Tag Archive for Lord of the Flies

Ad Analysis: Contemporary Ads Paired With Novels

I think all teachers cringe when they hear “when I am ever going to use this again.”  I like to believe the dumbfounded look combined with annoyance is part of a teacher’s DNA.  I can’t help it.  It is unnatural for me to respond any other way.  Even though I think yesterday’s discussion of using primary source advertisements in the classroom is valid and important, I think a lot of students feel so detached from them because of their publication.  But that doesn’t mean the skills are lost.  It just means that, as teachers, we need to find current advertisements that connect thematically to the literature.  Today we are celebrating Digital Literacy Day and suggesting online print ads that are much more striking and Read more

Argument Analysis: Literature Connections

While the GRE prompts and suggestions for this week are great for an AP English Language class because of the focus on argument, these prompts could also work really well when partnered with literature. The pool of “Analyze an Issue” prompts tend to work better when pairing with literature because of the nature of the prompts and the brevity of the statements.  The beauty of these prompts is that they could be used at any point within a novel; however, I think they serve as an excellent way to introduce the text.  Similar to what was stated yesterday, I struggle to write my own quality statements for anticipation guides; they tend to be generic and fairly short-sighted.  Now I just use GRE prompts because they are complex enough to generate really meaningful discussion.

Consider using some of the suggestions on Tuesday and Wednesday to incorporate the below prompts as a form of an anticipation guide or use some of the suggestions from our week on anticipation guides.  You could have the students thoroughly analyze or debate one of the below issues or compile multiple statements into for students to consider the extent to which they agree with each.

TEXTS WITH MAN v. SOCIETY CONFLICT-like The Great Gatsby, Grapes of Wrath, Pygmalion, and Crime and Punishment

  • People’s behavior is largely determined by forces not of their own making.
  • Claim: The best way to understand the character of a society is to examine the character of the men and women that the society chooses as its heroes or its role models. Reason: Heroes and role models reveal a society’s highest ideals.
  • The increasingly rapid pace of life today causes more problems than it solves.

TEXTS WITH MAN v. SELF CONFLICT-like Death of a Salesman, Catcher in the Rye, Hamlet, and Lord of the Flies

  • Unfortunately, in contemporary society, creating an appealing image has become more important than the reality or truth behind that image.
  • As we acquire more knowledge, things do not become more comprehensible, but more complex and mysterious.
  • It is primarily through our identification with social groups that we define ourselves.
  • The luxuries and conveniences of contemporary life prevent people from developing into truly strong and independent individuals.

TEXTS WITH MAN V MAN CONFLICT-like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Separate Peace, and To Kill a Mockingbird

  • Claim: We can usually learn much more from people whose views we share than from those whose views contradict our own.  Reason: Disagreement can cause stress and inhibit learning.
  • In any situation, progress requires discussion among people who have contrasting points of view.
  • Scandals are useful because they focus our attention on problems in ways that no speaker or reformer ever could.

TEXTS WITH POLITICAL UNDERCURRENTS: like All the King’s Men, Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, and Julius Caesar

  • The well-being of a society is enhanced when many of its people question authority.
  • Governments should not fund any scientific research whose consequences are unclear.
  • Leaders are created by the demands that are placed on them.
  • Claim: In any field—business, politics, education, government—those in power should step down after five years.  Reason: The surest path to success for any enterprise is revitalization through new leadership.
  • Some people believe that in order to be effective, political leaders must yield to public opinion and abandon principle for the sake of compromise. Others believe that the most essential quality of an effective leader is the ability to remain consistently committed to particular principles and objectives.

Week in Review: Non Fiction to Pair with Coming of Age

 

           Friday Dialogue from                

                                      Your Two Favorite Educators 

As Emily and Aubrey look back over the week they use their razor sharp wit to discuss teen angst, Ugg boots, and coming of age novels.

1.)  Tuesday’s post links to George Will’s article that harshly criticizes teens for wearing denim. What clothing item that teens wear would you like to critically memorialize in your own op-ed?

Aubrey: Ugg boots. With skirts. And no tights. How is that a look? What does it say? I like to dress up but wear slipper moon boots? Ick.

Emily: I completely agree. What is with the skirt and boots? Isn’t the point of boots to wear them when it’s cold? Why wear a skirt when you’re cold? I also have another pet peeve. What is with boys wearing skin tight pants and bright neon shoes? I feel like an old lady but just don’t understand that look either. Read more

Non-Fiction to Pair with Coming of Age: Conflict

Ugh…junior high.  Even though I interviewed for a high school position, the first job offer I received was for 6th grade.  It was also the first job I rejected.  People told me I was a dumb naïve 22-year-old (which I very well might have been), but I remembered too vividly how horrible junior high and the early years of high school were.  We were all on a quest to understand ourselves and in the process created insecurities and anxieties, all of which came about because of envy.  While I’ve worked through (most of) my deep-seeded insecurities, I’m still surrounded by them through my students.  There is something about adolescence that perpetuates this sense of envy and usually serves as the largest source of conflict in high school.  Even though the students might not realize it, so many of their disputes and problems come from a type of envy they feel toward another.  The same is true of the literature that reflects this growth and initiation into adulthood.  When studying the conflict that arises in coming-of-age novels, students need to consider the root of it:  envy.  The below examples of non-fiction pair nicely with fiction because they pose questions about the nature and effects of envy and fighting. 

Excerpt from The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer, Arthur Schopenhauer.  A more challenging piece of non-fiction, Schopenhauer delineates the different types of envy and the cause of them.  Have students identify the various types of envy described by Schopenhauer and argue which type best correlates with characters from the fiction they are reading.  Natural connections with fiction can be found with Lord of the Flies, Hamlet, House on Mango Street, the Harry Potter series, and Atonement.

Excerpt from On Duties, Cicero.  Another challenging essay, Cicero evaluates the nature of fighting as it is born out of envy.  He ascertains that the way in which we treat others during battle reveals a lot about the character of the individual.  Even though this text deals primarily with war, this could be explored in a more figurative sense with the conflict between two characters.  Again, provide the essay and have students determine how Cicero would describe the moral fiber of the characters based on their knowledge of both the non-fiction and fiction pieces.  Consider pairing this with The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn, Hamlet, and Lord of the Flies.

Non-Fiction to Pair with Coming of Age: Examine the Teenager

Image from Vivian Chen

Teenagers love themselves and all are, to some degree, self absorbed.  Seriously.  If I had a $5 Arby’s gift card for every time a student made some self-important comment I’d be rolling in Beef ‘N Cheddars.

But I don’t fault them.  That is the perk of being a teenager, right?  Living without consequence or fear or responsibility.  Yet, because of their narcissistic view, they often struggle to see the big picture because they struggle to see outside of their immediate lives.  This certainly causes a problem for interpretation.  As a teacher of teenagers, I feel it is my duty to make them more self-aware and ask them to evaluate who they are and what they believe and where these values came from, which will allow them to better evaluate a text.

Coming-of-age novels are typically brought into the classroom for students to relate to and learn from.  Reading a novel in this genre allows students the opportunity to place themselves in the situations and scenarios and consider how they would respond if they were the main character.  Yet, it is important for us to not just keep the self-exploration limited to the text itself.  For some students, it is impossible to connect to a character from the 19th century, regardless of the similar traits they possess.  Therefore, providing contemporary essays and articles about their generation as a supplement to the coming-of-age novel allows students a great opportunity to examine themselves and their values in the guise of fiction.

Below are a series of essays/articles that explore the current nature of the teenager and would serve as nice supplements to pieces of literature.

  • A Generations vanity NYTarticle by John Tierney-NYT: This article examines the lyrics of songs popular with contemporary teenagers and deduces that the narcissicism encourages a sense of isolation and loneliness.  This article might be a nice supplement to a song/text comparison, which allows students to discuss how music becomes an indicator of a group’s mentality.  Even though this article addresses the narcissistic nature of teenagers, due to its discussion of depression it can be appropriately be connected to pieces like Hamlet,  Catcher in the Rye, The Chocolate War, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
  • Demon Denim,” op-ed by George Will from The Washington Post:  This conversationally constructed opinion piece is a fascinating look at the moral degeneration of today’s teenagers and their inability to “grow up.”  Ask students to study the root of Will’s argument and evaluate the extent to which it is true today.  While it might not always align with the main character, consider pairing this op-ed with many of the pieces stated above as well as This Side of Paradise, Lord of the Flies, and A Separate Peace.
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death Postman,” excerpt from Neil Postman book:  Critic Neil Postman is known for his clear and often biting opinions.  In this piece he critiques the way in which culture has created an ill-informed society that has a difficult time thinking for oneself.  While this piece is centered around media, it can be used as a study of how teenagers are ultimately shaped by their environment and the manner in which they bend to fit into various cultures.  Ask students to examine the consequences of Postman’s argument and then compare and contrast it with the fictionalized characters in pieces like Never Let Me Go, Atonement, and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

Reading Quizzes: Day One

You know you’re old when you start a story with “Well, I remember when…”

Okay, yeah, I’m old.  At least I’m not denying it.  Hi, my name is Emily…and I’m 31.  I’m sure you are all responding in typical AA fashion with “Hi, Emily.”  At least this realization hasn’t sent me into a quarter-life crisis (or maybe it has and that is why I’m contributing to this blog).

With this admission of age, I now begin my story with…

Well, I remember when I was sitting in my sophomore English class and our teacher, who seemed in my young naive mind to be an old, debilitated, frail man (who was in all actuality probably 31), wanted to go over the answers to our recent unit test over Lord of the Flies. Read more

Weekend Tech: ITunes U Part 2

Yesterday I profiled a teacher treasure:  ITunes U.  A scholarly resource equipped with videos and podcasts that are appropriate for and accessible in classrooms through a teacher’s ITunes account.  Even though ITunes U has material for every discipline (history, religion, art, music, etc.), today I’m going to profile some of my favorite outlets within the site and some ways they can be used in the classroom. These can be found through doing a search in ITunes.

 

UPenn’s 60 Second Lectures:  During the spring and fall UPenn’s School of Arts and Sciences invites professors to give a guest lecture to the campus on their favorite topics.  However, the professors are limited to sixty seconds.  Imagine summing up a topic as sweeping as the Crusades in one minute while making it witty and enjoyable to the majority.  Not an easy task.  Yet the professors manage to accomplish it with flair and precision.  Even though they are sixty seconds and prepared by ivy league professors, the material is widely accessible to students of all ages and abilities.

Read more