The books were assigned grade levels based mostly on reading level and thematic material.
We attempted to choose texts that represent a variety of genres and themes. We chose a combination of "classic"/canonical literature and contemporary literature.The authors chosen represent a variety of backgrounds.
Many of these books also have common themes that would recur throughout five years of literature study. Some of our books were also chosen to correspond with content from other subject areas to promote cross-curricular studies.
Capricorn "Cap" Anderson is a young teen who has grown up in virtual isolation on a small hippie farm commune. Cap's only connection with the outside world has been his teacher, mentor and grandmother Rain, who has always viewed their isolation as a blessing from the tumultuous, greed and money-driven mentality of the fast-paced outside world. However, when Rain has an accident that requires weeks of rehabilitation, Cap finds himself smack-dab in the middle of junior high: a world of which he never dreamed. With his clothing and mental character fresh out of the 1960s, Cap may as well have come from a different planet!
Cap's classmates immediately size him up as an easy target. They conspire to get Cap elected class president, thinking that the results of putting someone so clueless as to how the world works in charge will prove to be hilarious. However, what begins as a cruel joke becomes a perspective-changing experience, not only for Cap, but for his school peers as well. Slowly but surely Cap wins over the student body with his simple innocence, generous spirit and his refusal to compromise himself and his beliefs about the goodness in people.
Gallery Walk - Anticipation Guide (before reading): Throughout the novel Cap provides tidbits of wisdom, collected from his grandmother during his time at Garland. These short phrases could be used as an anticipation guide for students who are beginning the novel. 1. Instructor will place poster paper at various places around the room at eye level. Each poster will have on it written a nugget of Rain's advice/sayings. The students will take the first 10 minutes of class to circulate and read each poster and mark whether or not they agree , disagree or don't know . 2. Once everyone has placed a marker on each poster we will deconstruct the phrases and discuss, one by one. 3. Keep these posters visible in the classroom. As the novel progresses, examples of these phrases, or notes and thoughts discovered through discussion and reading could be added to the poster. Students may find these posters handy when organizing thoughts or ideas from discussions in class later, especially if they are to write a paper or report on the novel.
The novel Schooled is told through multiple character points of view, and not solely that of the protagonist and this allows for an in-depth look at many characters in the novel since we can experience their own thoughts , and feelings , as well as what they say (dialogue), why they say it (intentions) and what others say of them (impressions). Keeping track of the various characters is an activity that the whole class can do together.
large poster-boards (one for each character chosen to study)
markers of various colours
lots of wall space
Instructor will outline various student bodies onto the poster-boards (these will be "life-size" silhouettes) and each poster-board will be labelled with the character's name. These posters will be placed in an area where each student has visual access. As the students progress through the novel multiple aspects of these characters will be revealed, discussed, and analyzed. When aspects of the characters are revealed, impressions and opinions, as well as quotations that student's pull from the novel to support those opinions, will be written on the poster-boards.
Inside the silhouette , quotes and impressions will be written that come directly from the character themselves. Outside of the silhouette will be written quotes and impressions about that character that come from others. Various colours of markers will help to keep the posters organized, ex: red could be used when it is a direct quotation, blue for internal thoughts of characters and green for class opinions.
This is an on-going activity that can constantly be referred to and added to. It will help students to connect with characters and those characters' interactions with others. As a visual stimulus in the classroom this can also help students who are having a harder time keeping track of the various characters as well as working toward an understanding of how to collect evidence from a novel or book. Should the class be required at the end of their novel study to write a report or essay about the novel these posters can prove to be extremely useful for gathering thoughts, ideas and opinions.
Activity adapted from Linda Christensen: Christensen, L. (2009). Teaching for joy and justice: re-imagining the language arts classroom . Milwaukee: Rethinking Schools Publication.
T'ai Chi 太極拳 "Supreme Ultimate Fist": Throughout the novel, the protagonist, Capricorn Anderson frequently practices T'ai Chi and uses this ancient art of defense training and exercise to bond with other students in the school. T'ai Chi is a form of internal Chinese martial art. The martial art is referred to as internal because it is occupied with spiritual, mental or chi-related aspects (energy flow), as opposed to an external approach focused on physiology. Set-Up: Using a set of guided questions that the class develops together, students will research the art of T'ai Chi Chen using the school library, personal knowledge and the internet. A class will be set aside to combine our collected knowledge and to discuss `what we know so far` and `what we would like to know`. This will be turned into a collection of questions. Practicing T'ai Chi: During the novel study the instructor, through communication with a local T'ai Chi group, will arrange a visit to the school by a member of the T'ai Chi community or for the classroom to make a visit to the T'ai Chi studio. At their visit they will be introduced to the art of T'ai Chi and learn a short series of movements to get a taste of its rich depth. Students will also have an opportunity to ask questions of the instructor about the movements and/or the history of the art form. The Taoist Tai Chi Society , located on Pembina Hwy in Winnipeg has many practitioners of T'ai Chi who are graciously willing to share their skills and knowledge with any interested in the art form. These organizations exist throughout the world and the practitioners are usually more than happy to share their knowledge with those who seek it.
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
"At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love."
"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."
Selected Quotations from Mahatma Ghandi:
“ Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.”
“ Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or other will always be needed.”
“ As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves.”
Selected Quotations from John Lennon:
“ All you need is love.”
“ I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I'm one of those people.”
“ If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.”
“ If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliche that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that's his problem. Love and peace are eternal.”
Summary of The Bite of the Mango This is the true story about Mariatu, a 12 year old girl living in a small village in Sierra Leone with her family. One day they hear of rebel soldiers coming towards their village so they decide to flee to a neighbouring village. They never made it. Some of Mariatu's family was murdered in front of her and her hands were amputated by the soldiers, who were no older than she was. After this traumatic experience Mariatu is sent to a refugee camp, when she was healthy enough, and was reunited with some of her family. She deals with depression and suicidal thoughts but starts to deal with her depression by joining a theatre troupe. In the refugee group, she met a Canadian journalist who decided to sponsor her to Canada. Mariatu now lives in Toronto, with a Sierra Leonean family. She is also a UNICEF spokesperson on the impact of war on children.
This first activitity is something to do with your students before reading the book. Split your class into groups of 3-5 and provide each group with a large piece of paper and markers to use to create a grafitti board. Each group will have a different question to address and then present their question and the ideas they came up with to the class. Some questions may be:
What do you know about Sierra Leone?
What do you know about the wars in Africa over the past 15 years?
Is war ever justified?
What do you think about dreams? Do dreams have any special meaning?
What stereotypes do people with physical disabilities face?
Activity #2 - During Reading Once the students have read enough the the novel to have an understanding of the actions and consequences of what was happening in Sierra Leone at the time of Mariatu's torture, have them look at different texts concerning war. Provide a variety of mediums for students to interact with including but not limited to: poems, videos, short stories, songs and art. Have students pick one of the mediums/pieces presented and provide a brief explanation as to how the piece relates to the novel. Students will then share these opinions with the class in a talking circle format. A way to really enhance student engagement could be to ask them to provide their own example of a medium/piece that relates to Mariatu's experience in the novel.
Activity #3 - Post-reading Activity After reading the novel, have the students choose a social justice project. This project would inquiry based, where students choose a social justice issue, local, national or international, that they are interested in. Once they have chosen a social justice issue, have the students brainstorm ideas of how they could make a difference, such as fundraising, creating a video, starting a club or creating an info session for other classes concerning the issue. After brainstorming a few ideas, the group would chose one idea to pursue and then present the issue, the idea, the process and the product to the rest of the class. There would be a few restrictions, such as groups of 3 or 4 people, everyone must present part of the project to the class, there must be a written aspect in every project, a summary of every student's role within the group, and a rationale as to why you chose the particular social issue.
Complementary Texts Hunger by Nicolas Guillen (poem) Art of War #4 http://bit.ly/z72B9l Art of War #102 http://bit.ly/y1Cquw Art of War #51 http://bit.ly/y1Cquw Imagine - John Lennon (song) Hero of War - Rise Against (song) A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah (novel)
Grade 10: Book List Animal Farm - George Orwell Paddle to the Amazon - Don Starkell The Gap - Ian Ross Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence - Doris Pilkington Garimara Amistad - Walter Dean Myers
Book Review George Orwell’s 1945 novel Animal Farm is a great work of literature and a perfect complement to any course about 20th century history. It will also fit into an integrated English-Geography unit on "Food from the Land". The plot is simple. The owner of Manor Farm treats his animals badly. The animals revolt, chase away the humans, and rename their home “Animal Farm”. Led by the clever pigs, they build a community based on animal equality and avoiding the vices of humans. A shrewd pig called Napoleon takes over and gradually destroys every ideal upon which the farm was based. Napoleon and the pigs become more cruel and corrupt than the humans. The novel is often seen as an allegory about the Russian Revolution, with Napoleon as Stalin.
Book Review Continued The novel contains dark humour, including an amusing episode in which the pigs discover alcohol and get very drunk. The book also includes sad episodes, such as when Boxer (literally the farm’s chief work-horse), who believes that Napoleon is always right, becomes too ill to work, and is sold by Napoleon to the glue factory. Orwell includes some provocative minor characters, such as Moses the raven, who tells the animals about a magic place called Sugarcandy Mountain, in which all animals are happy. In the Russian Revolution analogy, Moses is the Russian Orthodox Church. Through Moses, Orwell raises questions about the role of organized religions. Incidentally, the novel is rich with biblical allusions.
Even More..... Animal Farm is short. Orwell does not waste a single word and, at the end, the reader feels that there is no more to be said.
Activity #1: Pre-reading Activity: Analysis of Book Covers Task: Viewing book covers, to predict what will happen in the novel. Criteria: The teacher selects a variety of book covers for the novel, divides the class into groups and gives each group a different cover. Each group has to analyse their cover, using a set of questions provided by the teacher, such as: “Why do you think the publisher chose these images?” Each group writes its answers on a sheet of chart paper. Each group presents its cover and conclusions to the entire class, and answers any questions that other students may have. Intent: To get students thinking about the relationship between images on a book cover and the content of the book.
Activity #2: Reading Activity: Farm Field Trip Task: The class goes on a field trip to a farm Criteria: On the farm, the class will be shown a variety of animals (e.g. pigs, horses, chickens) and their living areas. Students will take notes about how each type of animal lives, how it’s fed, where it sleeps, what contact it has with other animals. Intent: To allow the students to compare the daily lives of the animals in the novel with the lives of animals on a Manitoba farm today.
Activity #3: Post-Reading: Cue Card Plot Summary T ask: To summarize the plot of a chapter in a concise format. Criteria: Students will be in groups of 3 or 4. Each group is assigned one or 2 chapters of the novel. Each group will summarize the main events of their chapter(s) on a cue card (about 5x9 inches) using text and or pictures. Groups present their cards to the whole class. Cards are all displayed in sequence (on a cork-board or other format) for the whole class to read. Intent: To build reading and writing skills; to teach students to comprehend plot, and to select the most important plot events using extremely concise language.
Night is the memoir of Elie Wiesel's experience as a Jewish teenager during the Holocaust. The book was originally published in 1958 and was then re-translated by his wife, Marion Wiesel, in 2006. This edition includes a preface where he explains that the new translation has clarified details and has a voice truer to his own - both ideas that could be explored in a class.
The story told in Night begins in 1944, when the rumours of Nazi aggression against Jews in Europe finally become a reality for Eliezer's town of Sighet in Transylvania. His home quickly becomes part of a Jewish ghetto, which then is evacuated to another ghetto until finally transports are unavoidable and his journey in Nazi concentration camps begins.
He is separated from his mother and sisters when they arrive at Auschwitz, but is able to remain with his father throughout most of his experiences there. Wiesel describes the horrors of the camps, the work, the sights, the orders, the living conditions, the food, the struggle to remain with his father, and, most importantly, the feelings evoked and transformations that occurred within the gates of oppression. Throughout the story, Wiesel describes the questioning of his faith, of humanity, of the will to live and the people we become when faced with extraordinary evil.
In small groups, students will be given a passage from the novel to analyze and interpret.
They will decide how to present their passage to the class in order to convey the message(s) or theme(s) that they identify.
The goal of the groups' performances is not simply to act out the scene, but rather to play with the words in order to convey meaning
Students will be encouraged to repeat words or phrases as necessary or to read parts as a group. They may position themselves strategically or move around the room. They may also choose to alter the order of the text or skip over parts to emphasize others.
After each performance a discussion of the group's rationale and interpretation will take place.
In the year 1984, Winston Smith lives in London, Airstrip One, part of the country of Oceania, a totalitarian society led by Big Brother, which censors everyone's behaviour and thoughts. Winston longs to join The Brotherhood, a group of underground rebels intent on overthrowing the government. Winston meets Julia, who shares these feelings, and the two begin to have an affair. Winston encounters O'Brien, an inner-party member who Winston believes to secretly be a member of The Brotherhood. O'Brian is in fact a faithful member of the inner-party and Winston and Julia are caught in a trap. They are sent to the Ministry of Love and Winston is tortured until his beliefs coincide with those of the Party.
George Orwell's dystopian novel, written in 1948, warns of the dangers of absolute political authority.
Throughout the novel, Winston keeps a diary. Have students keep a journal as they read the novel. This novel raises many interesting topics for students to reflect on. Some questions for students to focus on include:
What would an ideal society look like?
What are your reactions to the novel?
How does the society depicted in the novel compare to the society we live in today?
Respond to the quotation: “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past” (p. 26)
Does the past exist if no one remembers it? (pp. 203-204)
Do laws protect freedom or hinder it?
Throughout the novel, write some journal entries from the point of view as a character in the novel. (eg. Winston, Julia, O'Brien, an Inner Party member).