Friday, February 25, 2022

Lord of the Flies Lesson Plan

 A friend of mine shared this with me this morning so I thought I would pass it along.  It is going to be my new lesson plan for Lord of the Flies this year!

The comic comes from The Jenkins Comics blog.

If you don't teach this book, consider it.  It is a great book to get struggling and reluctant readers into, though you will need to probably skip a chapter here or there to keep them from losing focus.  The symbolism is over the top, so many of them get that "A-ha!" moment when they finally understand what symbolism is all about.  Plus, the characters of Jack, Ralph, and Piggy resonant with the students. 

While you are at it, if you teach Lord of the Flies, try out my interactive survival game at the EET Store.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Quick Reading Aloud Tip

 Reading aloud is an important modeling tool for teaching non-readers how good readers read.  When it comes to reading dialogue, you may want to avoid reading different voices if the character is a different gender or race than you as it could be seen as mocking, stereotypical, or insensitive.

So does that mean it you can't differentiate between voices?  Of course not.  

One trick is the direction in which you read.  For instance, I was just reading today the dialogue between Christopher and Mrs. Alexander in the park in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  When Christopher spoke, I looked to the left.  When Mrs. Alexander spoke, I looked to the right side of the classroom.  When neither of them spoke, I aimed my voice right down the middle of the class.  It is a nifty trick for giving a difference between voices and I do not have to point out that I am doing that with the kids. 

It's a small thing with big results.

If you have any reading aloud tips, please share them int he comments!

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Teaching Inference with "The Chaser" by John Collier

John Collier has an excellent short story for teaching inference to high school students.  It is called, "The Chaser."

You can get a copy of it here:

If you've never read the story, do so now.  It won't take you long.  I'll wait.

For lower reading level classes, I like to put groups in teams and let them read it together and figure out why  the glove cleaner does.  The story is short (the version I found above has it in three pages, but the hard copy of the one I use in class is one page front and back) which is important to me.  I need my works short so we can focus on the matter at hand.

The story itself is fun. Now, when you or I read the story, we immediately see how this old man is setting up the younger man.  We understand that this "love" he will experience can only be solved with the "glove cleaner", but the students don't.  Especially 9th and 10th graders.  They struggle. 

So I let them try and figure it out as a competition.  The first group to figure it out gets a prize (homework passes or team points).  The second group gets a little less. The third group a little less.

I also have hints that they can buy with their team points (but you can maybe use something else if you aren't playing a game in your class).

How long will it take?  Well, it depends on how good your students are.  I always have a homework assignment that they should work on while waiting for the other teams to finish.  It usually takes about 30 minutes total, but I've had it last for over 45 minutes before.