Unit Page

Most of The Old Man and the Sea lessons will consist of reading out loud and responding in a blog article. While this general format goes on, another unit is the driving focus (the descriptive writing piece).

When the descriptive writing piece is handed in, the focus changes entirely to Old Man and the Sea


  • To identify and explain symbols and how they're used in a work of literature (R.3.1)
  • To read and comprehend a work of literature by use of various reading strategies (R.2.3)
  • To evaluate the theme of a book to determine its quality (R.3.1)
  • To analyze the characteristics of a writer's work for influence from the historical context (R.4.2.)

Lesson Plans

Day 1

  1. Read the first three-ish pages of The Old Man and the Sea.
  2. Stop. In pairs or threes, students jot everything they know about this old man. Jot on a piece of paper in two columns. The left column is "What the text says" and the right column is "what I infer from that"
  3. Quick discussion, sharing what the group has determined.
  4. Hemingway's iceberg theory, shared.
  5. Read more--to p. 32

  • I paired this with another beginning of the year schpeal, and I should have done less talking. Thus, I came no where near page 32.

Day 2

  1. There's more there . . . be an idiot and play the transformers theme song . . .
  2. examining pages 16-17 & Mr. Sheehy's notes/questions
  3. Reading more Old Man, slight discussion about what we're reading
  4. collect: two questions students have at this point in reading (get to p. 32 minimum)
  5. Move to descriptive writing LP

Days to follow

  • Basic flow to be a short discussion about something to look for in the book & a reminder about what we have seen, then reading.

Day 5

  1. To computer lab/or somewhere. Open a blog, write intelligently about the book to this point.
  2. Back to class, read a bunch.

Later tasks

  1. Examine the list of questions created after students reached page 107 and to which students responded in a blog article.
  2. Write down four questions you find most interesting for discussion (they don't have to be the ones they wrote about)
  3. in a circle, the class tackles these questions with teacher leading discussion
  4. Finish reading OMS
  5. Respond in a blog article

Day ?1

  1. Audio excerpt on OMS
  2. two quotes on the board to consider
    • OMS is a book of hope and encouragement.
    • OMS is a book of disappointment.
    • Will need to defend either statement generally & with specifics from book
  3. spend 15 minutes collecting information to speak articulately about either argument
    • Will need to defend either statement generally & with specifics from book
  4. Discuss, socratic seminar style, with teacher leading but not intervening
    • At finish, invite closing statements to draw discussion to a halt - go until it peters or 50 minutes total
  5. Essay assigned
  6. Lots of people are down on this book, dismiss it as bad or no good. but then, others love it and have made it one of the greatest in American literature. Do they get it? What are they missing? An explanation? HELP them.
    • by explaining the following: Is OMS a book of hope and encouragement or a book of disappointment?
    • Five paragraphs. Three main points to defend thesis. 2 quotes from the book to explain each point.
Needed more time to write essay - some finished, many did not. Still looking for that medium where time is valuable but am not rewarding people for messing around.

Day ?2

  1. Lesson on inserting quotes into a text - using worksheet and power point
  2. Time for writing essay

Day ?3

  1. Blog article considering the archetypal American man
    • 15 minutes of flex time to print essays
  2. To In Another Country
    • Read the pre-writing material, consider similarity in theme to Old Man and the Sea
    • Read & do double entry journal (5 entries)
    • Discuss story & characteristics of the man, his situation, & his demeanor
  3. Read through the Hemingway "in His Time" website
  4. In a group, assemble a collection of answers to these kinds of questions
    • Overall goal: to explain who Hemingway was and how events of his day influenced his writing
    • What is the most interesting material you found about Hemingway?
    • How did Hemingway's personal life & the events of history influence what he wrote? (Said another way, how do the real world and the world of Hemingway's literature intersect?)

  • Didn't have time to do all this. For one class, jumped from 1 to 3/4, for another, did 2. Either way, had time for just one.
  • Also put the Hemingway info on a poster to be displayed in the classroom.

Day ?4

  1. Listen to the NPR piece on Hemingway, still considering what the American man is & how Hemingway's world influenced his writing
  2. Explore the In His Time piece or read/discuss "In Another Country"
  3. Read "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" from Literary Calvacade (p. 17)
    1. especially pay attention to the brief bio & exploration of Hemingway @ the end of the story.
  4. Concluding statement on Hemingway - Write Ernest Hemingway a letter explaining to him how we see him now - 46 years after his death - and what kind of influence he has had on our society.
    1. post it to the blog - make it 200 words long, minimum. Cite Old Man and the Sea, his stories, etc.

Day ?5

  1. Discussion about essays & writing them better (doing change something about central high school)
  2. Picking apart Hemingway's style, writing him a letter about his influence