Sixth graders though are new at this whole middle school Valentine's Day thing. This, to them, is going to be a MAJOR DEAL. I’m predicting a lot of note passing, extra bouncy curly ponytails, and boys awkwardly teasing girls in some kind of flirting ritual (actually, this has started early this year and I’m having to remind boys that making fun of a girl’s shoes is not a way to impress). I’m cutting them off at the pass though, with a lesson that connects to our unit, and to literary love couples. Our unit assessment asks the students to choose a character from the novel we are reading, and to make claims about how they’ve changed over time. Then, students support these claims with evidence from the text.
For Valentine’s Day, though, I thought that it would be fun to brainstorm well-known literary couples and to show their change over time, and how that ended in a relationship. I’m thinking of Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games trilogy. Peeta always loves Katniss, but it takes her most of the trilogy to change into the person who loves Peeta. She begins to mirror his selflessness when fighting for what’s right and, in effect, begins to see his selflessness as a virtue rather than a suspicion.
Ron and Hermoine from Harry Potter go through all sorts of changes in their relationship. Obviously, readers see them grow from children to young adults through the course of the series, but these characters begin to see themselves differently as well. They begin as friends, then go through the jealous stage when they each begin seeing other people, and they, at last, fall in love while fighting against evil. The external changes surrounding them thrust them into each other’s protective arms.
I want my students to see that external and internal changes affect who characters are. Sometimes these changes can even lead to love. Who knows? Maybe I have a Ron and a Hermoine sitting in my class right now.
My Guiding Question doesn't address any of this, but instead is getting them back on track after a lot of snow days with their reading goals.