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The Outsiders

Anyone else remember reading The Outsiders in middle school?  I remember reading it in 7th grade in 1981. Oh how I loved that book!  Then came the movie!  Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Leif Garret, Matt Dillon, and Patrick Swayze were some of the actors in this Francis Ford Coppola film.  I have to admit that it was a little depressing this year when I mentioned that Tom Cruise was in the movie, and only one student said, "I think I have heard of him."  

Yet, here it is 2014 and my students are enjoying this book as much as I did.  On the surface the book is about two rival "gangs," the Socs and the Greasers.  However, the book is about so much more.  It is about stereotypes and prejudging people.  It's about true friendship, family, and loyalty.  It's about courage and growing up.  That makes it the perfect book for middle schoolers.

I started off the unit with a web quest about the 1960s to get the students acquainted with the setting of the novel.  They listened to music, looked at clothing styles,  learned about drive-ins, compared prices from then and now, and checked out Mustangs and Corvairs.  The web quest is in my Google Classroom if you are interested!

The kids were amazed to learn that the author is a female and was only a teen herself when she wrote the book!  

In addition to completing annotations/analysis of quotes, students will be reading about the teenage brain, and the juvenile justice system.  Students will be marking the text and tracing an author's argument.  Both of these topics complement the book.  Eventually, all students will write their own informational essay about a topic of their choice.  However, it must involve some research, and it must be about  something relevant to teens.  I am looking forward to reading these essays, and I think the students will enjoy writing about them!  

Since many of you have probably read the book or have seen the movie, it would be a great topic to discuss with your child!

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