Creating An Analysis Method! (Jillann Mode)

By Mariya Skurko, February 27, 2017

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Smithsonian Design Institute

Subject Area

  • Language Arts

Lesson Time

2 x 90 minute periods


“How might we understand and analyze what happens in a chapter of The Great Gatsby”? By having students design a way to analyze literature they are using their critical thinking and creative skills which can be applied to gain a thorough understanding of what they read. They also have to be able to explain why their analysis method would be effective for analysis and understanding.

National Standards

  • 10.LD-D.1. Participate productively in self-directed teams for a particular purpose, including posing relevant questions, extracting essential information from others' input, building on the ideas of others, and contributing relevant information or ideas in group discussions; and summarizing orally, in a coherent and organized way, information and ideas learned
  • 10.LT-S.10. Analyze the author's use of figurative language, including personification, symbolism, simile, metaphor, hyperbole, allusion, and imagery in a poetry selection.
  • 11.IT-A.9. Identify an author's implicit and stated assumptions about an issue based on evidence in the selection
  • CCSS RL.11-12.10  By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range
  • CCSS RL 11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain


By the end of this lesson(s), in small groups students will first, design a way to analyze a chapter in a novel. Next, in their small groups they will read a chapter of a novel (a novel that is currently being read in class) using that analysis method they created. At the end of the session the small groups will present their analysis method and what they learned from the chapter. Students will determine which analysis method was best through whole group discussion.


The Great Gatsby or any novel/text that is being read in class


  • Chart paper to brainstorm different ways we analyze text
  • Text
  • Paper for the students to write out/create
  • Highlighters


  • Setting - where the story takes place
  • Plot - conflict that makes up the story
  • Characterization - how each character is described
  • Conflict - (external and internal) - two opposing forces; external (outside forces), internal (within oneself)
  • Dialect - a particular form of a language that is peculiar to a specific region or social group


Background Information:

Teacher should discuss with students the importance of analyzing a text for thorough understanding, and ways we currently analyze. Teacher should model an example of the challenge; “creating an analysis method for understanding text”. For example, the teacher may explain that he/she will track all instances of any internal or external conflict in the chapter. He/she will create a graphic organizer where the student has to write the example of the conflict and then explain what that conflict represents and how it is/ or may solved. The teacher will then verbalize how tracking conflict is helpful and effective for analysis and understanding.


Day 1
  1. Students will be given the challenge of creating their own way of analyzing a chapter from a novel currently read in class (The Great Gatsby) instead of a teacher created/directed analysis method. 5 min.
  2. Teacher led discussion on the importance of analysis. As a class, students will come up with a list of different ways they have been taught to analyze text. 15 min.
  3. Based on the list the students came up with, the teacher will put slips of paper in a paper bag with the different ways of analyzing a text (e.g. tracking conflict, analyze characters, creating text dependent questions, analyzing the diction (word choice, etc.) and put students into 4 groups, and each group will randomly select one way of analysis. 5 min.
  4. Each group will be assigned the same chapter to read out of the class novel (in this case The Great Gatsby) and they have to come up with a method to analyze the assigned chapter based on the slip of paper they chose. The teacher will encourage them to be creative in their analysis method. For example; if the method is “analyzing diction”, students may highlight all of the slang or words not currently used today in the chapter. After, they may then create questions such as; “How does the author’s word choice create the tone of the chapter”? Then the small group would answer that question. 50-60 min.
Day 2
  1. After each group has read and analyzed their chapter using the analysis method they created, each group will present the analysis they designed and what they learned from that chapter. 30 min.
  2. Through whole group discussion (preferably students sitting in a circle), students will decide which method of analysis worked best for understanding the text and why; and/or the differences of each one. The teacher should guide the whole group discussion with questions like, what were the challenges of designing an analysis method, do you prefer a teacher made method or creating your own, how did each groups analysis method differ, etc.
Discussion Questions: After the whole group shares the different analysis methods, the small groups will get back together and evaluate their analysis method, and what possible changes they would make and why. 30 min. The whole group discussion or small groups should discuss the following questions:
  • What were some challenges of this process?
  • What did you learn from this process?
  • What might you do differently next time?
  • Were you able to better understand the text when you had to create the analysis method, why or why not?


Teacher should give a formative assessment on the chapter to assess what students learned from the chapter and if their analysis method was effective for their understanding.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Students should be asked:

  • In what other academic area could this process be effective and why?
  • How could you apply this process to the community at large or a future job (creating an analysis or design method)

Teacher Reflection

Teacher should evaluate each method the student groups created carefully, and offer feedback. To further make students feel successful and involved in the classroom education process, the teacher should select several methods to be used in future texts (or the next chapter).

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