Our 7th graders will be starting out the year with The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, so I wanted to share the activity I used last winter when I read the book with my Resource Room.
I needed something to hook the kids, and from my experience with the book, the characters can be quite confusing for students. I decided that I would assign each student a role, and they would represent that character while we read the novel.
Going with the very popular idea of quizzes that we all take on Facebook (Which Disney princess are you? I’m Jasmine!)…I decided to do something similar with my students.
Because I don’t know how to make an actual quiz like that, I just used a Google form and with 8 students, I figured out the results to strategically meet the needs of my individual students.
First, the questions:
The next day, I handed out the slips of paper one at a time and read the descriptions to the class. They then inserted the description, as well as a photo I had printed, into a 4 x 6 acrylic picture frame.
Each day as class started, the students would get their frame and sit it in front of them on their desk. As we sat in a circle, I was able to reference/point to students as we were summarizing.
By having them associate the characters with their classmates, it was easier for them to keep the characters and plot straight. It was also fun to build suspense and keep students interested.
“Will Johnny/Blake live or die?”
“Will Cherry/Sydney fall in love with Dally/Josh?”
“Will the Socs/Nathan seek revenge for Bob’s death?”
Other skills I covered during this activity:
- Point of View – Students were asked to rewrite their description several times – in 1st and 3rd point of view.
- Perspective and Summarizing- After major events in the book, students had to get into character and write a journal entry or letter about the current situation.
- Predictions – Students were asked to make predictions about their characters.
I am not sure how this would work in a very large class, but I am anxious to hear your thoughts. If you could use this technique with a novel you are reading, please share in the comments!!
I really did hit SEND. (Note: Some details have been left out of this email for the sake of my students.)
Dear Ms. Hinton,
Last fall, my 7th and 8th grade students had the experience of a lifetime when Rick D. Niece, author of Side-Yard Superhero: Life Lessons from an Unlikely Teacher, visited our classroom and had a book discussion with us.
The day Mr. Niece visited was the very best day of my 19 years of teaching and probably the best day of my students’ lives as well, at least when it comes to school.
The positive influence Mr. Niece’s novel had on my class and myself is indescribable, although I have tried to capture it in my blog.
My 7th graders are just starting The Outsiders, and they’ve already asked the question I was expecting: “Can we meet S.E. Hinton too?!”
While Mr. Niece has local ties to this area, I felt it was only right of me to reach out to you, out of respect and love for my students. I have never been prouder of them than that day when they stood and recited one of Rick’s poems in unison. The moment brought tears to both our eyes and still makes my heart swell.
Not that I wouldn’t love to meet you in person…but I am requesting nothing more than an email or letter encouraging my class to continue to be the amazing “superheroes” they proved to be last fall.
They are, in their own way, “Outsiders” too. They have never had the special treatment they have been given this year, and I want to continue the magic just a little while longer.
The opportunity to read Side-Yard Superhero was a completely serendipitous moment that I almost passed up. But I said “Yes” to the book, and the rest is, well….just amazing.
I have taught The Outsiders for many years, and this year I already feel the anticipation and excitement building in my classroom. Should you be able to send us a letter, our address is: XXXXXXXXXXX
With much respect,