lesson plan from:

C. E. Whitehead
Reader Response; Dr. P. Carroll
"3 Lenses"

 

3 Lenses for viewing Graham Salisbury's story, "Get Mister Red a Beer," in Blue Skin of the Sea, by Salisbury

 

 

(Image from Enchanted Learning, http://www.enchantedlearning.com )



(Part of this lesson published (January, 2006) in the English Journal 95 (3) as an online extension for "Learning to View Literature Instruction With Literary Lenses: One Group's Story" by Pamela Sissy Carroll with English education Graduate Students at Florida State University, under the online title "Frontiers and Barriers in Graham Salisbury's 'Get Mister Red a Beer;' original URL: http://www.englishjournal.colostate.edu/Extensions/extensionsmain.html ; see: http://www.englishjournal.colostate.edu/Extensions/CarrollJan06.pdf)

RESOURCES

 

TEXT:

Salisbury, Graham.  (1959; 1992).  "Get Mister Red a Beer."  5 in Blue Skin of the Sea:  A Novel in Stories.  New York: Delacorte Press: 76-93

 

FICTION:

Updike, John. (1977). "A & P."  In On the Job:  Fiction About Work by Contemporary American Writers. Ed. Bill O'Rourke.  New York: Vintage Books.

 

NON-FICTION:

Rechy, John.  (1975). "El Paso del Norte."  In Chicano Voices.  Ed. Carolota Cardenas de Dwyer.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin:  56-60.

 

ON-LINE:  Attached below!

 

TEACHER RESOURCE:

Besnier, Niko (1995). Literacy, Emotion, and Authority: Reading and Writing on a Polynesian Atoll. Studies in the Social and Cultural Foundations of Language 17. Cambridge, U.K.; New York: Cambridge University Press.

 

RATIONALE

 

Salisbury's "Get Mister Red a Beer" is a short story of an experience a young man (teenager) has on his first job, and is part of a collection about a half-Hawaiian native, half-French youth growing up in Hawaii.  

 

This story will be read following a unit on the Frontier/Frontera (Frontier/Border) in literature and history (or similar unit)--in which the literature of the frontier is investigated in part through the historical context.  Students will be encouraged to explore diverse points of view and to compare and contrast these as they study Salisbury's story.  The story will introduce a study of Hawaii and reef ecosystems, and island culture, as well as serve to introduce students to diverse topics which they can choose from to explore further in their own research projects.

 

Using the story as a mirror, students will compare themselves and their communities with Sonny, the story's hero, and his Hawaiian community.  Students will also compare Sonny's job to jobs they have had or might have one day, and will, through discussing Sonny's problems on his first job, come to a better understanding of problems they might deal with on a job.

 

Looking into the story with a microscope, students will explore how an event in the story--the removal of the coral and the ell that guarded and lived in it--can be a microcosm for other things, the larger environment for example.  Students will also use this lense to explore how characters are created through dialog.

 

Through a telescope lense, students will explore how the frontier in this story is like and different from frontiers students have discussed in previous studies, and like and different from borders/frontiers between ethnic and national groups.  Students will also explore in on-line research the eco-systems described in this story, and will tie this understanding to how the "frontier" of Hawaiians and tourists interacts with the environment in the story's images.  From this work, students will create a policy for dealing with reefs, and will also generate questions for possible future research (pertaining to reefs, diving, runoff, or other related questions), and think about ways to approach this research.  (As an option, students or groups of students may choose to do action research through which they become involved in community environmental issues that may effect reefs, other environmental issues, or other community issues relating to first jobs, tourism, or the intersection of diverse cultures.)

 

 

TEACHING AND LEARNING GOALS

 

 

Mirror

 

·                    Students will improve writing skills, including (a), descriptive writing skills as they use descriptive writing to explore their communities; and (b), letter-writing skills, as students use "letters" to discuss job experiences with fictional characters

 

·                    As students read about and discuss Sonny's experience with his first job, and compare it with the experience of the hero of Updike's story, "A & P," students will begin imagining and describing possible as well as real jobs; and will reflect about problems that they might encounter on a job, and on how on-the-job problems are dealt with in diverse ways, with various consequences.

 

Microscope

 

·                    Students will trace recurring images through the story, and investigate how images and events in the story serve as microcosms that illuminate the story's themes.

 

·                    Students will explore how literary characters and their points of view are developed through interaction and dialog.

 

Telescope

 

·                    Students will connect the theme of the changing Hawaiian coast and sea in the story to previous literature about the frontier they have read--and come to an understanding of how frontiers are often associated with change, including sometimes changes in the ecology of the region where the frontier is situated.

 

·                    Students will investigate the interconnectedness of the 'web of life' in ecosystems--like those described in Salisbury's story--surrounding tropical island communities; these ecosystems include the coastal salt marsh; the tidal pools; and the reef.

 

·                    Students will--through practice--come to an understanding of  some of the complex issues that must be considered in making environmental policies.

 

·                    Students will use their reading to generate research questions they will ultimately investigate.

 

READING METHODS

 

The students will first view the Hawaii photos at http://www.coconutroads.com/MalaekahanaCampground.html . Students will discuss what it might be like growing up in Hawaii.  Then students will be introduced to the character stickmen for the story's main characters--Sonny, Sonny's uncle Raz, Mister Red, and Mister Red's new wife, Honey.  Students will make some predictions about these characters, and, after about a half hour of discussion, students will begin the reading as a dramatization, with students taking the main roles (there is one minor role, where Sonny's Aunt Pearl speaks in his memory as he looks at the sea, but she is never actually present in this story, so one student might take this role as well; other minor characters include Sonny's dad; Sonny's cousin, Keo, and Tuto Max).  Students will work on the dramatization for the remaining class time, and will then take the story home for further study/reading.

 

Students will actually finish the dramatization the following day, working in groups of seven, with all students taking roles--minor as well as major (one of the minor characters may wish to 'double up' and dramatize Aunt Pearl's speach in Sonny's memory).  Groups will pick up the dramatization about where left off after getting together as a class to summarize what they remember from the previous day's dramatization.

 

The story will be available for students to consult on several cassettes in case some students/groups want to hear their parts read first.  Students should also feel free to consult the text and/or cassettes as they work through the different lense activities.

 

RESOURCES for READING

 

·                     http://www.coconutroads.com/MalaekahanaCampground.html

 

ACTIVITIES with time frame and evaluation:  students will be creating a portfolio of writing, including a community description, a letter to a hero in the story, a short story, a dialog, and a research question; at the same time, students will participate in some web searches/quests and class discussion dealing with community, work, and environmental issues.

 

  • The Mirror (3 days)

 

Part I:  Place I Grew Up (1 day)

 

Standards

 

Reading Standard 1.4, the student applies a variety of response strategies.

Writing Standard 1, The student . . . uses appropriate pre-writing strategies; and drafts and revises writing that is focused . . . and provides insight; produces final documents that have been edited.

Listening, Viewing Speaking Standard 1; the student uses listening strategies effectively.

Literature, Standard 2.3; the student understands the relationships between and among elements of literature including characters, plot, setting, tone, point of view, and theme.

Literature, Standard 2.6; the student recognizes and explains those elements in a text which prompt a personal response, such as connections between one's own life and the characters, events, motives, and causes of conflict in a text.

Literature 2.8, knows that people respond differently to texts based on their background knowledge, purpose, and point of view.

 

(1) Students will view the community map of Sonny's community at the beginning of the Blue Skin of the Sea  collection in which this story occurs, as well as an on-line or Rand McNally map of the Hawaiian islands and the major cities--which include Sonny's "Kona" on the 'big" island of Hawaii.  Students will also view the underwater Hawaiian photography taken off of the Kona coast http://www.nationalgeographic.com/wildworld/profiles/g200/g227a_lg.html . Students will then discuss as a class their home or native place and how it is like and how different that of the hero of "Get Mister Red a Beer." (1/2 hour)  (Assessed by a teacher jot chart indicating whether students participated, relevance of comments, and engagement)

(2)  Students will write a short paragraph (can be illustrated) describing a place in their hometown or region, and then, on a facing page write a short paragraph describing some aspect of the places described in "Get Mister Red a Beer" (Rest of class and for homework)  (Self-assessed by students using a writing rubric; teacher will note if students made at least one insightful comparison)

These descriptions will be published with the students' letters to the heros of the stories (below).

 

RESOURCES for "Place I Grew Up"

 

Part II:  First "Job"  (2 days)

 

Standards

Reading Standard 1.4, the student applies a variety of response strategies.

Speaking Standard 2; The student uses speaking strategies effectively:  2.1, uses volume, stress, enunciation, pacing, eye contact, and gestures that meet the needs of the audience and topic.

Listening, Viewing Speaking Standard 1; the student uses listening strategies effectively.

Literature, Standard 2.3; the student understands the relationships between and among elements of literature including characters, plot, setting, tone, point of view, and theme.

Literature, Standard 2.6; the student recognizes and explains those elements in a text which prompt a personal response, such as connections between one's own life and the characters, events, motives, and causes of conflict in a text.

Literature 2.8, knows that people respond differently to texts based on their background knowledge, purpose, and point of view.

 

(1) Students will discuss with a partner an event on their first job--which can be babysitting, cutting the grass, or volunteering if the students have had no other jobs; or it can be a more formal summer job through a youth program.  Or if they have not had a first job at all, they can imagine one they might have in a few years and describe an imaginary event.  They should make comparisons between themselves, their background, their job, and their experience; and the person, background, job, and experience of the narrator of "Get Mister Red . . . ." (1/2 hour) (Teacher will note on a jot chart which students contribute, whether they cite incidents from the story, whether they cite real-world experience and/or possibilities for themselves, whether they make insightful comparisons; which students engaged)

(2) Students will read/listen on cassette to John Updike's story about another young man's experience on a first job, "A & P" (1/2 to 1 hour plus for homework if necessary);

(3) And then with a partner, choose roles--either that of the hero of "A & P" or that of the hero of "Get Mister Red a Beer."   Student pairs will then create and exchange a series of letters talking about their jobs, asking advice on the job, comparing their situations.

   Teacher will introduce students to the openings and closures expressing greeting, love, and longing in letters created by Polynesians for friends and kin on other islands, described in Besnier (1995).  While Tuvalu and Nukulaelae is not entirely like Hawaii, it is likely that Hawaiian islanders too maintain some kinship ties across other Pacific groups and may use similar kinds of expressions of longing and concern in cross-island communication.  Students may--if they feel comfortable--include Polynesian-style greetings in their letters.  

   Students will read in partner groups their letter sets to the class.  (This is useful because it gives the students a chance to perform and also to note anything they did not get that will help them compare and contrast the young workers--such as age; how they got the job--both obtained theirs via parental influence; characters each meets at work [other workers, customers]; problem of each; how resolved [quite differently in each case as one youth quits and one does not].) (1 hour)  (Each student will complete a checklist rubric for the writing pieces they select to read to the class; and also help his/her partner create checklists for the writing pieces he/she selects to read--presenting the other character's perspective; teacher will also note on a jot chart whether students seemed to understand the differing points of view of the two characters; whether the letters responded to each other with depth, sympathy, comparisons, reflection; students will be informed that the goals here are to respond to each other; and to recreate in the letters the characters ideas and feelings--though events can be inserted into the stories as occasions for actually writing) 

(4) Students will discuss briefly their responses to the readings and then write their own letter--in their own voice as a young worker or wanna-be worker--to the hero of "Get Mister Red a Beer" (and, if they want to do extra--for extra points--to the hero of "A & P").  Students will select, and read the letter/one of the two letters--if two created--to peers. (1 hour) (Students will again complete a rubric checklist for the letter; teacher will note and jot down whether students drew on real or imagined work experience/knowledge; teacher will also note growth in students' understandings of literary characters)

(5) Ultimately, the letter sets will be published with the community descriptions (above).

 

RESOURCES for "First Job"

 

  • Updike, John. (1977). "A & P."  In On the Job:  Fiction About Work by Contemporary American Writers. ed. Bill O'Rourke.  New York: Vintage Books.

 

  • The Microscope:  The Eel and the Coral:  Drama and Microcosm in the Natural World; Character's Dialog and Character  (3+ to 4 days)

 

Part I:  The Eel, the Coral, and Microcosm (21/2 days)

 

Standards

Reading Standard 1.4, the student applies a variety of response strategies.

Writing Standard 1, The student . . . uses appropriate pre-writing strategies; and drafts and revises writing that is focused . . . and provides insight; produces final documents that have been edited.

Listening, Viewing Speaking Standard 1; the student uses listening strategies effectively.

Speaking Standard 2; The student uses speaking strategies effectively:  2.1, uses volume, stress, enunciation, pacing, eye contact, and gestures that meet the needs of the audience and topic.

Literature Standard 2.4, understands the use of images and sounds to elicit the reader's emotions in . . . fiction . . . .

Literature Standard 2.8, knows that people respond differently to texts based on their background knowledge, purpose, and point of view.

 

Students will trace through the story natural images of the sea, the beachside vegetation, the eel, and the coral, and will imagine the points of view of the non-humans in the story.  Students will pay particular attention to the eel and the coral--before and after the eel is killed and the coral is removed (pp. 81,  83 (the "before"); pp. 89, 90-91 (the "after") as follows:

(1) Students retell the story (in small groups to peers and then in writing), using images from the on-line images below--which students have explore--as props, of the removal of the coral from the sea--from the eel's or coral's point of view; eels paired with corals, sharing, discussing, and writing their stories; and then, reading these as pairs these to the class.  As students talk about the retellings students will focus discussion on microcosms--what might the eel, the coral and this event be a microcosm for? (1 to 1 1/2 hour)  (Assessed by students' own evaluations of themselves and peers' interactions,  and by teacher's jot notes during the class reading indicating whether  students' retellings were imaginative, insightful, well developed.)

(2) Students will compare and describe orally the different depictions of the eel and the coral before and after the removal of these from the sea, and then compare these with other images of the sea in the story.  (1/2 to 1 hour)  (Assessed by teacher's jot notes on whether students commented, relevance of comments, and engagement during discussion.)

(3) After reading stories, students will review and discuss briefly some of the quotations at the NOAA site.  (1/2 hour) (Teacher will jot notes about participation, engagement, connections made between the images of the coral and eel in students' stories and in Salisbury's and the descriptions here)

(4) Stories will be published.

 

RESOURCES for "The Eel, the Coral, and Microcosm

 

"The bottom was absolutely hidden by a continuous series of corals, sponges, actiniæ [sea anemones] and other marine productions, of magnificent dimensions, varied forms, and brilliant colours. . . .In and out among [the rocks and living corals] moved numbers of blue and red and yellow fishes, spotted and banded and striped in the most striking manner, while great orange or rosy transparent medusæ [jellyfish] floated along near the surface. It was a sight to gaze at for hours, and no description can do justice to its surpassing beauty and interest. For once, the reality exceeded the most glowing accounts I had ever read of the wonders of a coral sea."(Alfred R. Wallace, "The Malay Archipelago." London: Macmillan and Company, 1869)

"We feel surprise when travellers tell us of the vast dimensions of the Pyramids and other great ruins, but how utterly insignificant are the greatest of these, when compared to these mountains of stone accumulated by the agency of various minute and tender animals!" (Charles Darwin, "The Voyage of the Beagle." New York: Mentor, New American Library, 1988, originally published 1839)

"There is something in the psychology of mankind to which coral reefs never fail to appeal."(Stanley J. Gardiner, "Coral Reefs and Atolls." London: Macmillan and Company, 1931.)

"Every one must be struck with astonishment, when he first beholds one of these vast rings of coral-rock, often many leagues in diameter, here and there surmounted by a low verdant island with dazzling white shores, bathed on the outside by the foaming breakers of the ocean, and on the inside surrounding a calm expanse of water, which, from reflection, is of a bright but pale green color."(Charles Darwin, "The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs." Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1984, originally published 1842.)

"It is impossible to behold these waves without feeling a conviction that an island, though built of the hardest rock ... would ultimately yield and be demolished by such an irresistible power. Yet these low, insignificant coral-islets stand and are victorious: for here another power, as an antagonist, takes part in the contest. The organic forces separate the atoms of carbonate of lime, one by one, from the foaming breakers, and unite them into a symmetrical structure. Let the hurricane tear up its thousand huge fragments; yet what will that tell against the accumulated labor of myriads of architects at work night and day, month after month? Thus do we see the soft and gelatinous body of a polypus, through the agency of the vital laws, conquering the great mechanical power of the waves of an ocean..."(Charles Darwin, "The Voyage of the Beagle." New York: Mentor, New American Library, 1988, originally published 1839

 

Part II:  Getting to Know Mister Red and Honey Through Dialog (1 day)

 

Standards

Reading Standard 1.4, the student applies a variety of response strategies.
Language Standard 1 ;  1.2, makes appropriate adjustments for language use for social, . . . and [different] life situations; and 1.3, understands that there are differences among various dialects of English.

Language Standard 2; The student understands the power of language:  2.1 understands the specific ways that language shapes the reactions, perceptions, and beliefs of . . . communities

Speaking Standard 2; The student uses speaking strategies effectively:  2.1, uses volume, stress, enunciation, pacing, eye contact, and gestures that meet the needs of the audience and topic.

Literature, Standard 2.3; the student understands the relationships between and among elements of literature including characters, plot, setting, tone, point of view, and theme

 

(1) Students will  try get to know Mister Red & his new wife and their language--paying close attention to how the couple talks and interacts in this story.  (Locate examples of speech/interaction and discuss what type of character each is.)  (Half hour)  (Teacher will just make sure that students locate in story most of the couple's speech/interaction with each other and with other characters, and discuss it; and that all students participate.)

(2), From this, imagine their meeting in the Show Dance place Mister Red owns; some students can enact orally the interview where he first meets Honey--either in hiring her to work in one of his clubs, or in buying the club and meeting the staff there, Honey among them already hired (students decide how the couple met since Salisbury does not say); some the event when Mr. Red asks Honey for a date; and some the couple's discussion of the event with the eel--either after the event at their motel; or later, at the club, when the coral is put on display!!!  Students will try to re-create the couple's language. (1/2 hour)  (Students will assess, using a rubric, their group work creating the dialog; teacher will observe groups interacting; jot who is participating, contributing, etc.; and also assess dialogs for authenticity of talking style, development of dialog, participation of all group members)

 

Part III:  Mapping the Action (1/2 day)

 

(1) Students will create an imaginary map of the charter boat trip with Sonny and Uncle Raz hosting Mr. Red and Honey as passengers, after exploring several maps of the ocean region and its reefs.  Students will use one of the maps below to map the action (probably the third).  Students can refer back to the original community map and map showing cities (The Mirror:  Part I, above) to locate Kona, if needed, before proceeding with these.  (1/2 hour)  (Teacher will note participation, engagement)

 

RESOURCES for "Mapping the Action"

 

 

  • The Telescope:  Images of the Frontier, La Frontera ("The Frontier, The Border")  (About five days)

 

Part I:  Images of the Frontier (About 3 days)

 

Reading, Standard 2.4, the student locates and evaluates written information for . . . research projects.

Listening, Viewing Speaking Standard 1; the student uses listening strategies effectively.

Literature, Standard 1; the student identifies universal themes prevalent in the literature of all cultures.

Literature, Standard 2.3; the student understands the relationships between and among elements of literature including characters, plot, setting, tone, point of view, and theme.

Literature Standard 2.4, understands the use of images and sounds to elicit the reader's emotions in both fiction and non-fiction.

Literature, Standard 2.6; the student recognizes and explains those elements in a text which prompt a personal response, such as connections between one's own life and the characters, events, motives, and causes of conflict in a text.

Additional science and social studies standards.

 

(1) Students will discuss and compare images of the Frontier they have seen in their previous studies--of Indian-White conflicts on the Plains; of other frontier/border conflicts with which they are familiar.  (1/2 hour) (Teacher will use jot chart to indicate participation, relevance of comments, and student engagement.)

(2) Students will read Rechy's "El Paso del Norte" (available on cassette recording).  (Rest of class; students may finish reading at home; the cassette will continue to be available as a reference)  (Teacher will observe reading/listening, make sure everyone is on task.)

(3), and then work in small groups to recreate images of the community in "El Paso del Norte," and the border(s) in Rechy's "El Paso del Norte," referring back to the essay as needed (1/2 to 1 hour).  (Students will assess using a check-list rubric group interaction, and whether activity helped them to picture world described by Rechy.  Teacher will observe groups, who in group is participating, how on task, and whether group is working together, and trying to understand the story; and indicate this on a jot chart.) 

(3) Students will compare the border in Rechy's story set in El Paso, Texas, on the Mexican border, with changing borders in Sonny's Hawaiian world in Salisbury's "Get Mister Red a Beer."  Where are the changing borders in "Get Mister Red?"  What are the implications of the border, of changing it? Is the border connected with the environment here?  Has the border been connected with the environment in previous literature--for example, on the Plains border.  (Half hour).  (Teacher will use jot chart to indicate participation, relevance of comments, and student engagement.)

(3) Individual and small group web explorations (in a computer lab?)--to learn about Hawaiian eco-system, reef and tide pool ecologies--students/groups will report briefly on sites they investigated (from those listed below, and from sites explored previously above):

 

"Coral reefs are the most biodiverse of all known marine ecosystems, and maintain much higher genetic diversity than tropical rainforests. They therefore represent the world’s most significant storehouse of potential future products." (John McManus, The International Coral Reef Initiative: Partnership Building and Framework Development, report of the ICRI Workshop, Dumaguete City, The Philippines, 29 May-2 June 1995.)

 

(Half hour to hour)   (Teacher will observe students working on computer, note who is on task and student engagement; and also note depth of information brought back in student reports)

(4) Students will create a  "Frontier, Border, and Environment" questions journal, in which they ask several questions about the frontier/border/'environment in Salisbury's story as they see it, beginning each with a relevant quotation in the story that has inspired the question, illustrating each with a drawing or cut out or illustration found on-line (must cite source), and reflecting briefly on how this question might lead to an investigation and presentation--or optionally, to action research.  (half hour to hour and for homework)  (Teacher will note whether each student created at least 2-3 questions, illustrated each with a quotation, whether the question seemed at all related to the quotation (teacher will at some point discuss questions and interests individually with students, and how quotation/story experience led to question and student interest in this area), whether students illustrated questions, whether students reflected on how they might research their questions.)

 

RESOURCES for "Images of the Frontier"

 

"Coral reefs are the most biodiverse of all known marine ecosystems, and maintain much higher genetic diversity than tropical rainforests. They therefore represent the world’s most significant storehouse of potential future products." (John McManus, The International Coral Reef Initiative: Partnership Building and Framework Development, report of the ICRI Workshop, Dumaguete City, The Philippines, 29 May-2 June 1995.)

 

Part IICreating Reef Policy  (2+ days)

 

(1) Students will explore individually additional on-line resources--on threats to reefs, particularly from fishing, recreational activities, water pollution, and stream runoff; on economics of reefs; on need for reef biodiversity; and on possibilities for management/action, including ways of dealing with urban streams/water runoff; fishing policy options; artificial reefs.  Students will take notes on these sources. (1 hour) (Teacher will observe students working on computer, note who is on task and student engagement; and also note depth of information brought back in student reports--below)

 

(2) Students will work in groups of 4, each group tackling one aspect of reef policy--tourism and recreation, economics, fishing & overfishing, runoff, reef diversity.  Students will discuss what they see as problems and possibilities for management.  (1/2 hour) (Teacher will note participation, engagement, give-and-take, relevance of comments, documentation with on-line resources as teacher circulates among the groups with a jot chart)

(3)  Each group will present problems and possibilities for management of issue to the class. (1/2 hour) (Teacher will note relevance and cohesiveness of each group's presentation; documentation with on-line sources; and insightfulness of recommendations)

(4)  The class will discuss and draft a possible policy based on the various groups' recommendations. (1/2 hour)  (Teacher will note whether students participate, are engaged, make comments relevant to their classmates' comments and to the policy recommendations, show insight and reflection in making suggestions)

(5)  The policy will be published as a letter (sent possibly to Hawaii, or the U.S. NOAA or EPA, or to a local paper).

(6) Students may use the ideas and problems encountered here to add to their "Questions Journal"

 

RESOURCES for "Creating Reef Policy"

 

"Every conservationist understands how socioeconomic and often also personal aspects can impact conservation. In my opinion 90% of any conservation issue deals with humans, whatever species or habitat we are dealing with."(Fabio Ausenda, 1997)

"You talk to people who use blasting or cyanide and they say they have to do it to eat." (Nenny Babo, Indonesian environmental activist, 1996.)

Addendum: Mathematics of the Bends  (2-3 days)

 

Other Resources