Mining for Examples

Analyzing the Text
Ongoing Activity
Grades 6–12
Language Arts, History
Individual, Small group


  • Students will reinforce their analytical and critical thinking skills.
  • Students will practice working collaboratively.
  • Students will collaboratively create a study guide for the novel.


This is an ongoing activity that lends itself to working with novels or other book-length works. Ideally, this can be done online. However, this activity can also be successfully done by making and distributing photocopies of student work.

Materials Needed/Preparation

  • If working digitally, prepare your online documents (optional).
  • Have copies of the Mining Sample Project.
  • Based on how the reading assignments are broken out, match each student or set of partners with a reading assignment (or part of one).
  • ~This can be done in partners or in small groups.
  • ~Books with chapters are more easily adapted for this activity. For books with few chapters, such as The Red Pony, break up the assignment into fair/equal parts for each student or set of partners.
  • Create a list of takeaways that include important themes, scenes, symbolism, etc. for each section of reading.

Estimated Time

20-30 minutes to set up the activity. Then, students work on it primarily at home.


Introduce the activity, and distribute a sample outline/template.

  • Consider posting this sample online as well.

For their assigned section(s) of the readings, students will do the following:

  • List the major themes/issues from the reading.
  • Site specific examples, scenes, quotations, etc. that exhibit these themes.
  • Explain/analyze the example.
  • ~How does it connect to the themes of the chapter (section, etc.)?
  • ~How does it connect to the themes of the book?
  • ~Why is this passage important?
  • ~Any form of analytical reaction can be valid.
  • Submit write-up.
  • ~Ideally, this is done in a digital environment.
  • ~If done in hard copy form, students will turn in their write-up. Photocopies need to be made and distributed to the class.
  • It is important to check student progress throughout the project. Check student write-ups on a daily basis; ensure accuracy and thoroughness.
  • Consider doing this at the beginning of class while students are working on an opening activity/journal assignment.

Student analyses can/should be used for class discussions, quizzes, etc.

Post Activity/Takeaways/Follow-up


  • Students are creating a study guide for the novel and should have a more thorough understanding of the themes, characters, and important passages in the book. (Also see Study Guides.)


  • It is important that student write-ups be examined by the teacher before distributing them to the entire class. Be certain that the write-ups are accurate.


  • When assessing student work, take into consideration individual student progress in analytical reading and writing.
  • Based on the takeaways created by the teacher:
  • ~Did the student address all parts of the outline/template?
  • ~How thoroughly did the student examine the reading?
  • ~Did the student use proper examples from the novel to support her/his analyses?

California State Content Standards Met

  • History-Social Science Content Standards 6-8
  • ~Research, Evidence, and Point of View: 2, 3
  • Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1, 2, 3
  • ~Craft and Structure: 4, 5, 6

Common Core State Standards Met

  • Reading Standards for Informational Text 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1, 2, 3
  • ~Craft and Structure: 4, 5, 6
  • Writing Standards 6-12
  • ~Text Types and Purposes: 1, 2
  • ~Production and Distribution of Writing: 4, 5, 6
  • ~Research to Build and Present Knowledge: 9
  • Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
  • ~Comprehension and Collaboration: 1
  • ~Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: 5
  • Language Standards 6-12
  • ~Conventions of Standards of English: 1, 2, 3
  • ~Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: 4, 5
  • Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1, 2, 3
  • ~Craft and Structure: 4, 5, 6

Related Lesson Plans for this Work