We started "Flowers for Algernon" last Friday. We went through the first two progress reports slowly, discussing direct and indirect characterization. It wasn't a tough lesson, and the kids grasped the ideas quickly. I did note that we still need more work with supporting our ideas with text evidence, but that will be addressed shortly through dialectical journaling.
I am a very hands-on reading teacher, and I am nowhere near being ready to turn my students loose with this story. BUT, I have the awesome pleasure of getting to hear Jeff Anderson speak tomorrow afternoon, and an honor like that takes precedent over the lesson. So I have put together the kind of lesson of which I am not a fan, reminding myself that one day of lower-than-standard lessons is not going to hurt anyone in the long run.
My students are going to read the next three entries on their own. I struggle with independent reading in the classroom. Student reading levels range from third grade to collegiate, and we usually do guided reading to manage pacing. They all need to know how to read on their own, however, and they need to build their reading stamina. Maybe this is not such a bad idea after all.
Once they finish reading, I am going to have them write a characterization acrostic using Charlie's name. Their assignment is to come up with phrases that describe what we have learned about Charlie through either direct or indirect characterization prior to the surgery. And here again, they may end up surprising me. I am going to keep my fingers crossed.
Next up...irony. Now would be the perfect time for some other guest speakers.