Novel Studies that Promote Higher-Order Thinking
To revisit the points I have talked about in previous posts: Novel studies can be good tools to teach literacy skills if they are rigorous and have a variety of activities. A well-rounded reader needs more than simply a list of chapter discussion questions and vocabulary. Using a novel workbook that includes lessons and activities that access each of the literacy skills a student needs is a more holistic approach to novel studies.
I have described how to use these novel workbooks with several lower-level novels so far: Wonder, The One and Only Ivan, Tuck Everlasting, and Hatchet. Now, I will describe how to use a novel workbook with a more advanced novel: The Outsiders.
Teaching The Outsiders
The Outsiders Workbook is going to help you and your students take a closer look at the lives of 14 year-old Ponyboy Curtis and his two older brothers. You will see as the boys struggle with their identities, the choices between right and wrong, and how loyalty plays a role. All the while, they are still trying to heal from recent tragedy.
Although the setting is likely dissimilar to yours and your students’, it is such a great book to draw connections and self-reflect. The themes that are applicable to us all will shine through.
Because this a such a character driven story, I would suggest spending quite a bit of time in character analysis. Group discussions can be driven by the daily bellringers in the workbook. You and your students can track the events with the Extended Plot Diagram or even keep track of the characters’ thoughts, feelings and actions with the Characterization Flipbook.
Digging Deep with The Outsiders Workbook
I, personally, love how much creativity is promoted in the projects for this novel. Students are really going to be able to dig deep into understanding the characters and their internal and external conflicts. The Outsiders Workbook has been designed to meet each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Students will be able to work with activities under each of the following sections: Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate and Create.
Remember: This is where you will find comprehension questions for each chapter! Students can work through these independently, as partners or groups, or they can be used as a guide for discussion.
Understand: Students can build their vocabulary skills, create chapter illustrations or dive into the plot!
Apply: Study the characters’ physical, mental and emotional characteristics. Examine Ponyboy, Darrel, Sodapop, Johnny, Dallas and Cherry with the Characterization Flipbook.
Analyze: Have students compare and contrast the Greasers and the Socs. They can use their own creativity to complete task cards tied to the story; create illustrations, music, comics, poetry, tweets, etc!
Evaluate: Dive into poetry with the “Nothing gold can stay,” Poetry Booklet. Or “Walk a mile” in one of the character’s shoes with the “Walk A Mile” activity.
Create: Create Dual Self-Portraits, complete the Mirror-Mirror independent activities. OR make it Group Project time with the “Piece of Cake” Group project.
The activities and lessons that come with this novel study will provide students with an interactive, hands-on approach to reading. They will be reading, writing, illustrating, creating, speaking, researching, discussing and so, so much more!
If you’d like to see more from my Outsiders Workbook, click here!