Friday, September 7, 2012

Making Connections

This week, students spent time learning how to make connections to what they are reading.  This skill is particularly important because connections allow the reader to develop a deeper understanding of the text, relate to characters, and understand motives.  At the same time, being able to connect with a text exposes its relevancy in the present, regardless of when it was written. Since The Outsiders was first published in 1967, students often ask why we still study it today.  This is a great question that can be answered, in large part, by whether the message of the story is still relevant.  By making connections to other texts, themselves, and the world around them, students began to understand the significance of what they read.

We started the process by considering what it means to be an outsider and an insider.  Students analyzed aspects of their lives where they felt they had fallen into one category or the other.  They also looked at social groups in the school and evaluated whether they were welcoming or exclusive.  Answers and thoughts varied, but in the end, students felt that USM is an example of a safe, kind, and welcoming environment.  Students also discussed judging others by appearances.  Though many felt it was wrong, there was an overwhelming admission to having done it.  Lastly, the classes addressed the issue of violence and why teenagers seem to be more violent today than even 10 or 15 years ago.  Many felt that teen violence could be attributed to a number of factors: environment, exposure, poor problem-solving skills, and a lack of self-control.  It turned out to be a deep conversation, but a rewarding one, nonetheless.

As students delve deeper into The Outsiders, they will continue to wrestle with these issues and confront the present through the past.  Check out more pictures of our discussion by clicking on the picture below.

Discussing The Outsiders

No comments:

Post a Comment