Friendship and Competition: Introducing a theme in the novel

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SWBAT explore ideas about the relationship between friendship and competition, which connects to a major theme in the novel, "A Separate Peace".

Big Idea

Friendship and competition -- a relationship worth exploring.

Warm Up: Latin Roots

10 minutes

This is our daily warm up, wherein students work with two or three Latin roots per day.  The resource that I use to get my roots is Perfection Learning's Everyday Words from Classic Origins.
Every day, when the students arrive, I have two Latin roots on the SmartBoard.  Their job is to generate as many words as they can that contain the roots, and they try to guess what the root means.  After I give them about five minutes, we share words and I tell them what the root means.

The students compile these daily activities in their class journals.  After every twelve roots, they take a test on the roots themselves and a set of words that contains them.

Poll Everywhere

5 minutes

In order to get my students interested and motivated to read the novel, A Separate Peace, I decided to use Poll Everywhere to ask a simple question related to friendship and competition.

Poll Everywhere allows you to create quick polls that the students can answer using text messaging (or you can use it on a computer.)

My question was:  I never compete with my friends -- True or False?

The results were not surprising.


Discussing the Poll Results

15 minutes

After the students took their poll, I left the results up on the SmartBoard to use as a springboard for further discussion.

The students generally felt that competition is a good thing for friendship.  They said that shared interests make friendships stronger and that friends want to make each other better. 

It was a good, honest discussion to lead us into the novel.

Reading the first chapter

10 minutes

The students spent a few minutes reading the first chapter of the book.  

In the first chapter of the novel, the mood is heavy and serious.  An adult Gene returns to the Devon School and makes a point to visit two places: a building and a tree.  The book then shifts to the summer of 1942, and the real "story" begins.