Symbolism Minilessons

These lessons would take place during your launch of your study of symbolism. Students should have some idea of what a symbol is prior to teaching these lessons. For much more information, pick up a copy of Teaching Interpretation: Using Text-Based Evidence to Construct Meaning, and see Chapter 4.

Minilesson #1- Use a text such as The Granddaughter Necklace by Sharon Dennis Wyeth. Model interpreting what the necklace symbolizes using webbing exercises. Have students discuss the symbolism of the necklace. Develop initial claims and have students cite text evidence.

Minilesson #2- Watch La Luna by Pixar with your students. Model identifying symbols in the film. Have students brainstorm a list of symbols based on the common literary symbols list (animals, objects, colors, weather, nature.) Practice generating interpretations.

Minilesson #3- Continue working on your students’ interpretations from La Luna. Teach how to cite evidence. Have students rank and discuss their evidence. Then have students write responses in their reader’s notebook.

Minilesson #4- Read The Wretched Stone by Chris Van Allsburg. Students can generate interpretations about what the stone symbolizes. Have students write their claims and cite text evidence.

Minilesson #5- Read the chapter, Pelitos, by Sandra Ciscernos. Have students begin thinking about symbolism in new ways. Model pushing your thinking deeper to locating the author’s intent. Why did the author create this symbol? Have students write about symbols in their own lives that mean something more.

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