We start class, and this final section of the novel by discussing the world as it is today, specifically looking at the United States. I assign different table groups a different concept from this list:
government, healthcare, law enforcement, technology, the environment, transportation, jobs, entertainment/leisure, clothing, economy, or international relations.
There are 9 table groups in my classroom, so I have the students draw from the "Magic Bag," a tool I use in my classroom out of fun. It takes the place of drawing from a hat, and is a fun tradition in my classroom from years ago with another class. What really makes it fun is to be overly dramatic and theatrical about it. The process is rather simple and quick, as I just go from one group to the next and ask a student to draw a slip out of the bag.
At the tables, the students work with their groups to complete a Circle Map that includes everything they can think of relating to their assigned topic. At this point, they should be thinking entirely about how things are presently. They should not be attempting to connect ideas to the novel, or even consider the novel at all, at this point.
As the groups are working on this task, I go from group to group in order to stamp their comprehension questions from the previous class. This also gives me the opportunity to keep an eye on the progress each group is having.
Once the timer goes off, I ask the different groups to share their information, one at a time, with the class. As they present to one another, they are supporting one another in building a collective perception of the current state of the United States and the world. This perspective provides a valuable lens for the students as they begin the final section of the novel. They are exposed to a variety or perspectives, some that they agree with, and others that they do not. Regardless, this thinking and these perspectives will surely impact their interpretation of elements within the novel as they continue reading.
What the students do not know at this time is that they will be participating in a group project at the conclusion of the novel that includes each of these concepts, so this also helps to set the stage for that as well.
After each group has had the opportunity to share their findings, we move on to our final vocabulary practice exercise. Students will again work with some of the vocabulary from the novel in their novel study booklets. They will begin by looking at the words in context. They then complete a crossword, using the terms and with the definitions as the clues. Students have become very familiar with the process by this time, so they tend to be a bit faster when completing it. As a result, there are more students who are able to begin reading the novel independently. I make it a point to move throughout the room as they work on this task, but do not sit down to read.