Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Genre Study: Dystopia - Section 3: Third Read

 

Last year, my district updated the required reading list.  We have a list books for sixth grade through twelfth grade to minimize students reading the same book fifty thousand times.  There's required reading and supplemental reading. Fundamentally, I don't agree with the idea of required reading.  One book doesn't fit all students or teachers.  It's challenging to find a book that works for seventh graders who read at a second grade, or lower, level AND honors students who read at a high school or higher level.  That was the task before the committee, which I was a part of, and we chose The Hunger Games.  We considered both qualitative and quantitative aspects of the text, and chose this text because it is at a lower Lexile level (fifth grade), but there's enough in it for rigorous discussion.

And that's where dystopia, and utopia, comes in.  Suzanne Collins is a part of a long tradition of dystopian fiction, and there are common elements in those stories.  Consider H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. George Orwells' 1984.  Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 541. Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion.  Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.  And there's so many more.  These novels share many traits, but the authors interpret those traits differently.  They create different worlds using some of those traits.

And that's where you get enough rigor for more advanced students.  All students will be analyzing setting, plot, and characters, but more advanced students will consider this within the realm of dystopian fiction.

  Why Bother Learning about Dystopia?
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Why Bother Learning about Dystopia?
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Genre Study: Dystopia

Unit 12: Novel Study: The Hunger Games
Lesson 3 of 21

Objective: Students will be able to define dystopian science fiction by close reading a passage.

Big Idea: dys+topos > eu+topos? dys+topos < eu+topos?

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Standards:
Subject(s):
English / Language Arts, Reading, Genres (Reading), language, Hunger Games, dystopi
  60 minutes
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