Middle school students are very social creatures (for the most part). They enjoy talking, debating, and listening to what others have to say (well, okay, maybe they are working on the listening part).
Anyhow, after reading Readicide by Kelly Gallagher,
I decided to revisit my approach to teaching The Outsiders this year. Last year, I required students to find quotes from each chapter that addressed our essential questions. Not only did they have to find the quotes, they had to provide the context and an analysis of each one. I will admit that we had some great discussions using this method. However, what better way to kill the love of a book than to require students to stop every few pages and complete a quote response? Gallagher asserts that there is a happy medium, and I agree!
This year I assigned three chapters as homework. Students read the chapters without interruption. In class, I numbered them off. Each number correlated to an assigned chapter, and students had to then revisit the chapter to find a quote that they felt was most important. They had to write an analysis of the quote, as well as explain the context.
|An excellent STUDENT SELECTED quote|
|Student selected quote addressing the essential question regarding loyalty|
What really impressed me was how respectful they were! Even if they didn't speak, the demonstrated good listening skills. I feel all students gained a deeper understanding of the chapters after participating in the fish bowl activity.
|The people on the outside are observing those in the fish bowl.|
Also, this activity addresses so many of the Common Core Standards