Reflection: Intrinsic Motivation Fear: "Life's Only True Opponent"--Personalizing Literature Circles through Universal Theme Analysis - Section 2: What We Fear: Introducing Students to Fear Personified


Recently a student asked if they could do more writing about themselves. That is, he asked if he could do the kind of writing David Coleman has scoffed at. My student wanted to tell his personal story, and he wanted me to give him an assignment that would allow him to do so. How could I not oblige? To ignore this request would be akin to dismissing the student's life as unimportant. 

Sadly, I have not given students as many opportunities to write about their personal concerns as I generally do. I regret that I have not done this. Like many teachers, I have been fixated on the analytical components of the CCSS. But there is a place in the CCSS for student self-talk and self-reflection. 

First, today's assignment used a personal context as a way to build up to a textual analysis. I'm convinced that my students gave the text analysis more thought and more attention because I showed them I care about their personal stories. 

Second, by using the passage from Life of Pi, even with students who aren't reading it, some students became interested in reading the book. One student wrote passionately about how much she needed the passage from LoP. She wrote about the debilitating fear she has experienced this year and the panic attacks she suffers from. And now she wants to read Life of Pi. I will loan her a copy during the summer. How can I not? 

  Responding to Student Requests in a Time of CCSS
  Intrinsic Motivation: Responding to Student Requests in a Time of CCSS
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Fear: "Life's Only True Opponent"--Personalizing Literature Circles through Universal Theme Analysis

Unit 13: Reading and the Empathetic Imagination: Teaching in Literature Circles
Lesson 4 of 5

Objective: SWBAT write about a personal fear and about the role fear plays in the life of a character in their literature circle selection.

Big Idea: The meaning of life is taught in reading experiences.

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1 teacher likes this lesson
English / Language Arts, Literature, Fictional Literature, literature circles, Timed Writing, Reader Response
  75 minutes
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