key Understandings and the Synopsis. Please do not read this to the students. This is a description for teachers about the big ideas and key understanding that students should take away after completing this task. Big Ideas and Key Understandings
Truths (facts) and discoveries influence our actions and knowledge. Synopsis
John is the son of a priest in a futuristic society where social class and rules are paramount. Knowledge is vital to John, and he invests a great deal of energy in his search for truths. John’s father discovered his potential when he was very young and treats him differently from his siblings. John values tradition and order; he takes broken rules and consequences very seriously. John journeys to the “Place of the Gods” in search for truth and what he finds will change what he has known. This “Place of the Gods” is revealed to be New York City, which has been destroyed by a war called “The Great Burning.” Read the entire selection, keeping in mind the Big Ideas and Key Understandings. Re-read the text while noting the stopping points for the Text Dependent Questions and teaching Tier II/academic vocabulary.
Students read the entire selection independently.
Teacher reads the text aloud while students follow along or students take turns reading aloud to each other. Depending on the text length and student need, the teacher may choose to read the full text or a passage aloud. For a particularly complex text, the teacher may choose to reverse the order of steps 1 and 2. Students and teacher re-read the text while stopping to respond to and discuss the questions, continually returning to the text. A variety of methods can be used to structure the reading and discussion (i.e., whole class discussion, think-pair-share, independent written response, group work, etc.)
Text Dependent Questions
The author establishes the setting. Describe the setting. What words and phrases does the author use to develop the setting? The story is set in a society with priests and also hunters; there are also very strict laws. The narrator says “The north and the south and the west are …good hunting ground… it is forbidden to go east.” This helps establish the setting of the story and frames the story’s action. The author creates mystery and suspense. What words/phrases help create this mystery? Cite specific evidence in your answer. The narrator says, “these are the rules and the laws; they are well made.” The reader is able to determine this is a strict society but doesn’t know yet how this will play into the story. What tone is established? Cite specific words from the text that help establish the tone. There is a foreboding tone established in the first several paragraphs. The words “dead places,” “demons,” ‘forbidden,” and “spirit” help establish this tone. Summarize the actions that are forbidden in this society. Cite specific evidence to support your answer. It is forbidden to go to the “Dead Places,” to touch metal unless you are a priest, to cross the river, and to go “east.” It also says that these actions have been forbidden “since the beginning of time.” What is the significance of knowledge in this society? What can we infer from the fact that only the priests possess the knowledge? Cite specific evidence to support your answer. Knowledge is very important to this society.
* It is desired by the narrator; he says “my knowledge and my lack of knowledge burned in me- I wished to know more.” * The priests are obviously the most important group in the society, so it speaks to the importance of knowledge that it is the...
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