After reading chapter 6 and 7 of Ender’s Game, I decided to have my students create a map of Fairyland as the Giant’s Drink mind game has been confusing for many of my students to comprehend and imagine as they read the novel. We also just needed a break from standardized testing, reading, and writing – we needed to color.
Here are the items I had them draw on the map. They are out of order on purpose as I had the students look back to pages 69-74 to remember in what order Ender’s encountered each of the items in the Mind Game.
- The Well
- River of Acid
- Cliff overlooking the terrain
Once their map was completed, I had them relate each item on the map to what it symbolized in Ender’s life. At first I thought it would be an easy task but it was really difficult for them and it lead to great team discussions. Before they wrote their final symbolism answers, we went over their guesses as a class and it helped review the entire novel up until this point.
Here are my winning posters from my two classes. I told them the winning poster gets a clothespin. They worked hard and was able to get the entire thing done in one 55 minute class period (it was all hands on deck).
As an introduction to Ender’s Game, I thought it would be fun for the students to be able to brainstorm other science fiction movies, novels, etc. in order to create a list of what “goes into” creating the sci-fi genre. I was also trying to come up with a “battle” to have my army groups (each group in class created an army logo for their table for the unit) compete in regularly as well. Thus, Hashtag Wars was born.
It all started when Chase and I were watching @Midnight, a series on the network Comedy Central, together over Spring Break. Weeknights, there is a segment on the show called Hashtag Wars where a different panel of comedians compete against each other to create #s related to a specific topic. When I was telling Chase that I need something for the armies to compete in weekly to earn clothespins (see Motivation clothespins post) he suggested Hashtag Wars (but high school edition, so cleaner). At first, I was a little skeptical but then as we started brainstorming I found out a way to re-create this game show in my classroom and it only take 10 minutes to complete – a great warm-up!
Here is what I do:
I give each of the armies (tables) a mini-whiteboard and an Expo marker (if you don’t have whiteboards, white computer paper in a sheet protector will work as well – just put some card-stock in there so it will be stay straight when they hold it up). ***And tissues are great erasers!
I present the students with the topic.
I provide two examples (which will rack your own brain)!
I give them five minutes to write as many # for that topic as possible (I usually play some music, like The Beach Boys, during the 5 minutes).
They can only write and show me one # at a time.
If it works for the topic I give them 2 points, if it is slightly off I give them 1 point, etc.
When the five minutes is up, I tally the points and the top two teams go head to head for the win (FTW), which is usually a silly and quick journaling prompt from the book Unjournaling. They get four minutes to complete the FTW challenge.
The top two teams get one clothespin and the winner of the FTW gets two clothespins to their army logo (or team shield).
Teacher friends, it was a MAJOR hit. So major, that I am doing it every Monday. So awesome, that I realized it is teaching them to create witty puns as well as just warming-up their brains – I mean check out some of the below that they came up with!
Here are some examples of the topics (in bold) and the student samples so far:
Food a sci-fi movie or book (this was the intro-activity to Ender’s): #TheMaTwix, #ToastBusters, #Fahrenheit451calories, #ThePlanetoftheGrapes
Internet a song: #DialUptownfunk, #Don’tGoChasingFirewalls, #Don’tStopDeleting, #NeverSayNetwork, #ICan’tGetNoConnection, #QwertyintheUSA
Next week’s topic is Nerdier Sports…I am feeling a #PeriodicTableTennis coming on…
So, thanks Chris Hardwick for making my Monday’s in class Hashtag Wars and proving that my students are way “punnier” than I am!
With spring break coming to a close, it is time that I turn my attention towards the last quarter of the school year.
In my on-level sophomore courses I will be teaching Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card for the first time ever (I literally just finished reading it myself over break but don’t tell the kids). I am super excited to teach this novel as it is everything the sci-fi minor in me loves; however, I am feeling the pressure to teach it well. These sophomores have gone through the ups and downs of this transitional year with me – and I fell like I owe them a spectacular “finale” to this year.
First quarter, I taught the crap out of Of Mice and Men and they wrote an essay analyzing Steinbeck’s use of diction and syntax in order to argue which character displayed Stickleback’s argument of mankind’s true nature. Yeah, and they crushed it. Then, second quarter our anchor text was another novel I had never read nor taught, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and let’s just say that I didn’t know how to approach it or what to focus on and we barley got the thing read (I will be making some major changes in how I teach it to my honors sophomores this quarter). Third quarter, we just OWNED Julius Caesar, Antigone, and the question: what is the true nature of justice? They ended the quarter with an argument essay in which they defined “justice” (no Webster definition to be found) and defended their definition synthesizing the sources we read in class and two current event articles (one internationally and one nationally). So yeah, 2 Ws and 1 L for Bingold. I am determined to put another W in my yearly teaching column with Ender’s and here we go.
The overview (well, that is currently in my vacation-mode brain):
I will create the above assignments as I teach the unit this quarter and update the blog with the links to the assignments and a reflection of their validity and usefulness.
Wish me luck. And for those of you already back at it, remember only three more months until SUMMER.