As students enter, I welcome them at the door, reminding them they need "The Catcher in the Rye" and the components of the board game. At the bell, I wish Elvis Presley a Happy Birthday (Born 1935), and ask students if any of them are familiar with and/or enjoy Elvis' music. I mention Elvis' career wouldn't start until five years after the novel takes place, but Holden certainly fell into Elvis' demographic.
As with all Daily Holidays, pointing out Elvis' birthday is part of my effort to build community in the classroom, especially by tapping into music the students may know, and some may be fans of, despite his placement as "classic" rock and roll.
As students have been working on their Literature Circle reading of "The Catcher in the Rye", they have been completing an individual assignment to build a board game to review the content of the novel (Board Game Directions). Today, students have the majority of the period to assemble and play through their own board game, in order to ensure there are no issues with the design. The primary purpose in creating this game is to ensure students had a knowledge of the novel, as "The Catcher in the Rye" is a touchstone of American culture.
Students have set group norms and assigned individual roles (SL.9-10.1b). As they plan their games, students must be prepared to exchange ideas (SL.9-10.1a). Sharing these ideas, discussing the games and the concepts from the novel, propels the project forward by responding to each other's contributions to discussion of the game and novel (SL.9-10.1c).
Today, students are identifying specific details from the novel (RL.9-10.1), in order to craft the game questions that address the motifs and themes in “The Catcher in the Rye”: identity and the journey; adulthood/growing up, prejudice, and trust (RL.9-10.2), and to review the development of Holden Caulfield as a character, and how his journey and interactions with others reveals and comments on these themes (RL.9-10.3). Ultimately, they will play test their games in class as they put the pieces together.
As students discuss, compile, and play test their own games, I circulate the room, discussing their planning with them, and checking in on their progress.
With two minutes remaining in class, I remind the students that one student from each group-the student with the role of the Chief Playtester--will move to another group, teach the group members how to play their (the Chief Playtester's) game, and each player will write up a critique on the game, so the following day, groups can make necessary revisions to their game.