Meet The Holidays: The Doctor, The Singer, And Winter Break

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SWBAT read chapter 15--"Dr. Holiday"--of Bad Boy as a whole group, investigating further the cultural and personal references Myers makes in the chapter.

Big Idea

Keeping students engaged as Winter Break approaches.

Chapter 15: Dr. Holiday

55 minutes

It's two days before Winter Break, and a good deal of my students have already started their holidays. In anticipation of low attendance in some classes, I am reluctant to plan and deliver a lesson that will need to be largely retaught when we return after our two weeks off.

Thus, today in class we will read chapter 15 of Bad Boy, "Dr. Holiday," out loud as a whole group, which is an assignment that can be easily made up by any student who is not present today.  I will share in the oral reading with students, and we can move through the chapter at a leisurely pace, stopping to discuss key points, as well as exploring some of the cultural references Myers mentions in the chapter, such as:

  • The artists he is able to view at the Apollo Theater include Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington. In this performance by Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington, my students can sample their sounds.

  • Myers continues to read on his own in this chapter, despite his not attending school.  I have prepared the opening lines of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce on a document on my computer so that I can show my students the text complexity he was able to tackle on his own.    
  • I have brought in my copy of Ulysses by James Joyce to pass around, so my students can see a piece of literature that was ultimately too challenging even for Walter Dean Myers.

It will also be worth pausing on the passage about Mama, acknowledging the tribute he pays to her, and how it gives us an opportunity to look back at the passage my students reflected on from chapter two, as he is first learning to read under the guidance of his mother.  In that chapter, he writes "Years later, when I had learned to use words better, I lost my ability to speak so freely with Mama" (15).  I am hoping that my students will see how chapter 15 addresses what the passage from chapter two foreshadows.

Chapter 15 ends with Dr. Holiday asking Myers, "Do you like being black?" (173).  This strikes me as a good question to have open as I transition into the PBS interview with Walter Dean Myers.

Meet Walter Dean Myers

15 minutes

We will close class today with this brief PBS feature on Walter Dean Myers.  My students should enjoy finally "meeting" him, as the interview addresses many of the events and musings that he develops in the book.  

Before my students leave class, I remind them that their Winter Break homework is to finish reading the last four chapters of the book.