Understanding and Interpreting Texts. "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien (Englisch 10. Klasse Realschule)

Lesson Plan, 2017

14 Pages, Grade: 1,7


Table of contents

1 Introduction

2 Lesson plan
2.1 Structure of the lesson
2.2 Warm-up
2.3 Lead-in
2.4 Reading comprehension
2.5 Post-reading
2.6 Homework
2.7 Subsequent lessons

3 Evaluation

4 Appendix
4.1 Lesson grid
4.2 Worksheet

5 Bibliography

1 Introduction

The lesson described in this paper is based on the book T he Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. The lesson is intended for a year 10 class in a grammar school, the recipients of the lesson will therefore be 14 to 17 year old pupils. The fantasy novel The Hobbit was chosen for several reasons. The book was originally written for children which means that it contains relatively easy vocabulary and is fun to read at the same time. Pupils are likely to enjoy this book as it is set in a fictional world that is lovingly described and is packed with action as the protagonists have to survive many exciting adventures. Furthermore, J.R.R. Tolkien is listed in the syllabus for Realschulen as an author that could be discussed in year 10. As the pupils at grammar school are the same age, should have similar competences and most likely have similar interests as pupils in a Realschule , the book should be appropriate for grammar school pupils too.

The lesson described in this paper would be the first of about eight lessons on the book and would be 45 minutes long. The main focus of the lesson is set on reading comprehension and so the overall goal of the lesson is for the pupils to be capable of summarising the first two chapters of “The Hobbit” in their own words as well as being able to reflect on the novel. This goal is based on the syllabus for English in grammar schools in year 10. The aims of reading comprehension that should be attained by the end of year 10 are described here. Among other things, Pupils should be able to read long and complicated literary texts and understand them on their own. This is expected of the pupils in the lesson on The Hobbit , as the homework due for the lesson is to read the first two chapters of The Hobbit on their own. In the section on understanding texts, there is a passage stating that pupils in year 10 should read either a novel or a drama of the twentieth or twenty-first century and understand, interpret and give their own opinion on the text (ISB 2004). The novel The Hobbit fits into the category of novels from the twentieth century as it was published in 1937 (Tolkien 1997) and in the course of the lesson will be understanding, interpreting and giving their own opinion on the text.

Although the lesson is centred around improving the pupils’ skills in understanding and interpreting texts, the lesson also gives pupils the chance to work on their oral and written production skills. These are also mentioned in the syllabus. Pupils in year 10 are expected to participate in oral discussions and present the results of their work in class (ISB 2004). Both these skills are demanded of the pupils in the lesson outlined in this paper. The syllabus also states that regarding written production, pupils should be able to write longer texts of their own, as well as summarise and comment on texts written by others. It goes on to say that pupils should practise writing creative texts, for example changing the perspective of a fictional text or writing role plays (ISB 2004). During the lesson, the pupils will also be asked to work on these productive skills.

2 Lesson plan

2.1 Structure of the lesson

The lesson is based on the pre-while-post-model, which is useful for lessons on reading comprehension (Thaler 2012: 92). The lesson starts with a warm-up and ends with an explanation of homework but the main part of the lesson consists of the three phases of pre-, while- and post-reading. This structure makes sure that the pupils are first motivated and their knowledge activated in the pre-reading phase in order for them to deal with the text in the while-reading phase. Then finally the pupils are asked to be more creative in the post-reading phase (Thaler 2012: 92). In the course of these three phases, the pupils should acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes that are connected with literature (Thaler 2012: 259). By the end of the lesson, the pupils should have gained knowledge on the plot of the hobbit, as well as learnt new vocabulary by reading the beginning of the book. Throughout the lesson they will work on skills such as comprehension strategies and creative competences. Finally working on the book will enable the pupils to empathise with characters and learn from them as well as ideally gaining a positive view on literature, which will cause them to continue to read in their free time. Gaining this knowledge, these skills and these attitudes are the sub goals for this lesson.

2.2 Warm-up

The lesson will start with a warm-up. This phase differs from the phase of the lead-in, as the topic of the lesson is not introduced yet. Instead the teacher starts the lesson with small talk or certain classroom rituals (Thaler 2012: 96). The reason for having a warm-up before leading into the actual topic of the lesson is that this gives the pupils time to get used to the classroom language being English. By using the first few moments of the lesson to talk about topics that could interest the pupils, the pupils are able to get comfortable using the language. In this part of the lesson the teacher will ask the pupils what they have seen on the news lately and pupils can report anything that they have heard about and find interesting. A discussion on the topics that the pupils come up with will follow and every pupil can contribute and state their own opinion. The first two minutes will be used for this purpose.

2.3 Lead-in

After the pupils have got accustomed to speaking in English, the topic of the lesson will be introduced. The pupils will already know that the lesson is based on the novel The Hobbit , as their homework for the lesson was to read the first two chapters of the novel at home. In order to motivate them and to reactivate their memory on what they have read at home, the teacher will show the pupils a picture of Bilbo’s house. Here a document camera or overhead projector is needed in order to project the picture onto a screen. After giving the pupils a few moments to look at the picture, the teacher will ask what they remember about Bilbo’s house from reading the first two chapters at home. The pupils are expected to recall what Bilbo’s house looked like from the inside and outside and share it with the class.

Afterwards the teacher will ask whether the pupils would like to live in Bilbo’s home and why and the class will discuss what they like or dislike about the house Bilbo lives in. Beside activating the pupil’s memory of what they have read before the lesson, the idea of the lead-in is also to prepare the pupils for the content and the language of the lesson (Thaler 2012: 96). When talking about Bilbo’s home, the pupils will start using vocabulary that is needed for talking about literature, or more precisely fantasy literature.

2.4 Reading comprehension

The next phase of the lesson is concerned with reading comprehension. The teacher will hand out sheets with questions on the first two chapters of The Hobbit . Each sheet is divided into two parts. The first part consists of comprehension questions, whereas the second part contains questions for the pupils to reflect on. The teacher will first tell the class to answer the comprehension questions individually. The time frame for this individual work is six minutes. The idea of the questions is to ensure that the pupils have understood the important plot points. After answering the comprehension questions, the pupils should be able to summarise the first two chapters of The Hobbit. This is important for the further lessons on The Hobbit , as the rest of the plot will build on the first two chapters of the novel. It is also an opportunity for the pupils to practise finding information in a text and reproducing the important aspects in their own words. This should already have been practised in earlier years, but it is important to repeatedly give the pupils reading comprehensions in order to refresh this skill. The last task in part one of the worksheet is to create a character profile of Bilbo Baggins. Here the pupils can comment on his appearance and his character. This character profile can be added to during the course of the remaining lessons on The Hobbit.

After their individual work, the teacher will tell the pupils to work in pairs answering the reflection questions. The reflection questions make up the second part of the sheet and are three in total. The pupils are given five minutes for this. They should exchange their opinions on the questions with their partner and write down their answers. The goal of these questions is for the pupils to reflect on the first two chapters of the novel. This partner discussion simultaneously aims to enhance the pupils’ communicative skills. The pupils are first asked to step into Bilbo’s shoes and ponder what their own choices would be in his situation. By doing so, the pupils must empathise with the protagonist of the novel and learn to approach certain topics from a new perspective. They then are asked to think about what feelings the novel evokes in them as well as think about which of the characters they would like to accompany them on an adventure. The last question is naturally hypothetical and therefore the pupils must use their imagination to answer it. The reflection questions are a lot more open than the questions of the first part. By answering them, the pupils should come to realise that there are several answers that are possible for each question instead of there just being one right and wrong. It is important for them to realise that when it comes to literature, everyone has different opinions and feelings. As the pupils are asked to think about their thoughts and emotions, these questions aim less at the pupils gaining knowledge but are more focused on the pupils developing attitudes towards the characters as well as the novel as a whole and learning to approach certain topics from a new perspective.

If any pupils finish before the time is up, they can carry on with the question at the bottom of the sheet for the quick ones . Here they should imagine a day in the life of Bilbo, prior to when the novel starts. This question also encourages the pupils to use their imagination and be creative.

After the eleven minutes are over, the results will be discussed in class. The teacher will ask the pupils to present their answers to the questions of both sections and will correct any mistakes the pupils have made in the comprehension questions. It is important to ensure that the pupils have not written down incorrect answers for the comprehension questions, as this would lead to confusion in the further lessons on The Hobbit . When discussing the pupil’s results of the second section, the teacher should not correct the pupils as there is no correct or incorrect answer here. The teacher should also be tolerant of linguistic mistakes and only correct severe mistakes, as the focus here is not on grammar or vocabulary but on being creative and expressing one’s opinion. Continuous correction by the teacher might lead to the pupils being discouraged to present their results in class in the future (Thaler 2012: 318). This should take six minutes.

2.5 Post-reading

After the pupils’ answers have been discussed, the teacher will lead over to the post-reading phase. In this phase the pupils are again asked to step into the shoes of characters. However instead of simply answering questions, this part of the lesson gives the pupils a chance to be more creative.

First the teacher will play a short three-minute clip of the movie based on the novel The Hobbit . Before watching the clip the teacher will tell the pupils to pay special attention to what the trolls are saying and doing. In this short clip, the protagonists come across some trolls in the woods, who steal the group’s ponies. As Bilbo attempts to steal back their ponies, the trolls are having a conversation about what they should eat for dinner (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 0:59:25). The clip is three minutes long.


Excerpt out of 14 pages


Understanding and Interpreting Texts. "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien (Englisch 10. Klasse Realschule)
University of Augsburg
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Hobbit, Didactics, Literature, Teaching, lesson plan, school, english, lesson
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Teresa Schenk (Author), 2017, Understanding and Interpreting Texts. "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien (Englisch 10. Klasse Realschule), Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/367658


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