All the King’s Men

by Robert Penn Warren

by Amy Graham

 

Program: Middle School Students

Subject: Novel analysis / comprehension

Duration: 2 weeks

Purpose:  To ensure that students can comprehend and connect historical fiction, identify themes and literary devices used in such fiction and communicate their knowledge through oral and written presentations.

 

ILS Learning Standards:

 

STATE GOAL 1:  Read with understanding and fluency.

 

1.A.3a  Apply knowledge of word origins and derivations to comprehend words used in specific content areas (e.g., scientific, political, literary, mathematical).

 

1.A.3b  Analyze the meaning of words and phrases in their context.

 

1.B.3b  Identify text structure and create a visual representation (e.g., graphic organizer, outline, drawing) to use while reading.

 

1.B.3c  Continuously check and clarify for understanding (e.g., in addition to previous skills, draw comparisons to other readings).

 

1.C.3b  Interpret and analyze entire narrative text using story elements, point of view and theme.

 

1.C.3d  Summarize and make generalizations from content and relate them to the purpose of the material.

 

STATE GOAL 2:  Read and understand literature representative of various societies, eras and ideas.

 

2.A.3a  Identify and analyze a variety of literary techniques (e.g., figurative language, allusion, dialogue, description, word choice, dialect) within classical and contemporary works representing a variety of genres.

 

2.A.3b  Describe how the development of theme, character, plot and setting contribute to the overall impact of a piece of literature

 

2.B.3a  Respond to literary material from personal, creative and critical points of view. 

 

2.B.3c  Analyze how characters in literature deal with conflict, solve problems and relate to real-life situations.

 

STATE GOAL 3:  Write to communicate for a variety of purposes.

 

3.A.3  Write compositions that contain complete sentences and effective paragraphs using English conven­tions.

 

C.  Communicate ideas in writing to accomplish a variety of purposes.

 

3.C.3a  Compose narrative, informative, and persuasive writings (e.g., in addition to previous writings, literature reviews, instruc­tions, news articles, correspondence) for a specified audience

 

Materials:  Warren, Robert Penn.  All the King’s Men.

All the King’s Men DVD / VHS

Robert Penn Warren biography

Computer lab

Construction paper

Markers, crayons, colored pencils

Notebook

 

Activities:

1.  Prior to introducing the film, ascertain prior knowledge with questions   regarding history and politics of the US in  20th Century,  1913-1941.

·        Who were the presidents of the time?

·        What major events occurred in that time frame?

·        What type of political affiliation was popular?

(20 minutes)

2.  Give the students an overview of the novel with any pertinent background information and a short biography of the author Robert Penn Warren.   Ask students to thing about the title for the following class.        (20 min)

3.  Ask students to share their ideas about the title.  Probe them to get to the nursery rhyme allusion, Humpty Dumpty.  Introduce and/or review allusion, theme, metaphor, simile ( and any other literary device you would like to cover within the text). Assign them to keep a journal of any vocabulary within the text they do not understand or any idea(s) they do not follow,  for class discussion.  Also, list any literary devices found within assigned section.  ( 20 min)

4.  Begin the novel by reading aloud in class. Take time to discuss pertinent vocabulary and/or literary devices. (20 min)

5.  Assign the next 2 chapters for reading homework. ( or whatever amount you prefer)

6.  Begin class with discussion ( or a short comprehension quiz).  2-3 discussion questions should be sufficient.  Don’t forget to ask about any vocabulary the students need clarifying. (15 min)

7.  Have the students begin making a timeline of events.  Add to the timeline during opening class discussion.  This can be and individual timeline as an assignment or a class project. Discuss timeline at the completion of the novel as a source of review.

8.  Repeat steps 4-7 until the completion of the novel.

9.  Some end of novel discussion questions might include:

·        What are the conditions of a society that permits a demagogue to flourish and take control of the government?

·        Can you name any other instances in American history in which this happened?

·        How did Willie Stark use everyone around him?

·        Was there anyone that Willie Stark didn’t use for his own purpose?

These can be given as a test or just a class discussion.

10. Assign the students to write an essay based on one of the character traits discussed from the novel.  Choose from the following prompts:

·        AMBITION                    Ambition is often a very good value leading people to do very good things. However, it didn’t work that way with Willie Stark.  Explain how ambition works for the benefit of society and what happens when it goes wrong and works to the detriment of society.

·        RESPONSIBILITY        Describe how Willie Stark corrupted each major character in the film.

·        FAIRNESS                     What rules did Willie Stark break that were important from a moral standpoint?  Were his actions justified?  OR                                       

In ruling through favoritism and making political loyalty the key to success, how did Willie Stark violate the principle of “Fairness”?

11.  View the film All the King’s Men.

12.  Have the students write a mini review of the film comparing and/or contrasting the film to the novel.

 

Evaluation:

1.  Students will be evaluated daily whether by class discussion or comprehension quiz.  Teacher will look for specific detail comprehension as well as literary device connections.  Participation is key.

2.  Students will be evaluated on their journal entries.  Journal must have at least 3 entries per assigned reading.

3.  Students will be evaluated on their timeline (unless it was deemed a class assignment).  Timelines will be evaluated on accuracy, and neatness.  Extra credit given for creativity or added artistic elements (pictures etc.)

4.  Students will be evaluated on their essay. Click here for rubric.

5.  Students will be evaluated on their mini reviews.  Reviews must have at least 3 comparison / contrasts.  Same rubric as essay.
















  ISAT WRITING RUBRIC


Note: This Conventions of Usage Rubric was adapted from the ISAT Writing Rubric.

 

NAME _____________________________________________     DATE ______________________________

 

ð  Exceeds standard (must receive 11 - 12 total points)         ð  Approaches standard (must receive 5 - 7 total points)

ð  Meets standard (must receive 8 -10 total points)               ð  Begins standard or absent (must receive 3 - 4 total points)

 

 

Conventions of English – Punctuation and Spelling

Conventions of English – Usage

Conventions of English – Sentence Boundaries

4

·    0-2 minor errors in punctuation, capitalization, end punctuation and apostrophes as defined in the ISAT Writing Rubric Conventions list.

·    No spelling errors of age appropriate words.

·    No significant comprehension problems created by punctuation.

·    0-2 errors in English Usage, including:

o   Subject-Verb Agreement

o   Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

o   Misplaced Modifiers

o   Omitted Words

o   Homonyms

o   Verb Tense

o   Connectors/Transition Words

·    No major sentence boundary errors (i.e., fragments, run-on sentences).

·    No paragraph miscues.

·    No formatting errors.

3

·    3-6 minor errors in punctuation, capitalization, end punctuation and apostrophes.

·    1-2 spelling errors of age appropriate words.

·    No significant comprehension problems created by punctuation.

·    3-5 errors in English Usage, including:

o   Subject-Verb Agreement

o   Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

o   Misplaced Modifiers

o   Omitted Words

o   Homonyms

o   Verb Tense

o   Connectors/Transition Words

·    No major sentence boundary errors (i.e., fragments, run-on sentences).

·    0-1 paragraph miscue.

·    Minor formatting errors.

2

·    7-10 minor errors in punctuation, capitalization, end punctuation and apostrophes.

·    3-5 spelling errors of age appropriate words.

·    Some significant comprehension problems created by punctuation. Meaning can be determined with some effort.

·    6-8 errors in English Usage, including:

o   Subject-Verb Agreement

o   Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

o   Misplaced Modifiers

o   Omitted Words

o   Homonyms

o   Verb Tense

o   Connectors/Transition Words

·    1-3 sentence boundary errors (i.e., fragments, run-on sentences).

·    1-2 paragraph miscues.

·    Significant formatting errors.

1

·    More than 10 minor errors in punctuation, capitalization, end punctuation and apostrophes.

·    More than 5 spelling errors of age appropriate words.

·    Many significant comprehension problems created by punctuation. Meaning may not be determined.

·    9 or more errors in English Usage, including:

o   Subject-Verb Agreement

o   Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

o   Misplaced Modifiers

o   Omitted Words

o   Homonyms

o   Verb Tense

o   Connectors/Transition Words

·    More than 3 sentence boundary errors (i.e., fragments, run-ons).

·    Major paragraphing miscues

OR

·    Paragraphing not attempted.

·    Major formatting errors.

Score

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE:  Errors are counted using the criteria of the ISAT Rubric for Grade 10


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