Category Archives: Unit 3

Post Reading Strategy: Somebodoy-Wanted-But-So Chart

Post Reading Strategy: Somebodoy-Wanted-But-So Chart

Source: Teaching as Leadership website

Link: (pages 75-76)

The Somebody-Wanted-But-So chart is a post reading technique to get students to think about the main plot points of a text. Students fill out the four-column chart as shown below. The “Somebody” column is where the character is identified. Followed by the “Wanted” category, where students describe what the character wanted in a story; this doesn’t have to be a tangible item or permission to do something, it could be an internal conflict or even something that the character may not realize that they want. Next, the “But” column is to be filled out according to what the student thinks is holding the character back from what they desire. Finally, the “So” category is completed by discussing the consequences or next move for the character. It isn’t included in the description of the activity from the link, but I would have my students find evidence (quotes) from the text as well as including a short (2-3) sentence explanation for what they wrote.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.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.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.2 Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.

I think this is a post-reading version of a KWL chart. I like this activity because it can be applied to the simplest or most complex texts. It can be used simply to summarize events and consequences or to analyze intricate character thoughts/motivations/desires. They will be reviewing the events of the text as well as thinking about what they mean, how they fit together, and how they progress to the next event. Students applying this strategy to more complex literature may be able to breakdown more “between the lines” types of desires/motivations that aren’t stated outright in the text. They will get practice using text to support their claims which is a requirement of the CCSS and is also a large component of AP essay writing. Another useful thing about this activity is that it is continuous. Students can go track a character and their desires all the way through a novel. They could use this as a character study or even as an outline for a paper/essay of some sort. This could also be used as a during reading activity.

Here is an example chart I made based on Lord of the Flies       —     SWBS


During Reading Strategy: Haiku/Limerick Collection

During Reading Strategy: Haiku/Limerick Collection

Source: 103 Things to Do Before/During/After Reading from The English Teacher’s Handbook by Jim Burke


Haiku/Limerick Collection: Choose one character in the work to follow. Write a haiku or limerick that is related to that character for each chapter/section/important event. (The original directions just say “create one about a character,” but I wanted to take it a bit further to make it more like a character study. I think it’d be a more interesting and creative way for students to interact with a text as opposed to just writing an analytical essay. This would fit best with a longer novel with clearly defined chapters or sections because it makes it easy to designate how many poems are required. If a chapter/section is longer than others or includes multiple events that are important for the character they have chosen more poems would be required.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2d Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

I think this approach will work in a variety of ways for a variety of things. I think students will have to think critically about the characters and what’s happening to them in order to represent that creatively through poetry. Students will also gain a better understanding of “domain-specific techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy” when they are using these conventions themselves to convey an idea or feeling. Along with the critical analysis they’ll be doing, they will gain valuable writing experience. Since haikus and limericks are very short, structured poems, students will have to think carefully about their choice of vocabulary, which is also in line with CCSS.

Pre-Reading Strategy: Brainstorming Map

Title/Name of Strategy: Pre-Reading Brainstorming Map
Source: Study Guides and Strategies website []
Link: [] gave me the idea to make a map
[] a Google search helped me find this map maker

  • Brainstorming Map “Write down the most important word or short phrase (in my case the title, Black Boy) in a circle/bubble in the center. Post other important concepts (in this case, ideas that the students think of that will be related to the book based on the title) Think about the relation of outside items to the center item, add other key words and phrases (or questions). Combine concepts to expand your map, talk about how the concepts are related and discuss/ask questions.” I thought this would be a good activity to do on a computer to incorporate technology, so I used a search engine to find a map-maker. You could do this on a SmartBoard or on a computer that is connected to a projector. If these aren’t available, just a regular overhead or chalkboard would work and students would copy it down and add to it instead of having an online copy to edit. This activity also has an added bonus; you can start this as a pre-reading activity and expand it, answer the questions, expand words/phrases, and add more ideas to make this a during reading activity. For a post-reading activity, students could use this as a sort of outline for an extended definition or culminating paper or essay.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1: Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.5: Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
    • The text it’s self is mentioned in the CCSS “ELA & Literacy in History/Social Studies Science, and Technical Subjects – Appendix B: Text Exemplars and Sample Performance Tasks” Page 12, under Informational Texts: English Language Arts for 11th Grade and up.


  • This strategy would be useful in engaging student learning because it helps students to activate their prior knowledge of the history of racial injustice in our country in order to begin thinking about a novel they will read. They will already have a scene set in their head before they begin reading the novel so they should be able to connect ideas from the text to what they already know about the situation the author lives in. Students will be coming up with ideas themselves to add to the thinking map. They will be coming to the computer or going to the board/SmartBoard to add a bubble representing their question or idea. Students will get a chance to voice their opinion and talk with other students about their connections to the text.




Here is an quick example I made to show how it would look. Students can make an account and make their own bubble maps and save them so they can add to them as they go through the book.






Teaching for Understanding

What does it mean to be literate in your discipline?