We serve 600 fifth and sixth graders at a rural school in Western North Carolina. About 50% are eligible for free or reduced price lunch. Most would be the first in their families to attend college. I am the language arts and social studies teacher for a team of 56 sixth graders at this school. About a fourth of them report reading for fun.
The kids are energized by projects that engage them creatively, socially, and kinesthetically.
Every unit has an art component, a food component, and a collaborative presentation component. Given the chance to take ownership of the course of study, kids are more invested in the process.
The 2016 election may be the first these sixth graders will really be old enough to follow and understand. I want them to have some analytical tools with which to comprehend and evaluate the positions of candidates on issues our society faces.
In great science fiction, authors leads us to reflect on our own society.
Last year, my at- and above-grade-level students read several sci-fi novels so they could see how this sophisticated genre serves as social commentary. They also chose a current societal issue as a basis for a story outline. Having this set of Fahrenheit 451 in graphic novel form would allow me to broaden this unit to include all my students. It would give higher readers an independent-reading option and give lower readers a guided reading option.
There are several features of this particular book that make it a powerful tool. First of all, it's illustrated. This give struggling readers and English-language learners an easier entry point into the story. In addition, Ray Bradbury is famously masterful in his story telling here. As he does in The Veldt, he slowly reveals the sinister nature of the role of main character. Kids respond strongly to the surprise. Due to really excellent artistic interpretation, kids can very clearly feel the tone as the colors change over the course of the story.
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