Monday, November 3, 2008

The Lives of Puritan Children





Rather than have you all read the ten or so pages I found about the expectations and rules that Puritan parents had for their little ones, I broke you all up into groups and we completed an activity called the "GIST". The gist, as we talked about in class, is a way to summarize what you read in one sentence. For this, I gave each group of three a section of reading. Most of you had at least one paragraph that you were solely responsible. After you read your paragraph, you chose the FIVE most important words from your reading. Then, you worked individually to construct ONE sentence that somehow incoporated ALL of the FIVE words you chose.

After every group member had his or her sentence completed, you shared your sentences as a group to make sure that you had covered the basic GIST (ha!) of your topic. The topics included subjects like education, marriage, chores/ work, rules, and discipline of Puritan children. When each group was settled on their sentences, I gave each group a section of construction paper and several colored markers with which to write the sentences.

To report out to the whole class, we went around the room and shared our words and our sentences. We paused after each group to gather a sort of collective meaning from the sentences expressed by the group.

The purpose of this activity was to allow a sort of insight as to why the girls in out play might be tempted to carry on the lie and the drama of the witch accusations and the eventual trials. I feel like we created a very strong picture of the dismal and harsh life these girls experienced. Maybe we can now understand their motivations. Maybe not. We'll see.

After this activity, we had a spirited reading from the text. Some of you have really amped up your performance skills and have begun to give empassioned performances. This definitely makes the characters come alive. Good work!

If you were absent, you need to make up the GIST activity and read to page 24.

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