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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lord of the Flies, Interactively

William Golding's first novel, Lord of the Flies, was originally published in 1954 and quickly became a world-wide bestseller and admitted favorite of many modern day authors. Golding was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Literature and is to this day probably one of the few Prize winners in Lit that I've actually read! Sorry, my fellow Reading and Language Arts teachers!

If you're a fan of LOTF, or if you're using this book with your classes, I highly recommend you play the Lord of the Flies Game. According to the Nobel Prize site where the game is hosted,
this game presents one possible interpretation of Golding's book, which is no more legitimate than any other. As Golding himself claimed, "The right interpretation is the one that rises to the reader the first time he reads the book."
The aim of this game is to analyze symbolism and characterization in the novel. A great refresher before an end-of-book test!

(According to a post at Mental Floss titled 15 Famous People Who Used to Teach, "The author’s experiences as a teacher helped inform the novel that made his career. He once allowed a class of boys to debate with complete freedom, and the classroom quickly devolved into such disorder that it inspired Golding to write Lord of the Flies." Yeah... I can totally see that).

ADDED 12/31/09 Here's an interactive sequencing activity for LOTF which could be used as a nice group review on an interactive whiteboard.

For those of you interested in the Nobel Prize angle, you may want to check out the picture book The Man Behind the Peace Prize: Alfred Nobel, a short yet intriguing account of man who invented dynamite. From the inside cover:
Alred Nobel was born in Sweden in 1833. A quick and curious mind, combined with a love of science and chemistry, drove him to invent numerous technological devices throughout his long life. But he is perhaps most well known for his invention of dynamite.

Intending it to help safely advance road and bridge construction, Nobel saw his most famous invention used in the development of military weaponry. A reading a newspaper headline mistakenly announcing his death, Nobel was inspired to leave a legacy of another sort.
Even high school students will appreciate how effectively the concise picture book format captures Nobel's life story. As an extension activity, students could research a winner of the Peace Prize (all listed in the back of the book) and create a similar picture book-like recounting, using an easy online publishing program such as Tikatok.

Interested in other extension ideas? Be sure to visit the publisher's site for the free, downloadable teaching guide to accompany the book.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Getting Graphic

For those brave souls who dare enter the world of (gasp!) graphic novels, you'll find that Get Graphic is a comfortable place to start.

In addition to the helpful Teachers' Pages, the site features an extensive and impressive A-Z offering of annotated titles, complete with recommended grade level, a short summary, and web site.

I'm a fan of graphic novels and I fully support their use in the classroom (see my lame attempt here to expound on the subject), but I won't even pretend to be an expert. This site, however, offers me a fighting chance of keeping up with those crazy kids and their eclectic literary pursuits.