Eighth grade English teacher Stephanie Dalton illustrates how creativity in lesson planning (along with some insight into what motivates young teens) can lead to deeper understanding and interaction with text.
Last night, my students read chapter two of The Hound of the Baskervilles. This early 20th century text presents a challenge for my students–especially in the beginning. The core of the piece is the dreaded curse cast upon the Baskerville Estate which is presented in chapter two–last night’s homework assignment.
In class today, it was important to revisit the curse in order to deepen our understanding of this core text element. So, we tweeted about it. I asked each student to create an imaginary Twitter handle to identify themselves, and to write a 140-character tweet about the first event of the curse. Then we passed our iPads to our neighbors and had them continue the fake Twitter feed. During this time, student were welcome to skim their text so their tweets were accurate with the text itself. After six passes, we had a great summary of the curse as well as some laughter about our chosen hashtags. The best part of this lesson was students’ deep and critical thinking. The summary is easy; making hilarious hashtags was the challenge!
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have been proud.
Submitted by Stephanie Dalton, Riverside Junior High, English