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That Was Then,This is Now

Description 

The purpose of this activity is to help students explore the way characters or settings have changed or not changed over the course of the text. It will help students make connections between the causes and effects of events in the text. As students think about changes or lack of changes in character or setting, they will delve into a deeper understanding of the text. For example, if a character has changed, students would connect the character at the beginning to the character at the end and analyze or infer what caused that change. After reading a text, students will create a three-column graphic organizer. They will label the columns “That Was Then,” “This is Now,” and “Reflection.”

Preparation 

Read the entire text before beginning this activity. Create a sample graphic organizer to model for students. You can either create a graphic organizer that you distribute to students or they can write their own in a journal or notebook. Select a character or setting that you can use during your model of the activity.
Activity Steps 
  1. Introduce That Was Then, This is Now.
    Introduce the activity to students by explaining to students the significance of the title, “That Was Then, This Is Now.” A fun way to get students thinking in these terms is to ask them to think about themselves at five years old and today: · What were you like then? What are you like now? · Are there ways in which you remained the same and ways that you changed? · What in your life contributed to that change and lack of change?
  2. Model filling in the graphic organizer for students.
    Model for students a change in a character or the setting over the course of the text. In the first column, describe the character at the beginning of the text. In the second column, describe the character at the end of the text. In the third column, reflect on the change or lack of change of the character. See the final step below for ideas about how to guide students to reflect and analyze character change.
  3. Fill in the first column, “That Was Then.”
    In this column students will describe a character at the beginning of the text. Encourage students to expand their thinking beyond any physical descriptions, to focus on emotional descriptions. How did the character think, feel, or act at the beginning of the text? Students should support their answer with textual evidence, which could be a citation with page numbers from the text.
  4. Fill in the second column, “This Is Now.”
    In this column students will describe a character at the end of the text. Encourage students to expand their thinking beyond any physical descriptions, to focus on emotional descriptions. How did the character think, feel, or act at the end of the text? Students should support their answer with textual evidence, which could be a citation with page numbers from the text.
  5. Fill in the third column, “Reflection.”
    In this column, students will reflect on the change or lack of change that occurred in the character over the course of the text. Reflections will be text-dependent. Here are a few sample questions: · What caused the character to change? · What was the impact of that change? · Why do you think this character did not change? · How was this character able to maintain their values/morals throughout the text?
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