Teaching Plan for College English --

Teaching Plan for College English --- Book Three,Unit Six
Unit 6
The Human Touch
Teaching Objectives
Students will be able to:
1. Grasp the main idea and structure of the text.
2. Appreciate how repeated use of clues helps weave a piece of narration together;
3. Grasp the key language points and grammatical structures in the text;
4. Conduct a series of reading, listening, speaking and writing activities related to the theme
of the unit.
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Teaching Plan for College English --- Book Three,Unit Six
Cultural Notes
O. Henry (1862-1910): pseudonym of William Sydney Porter, American writer of short
stories, best known for his ironic plot twists and surprise endings. O. Henry’s most famous
stories, such as “The Gift of the Magi,” “The Furnished Room,” and “The Ransom of Red
Chief,” make simple yet effective use of paradoxical coincidences to produce ironic endings.
For example, in “The Gift of the Magi” a husband sells his watch to buy his wife a Christmas
present of a pair of hair combs; but, she cuts and sells her long hair to buy him a Christmas
present of a new chain for his watch. His style of storytelling became a model not only for
short fiction, but also for American motion pictures and television programs.
Writing at the rate of more than one story per week, O. Henry published ten collections of
stories during a career that barely spanned a decade. They are Cabbages and Kings (1904),
The Four Million (1906), Heart of the West (1907), The Gentle Grafter (1908), The Voice of
the City (1908), Options (1909), Roads of Destiny (1909), Whirligigs (1910), and Strictly
Business (1910). The collections Sixes and Sevens (1911), Rolling Stones (1912), and Waifs
and Strays (1917) were published after his death. In 1919 the O. Henry Memorial Awards for
the best American short stories published each year were founded by the Society of Arts and
Sciences. The Complete Works of O. Henry was published in 1953.
O. Henry's stories have a variety of settings, but most of them are laid in either New York
City or Texas. His characters include shopgirls and millionaires, policemen and burglars,
cowboys and tramps, confidence men and southern gentlemen, and other assorted types. His
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Teaching Plan for College English --- Book Three,Unit Six
manner is usually that of the garrulous taleteller, and his style is almost invariably breezy,
flippant, and slangy, with puns, malapropisms, and big words used for humorous effect. His
stories are liberally sprinkled with asides in which he addresses the reader in a familiar and
chatty tone. Literary allusions, often made facetiously, are common, and there are many
references to other writers....Although he usually used stock story formulas, O. Henry had an
undoubted gift for devising ingenious variations on them. Coincidence figures largely in his
stories, and they often have a surprise twist, or "snapper," as O. Henry called it. Unabashed
sentiment and the broadest kind of comedy and burlesque are other conspicuous ingredients.
In addition, O. Henry usually made his contrived stories illustrate some more or less serious
1. Have you ever heard about this story?
2. Which character in the story impresses you most? Why?
3. What is the essential message the writer wants to convey through
the story?
* Main idea: The Human Touch means being kind to others.
* Writing:
Teaching Point
(1) The story is built around the main thread of the last ivy leaf and
the other minor threads: the doctor’s visits, the changing
attitudes of Johnsy and the masterpiece of Old Behrman.
(2) The story is composed of seven scenes.
(3) The dialogues between the different characters gave life to the
subject of the story.
Language Content
1. hang on to: to hold sth tightly
Hang on to that rope and don’t let go.
Hang on to the rail or you’ll fall.
2. hold out: to offer
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Teaching Plan for College English --- Book Three,Unit Six
These plans hold out the prospect of new jobs for the area.
I don’t hold out much hope that the weather will improve.
3. in tune: harmonious(ly) (often followed by with; the opposite: out
of tune)
His ideas are in tune with the times.
The price of gold coins fluctuates in tune with that of commodities.
4. joint: held or done by two or more persons together
She had taken the money out of the joint account she had with her
There are a number of different forms of business ownership, such
as partnerships, corporations and joint ventures.
5. stalk: (of an evil force) move through (a place) in a threatening
way; move quietly and cautiously in order to get near
When night falls, danger stalks the streets of the city.
The criminal stalked his victims like a hunter after a deer.
6. scarcely: not quite; almost not
I can scarcely remember when I last ate home-baked bread.
The couple has scarcely gone out since the baby was born.
7. subtract: take (a number, quantity) away from
Passenger cars can be added or subtracted at either end of the
subway train.
When total taxes are subtracted from personal income, the
remainder is called disposable income.
Students were given much practice in writing, adding, subtracting,
multiplying, dividing and reading.
8. backward: with the back or end first
The helicopter can travel forward, backward, or sideways.
Radar tests indicated Venus was actually rotating backward,
compared with our planet.
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Teaching Plan for College English --- Book Three,Unit Six
9. bare: without covering, clothing, or decoration
Soil held in place by plant roots is less likely to blow or wash
away than bare soil.
In giving first aid to an electric-shock victim, a caregiver must not
touch the victim with bare hands.
10. dreary: dull; gloomy; causing low spirit
By the time they had waited five hours for their delayed flight,
everyone looked dreary.
She had spent a dreary day in the dormitory writing the term
11. turn loose: allow (sth) to be free of control
The sick whale will be taken care of by the scientists before being
turned loose.
The soldiers turned the prisoners loose one by one shortly after the
city was conquered.
12. look the part: have an appearance for a particular job, role, or
I think he must be a captain—he certainly looks the part.
Despite looking the part, Smith was not an artist at all.
13. to excess: to an extreme degree
His father never smoked or drank to excess.
Red meat, very high in fat and calories, is harmful to health if
eaten to excess.
14. for the rest: as regards other matters
The book contains some interesting passages about the author’s
childhood. For the rest, it is rather dull.
The working conditions in my new job are excellent, but for the
rest, I am not impressed.
15. fierce
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Teaching Plan for College English --- Book Three,Unit Six
1) violent and angry
A fierce police dog was chained to a wall.
It was estimated that the fierce storm killed at least several
thousand people and left more than one million homeless.
2) Intense; strong
The world is becoming a global market, and the competition
is fierce.
While Apple enjoyed brighter sales, competitors in the IBM
PC world fought a fierce battle for market share.
16. mock: ridicule; make fun of
They mocked him and called him a coward.
Don’t mock at him just because he keeps falling off his bike.
17. fancy: sth. Imagined; unfounded opinion or belief
The forecasts in his book were not wild fancies.
I think the story is a mixture of fact and fancy.
18. steam: move in a continuous flow; pour out
The river steamed past my house.
Sweat was streaming down his face.
The workers came streaming out of the gates, all heading for
home at the end of their shift.
19. mingle: mix (followed by with)
The singer’s style mingles jazz and country music.
Many traditions have mingled to form modern American
Christmas celebrations and folklore.
20. pull up: raise
I sat at my desk, knees pulled up at my chin.
The old woman pulled the curtain up to see what was going on
21. wear away
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Teaching Plan for College English --- Book Three,Unit Six
1) (of time) pass gradually
They didn’t reach an agreement. Instead they wore the
afternoon away in arguing.
The day wore away, and we still couldn’t find a solution to
the problem.
2) (cause to) become thin or damaged by constant use
The steps have been worn away by the feet of thousands of
The pattern on the handle had completely worn away.
22. cling to: hold tight to
The child is clinging to his mother’s legs.
Another man was rescued as he clung to the riverbank.
23. call to: attract the attention of (sb) by speaking out
The fisherman called to the villagers on the shore.
Every morning we can hear various birds calling to one another in
the park.
24. acute
1) (of disease) coming quickly to the critical stage
She was taken to the hospital suffering from acute
His disease is not acute but chronic.
2) Severe
The company is said to be suffering from acute financial
Food shortages in some African countries are becoming acute.
25. be wet through: be wet all over
My mother came home wet through.
Their house was flooded: the carpet was wet through and the
furniture was ruined.
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Teaching Plan for College English --- Book Three,Unit Six
26. flutter: (cause to) move about in a quick, irregular way
The ugly ducking fluttered into the milk-pan, and splashed the
milk about the room.
Birds sang and fluttered in the trees and bushes.
Text B Thank you, Ma’m
Self study with teacher’s assistance and a reference book.
Essay writing : ( 150 words )
Write an essay about what you find most touching in the stories
in this unit.
Exercises of Text A & B
Supplementary Materials
Reading work in Reading Course (to be checked and explained)
Fast reading practice (to be done in class)
Read other O Henry’s novels to get a further understanding of his writing style.
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