My students are 8th graders who love to read relevant and engaging literature that transports them to explore new worlds, meet unique characters and discover new ideas and passions. They read to escape, to make sense of their world, and to learn about themselves. On the first day of school, I share my reading experiences with my students and I emphasize the importance of becoming a life-long reader - not only does it improve test scores, but it shapes who we are. Through literature, we reflect on our own life experiences, connect with others' stories, and develop empathy.
My classroom is full of students curious about the world around them.
Middle schoolers are embracing their newfound independence and want to learn! Therefore, we read every day in my classroom, and our reading creates conversations. I share my reading with my students, and they share their reading with each other. Through critical thinking discussions and important topics in our reading, we create meaningful relationships and learn from each other.
My students love to read engaging novels, and the most popular and first to fly off the classroom shelves are the dystopian novels. Using The Hunger Games, Uglies, Legend, Divergent and Maze Runner, my students will participate in a dystopian book study. They will use these novels to analyze character, plot, conflict and writing style.
More deeply, through collaborative literature circles, they will use these novels to engage in structured conversations about critical themes, such as inequality, choice, oppression, and power.
These collaborative conversations will develop students' communication skills, and their book study will culminate in an end-of-unit writing project that will require students to express critical thinking as they analyze the underlying messages and themes portrayed in these novels.
Dystopian novels are a win-win for middle schoolers: They get to read fast-paced, action-packed thrillers at the same time they develop critical thinking and deep reading skills.
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