Dystopian Elements in Our World (Day 1 of 3)

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SWBAT analyze the representation of a subject in two different artistic mediums taking note of what is emphasized or absent in each by comparing a modern dystopian film to their choice novels.

Big Idea

We are reading the granddaddy novels of the dystopian genre. Now it's time to see how their ideas morphed, changed, grew into modern ideas about dystopia.


10 minutes

We will start class with ten minutes of reading time. During this time, I will pull all of the students who are reading 1984 into the hallway to summarize and guide them through a difficult section of the novel (the political pamphlet given to Winston by O'Brien about the true nature of Oceania's political structures).

I am doing this because their novel is the most complicated and also the longest of the four choice novels, so I want to let them know that I am working with them to make the reading more manageable. Depending on how our discussions go tomorrow, I may do the same for the other novels next week. 

Dystopian Elements in Our Modern World: Film Overview and Viewing

40 minutes

Once reading is over, I will give them a brief overview of the purpose for viewing the film we will watch a little at a time over the next week. 

The film we will watch is director Michael Bay's 2005 film, The Island, starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. 

Our main purpose with viewing this whole film is to connect the foundational dystopian elements and subjects of their novels with a modern, artistic representation of the same things, taking note of what is emphasized or absent in each piece (RL.9-10.7). I want students to see that their books are the granddaddies of this genre and to consider the sometimes prophetic nature of their novels against their own generation's spin on the dystopian genre. This movie has great overlap with ALL of the books and (bonus for me!) is rated PG-13, so I can watch it in class without permission slips. 

I have to add a little justification here because, I, like many of you, might feel like showing a full movie has the ability to become really fluffy and lose all of its importance. I usually feel this way and try to hard to show small bits of film instead of whole films, but given some scheduling things and given my desire to help kids connect their novels to modern film/literature, I think it is totally worth the time. I just have to make sure to communicate to the students the importance of their thinking and attention to detail as we watch.

While they view the movie, I will ask them to fill out a Dystopian elements chart that asks them to compare their novels to the movie using the same elements that they have been tracking during their book club groups using textual evidence to support their observations (RL.9-10.1). Hopefully, tracking these same elements will help them to see the inherent overlap between their books and the movie, which will add to our discussion of theme as we get to the end of this unit (RL.9-10.2). 

Wrap Up and Next Steps

5 minutes

I will stop the movie a little early to make sure students have a chance to fill in their sheets with ideas before leaving for the weekend. I will also remind them about their reading requirements and ask if there are any questions about their books or the film.