Started independent novel unit today. Students selected from the following:
1. The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
2. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
3. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
4. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
5. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
6. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
7. The Round House by Louis Erdrich
I've divided up the novels into four parts and assigned due dates:
Part I finish by Thursday, March 24 Quiz
Part II finish by Wednesday, March 30 (Quiz on Friday, March 31)
Part III finish by Monday, April 4
Test on April 8
Quizzes will be in the can-of-worms format. Can-of-worms originated as an oral quiz. Students would, upon being called randomly, select a slip of paper with a topic from the novel we were reading. Students were then expected to discuss the topic with knowledge that indicated that they had read and understood the work. (The slips of paper looked like worms.) Unfortunately, it takes almost three days to go through a real can-of-worms so now I pull the topics, and the class, as a whole, write as much as they know about the topic and connect back to the meaning of the work as a whole.
I used an opening exercise inspired by the San Antonio conference yesterday. I first began with a game using the first lines of books the students have read. Students identified the works and recalled the themes and their correlation to the first lines of the novels. Then, I copied the first page of each novel available to them. Students read and analyzed diction and syntax without knowing the title or author, and then we predicted themes. We'll go back to our predictions later, but the things the students said in class were incredibly accurate.
I teach AP English Literature and dual-credit English at Ridge Point High School in Missouri City, Texas.