Although the lesson as presented here is lesson #6 in the unit, it is a lesson that teachers can use as a way to reenergize discussion and as a way to keep students thinking about Frankenstein's relevance in our 21st Century world. Thus, it's a very portable lesson, and if a teacher prefers to use the lesson in another unit, it will work well there, too.
In this lesson students
The biggest challenge in the lesson is getting kids to connect the activity to the novel.
My goal in the lesson is to help students see how a classic text can resonate in their lives. This is a topic Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Diaz challenges us to think about: Junot Diaz in Salon.mp4. Here's the Salon article.
How often do we refer to something or someone as a monster? That is the question I pose to students at the beginning of the period.
Next, I tell students that a recent (2013) Patrick Ness novel tells the story of a boy who is confronted with a monster that he must face. Then I show the book trailer:
Next, I tell the students a bit more about the book in a book talk format. Here is some of the information I include:
I tend to live in the moment when reading for pleasure, so if I haven't composed my own summary of a book, or if I'm sharing a book I have not yet read, I look for an online summary, such as this one at Schmoop. And since A Monster Calls is a popular book in my small classroom library, I don't always have the book available when I present a book talk.
Begin the lesson with a discussion about personal and social monsters. I ask students about types of monsters and criterion on which we evaluate monsters:Notes from the Board
To help students connect to the monsters among us, I ask them to do the following:
Immediately, a student mentioned a recent school shooting that was all over the news this morning as a possible "monster." I tell the students that this is an excellent suggestion and I really value the connection the student made.Student Work (3): Monster Investigation
At this juncture, I give students time to work, and as they work, I circulate around the room so that they know I'm available to assist them.
Some questions students have:
We take the last few minutes for students to share their monsters. My favorite is an admission from a student who identified his personal monster as his cell phone. He said he's on his phone so much that he cannot follow directions and knows he misses much important information in his classes.
One student showed me his personal monster but was unwilling to share with the class for fear he's offend someone. Student Work Personal Monster
I ask, what do you think are Victor Frankenstein's personal monster(s). One student says, "regret." He continues, Frankenstein regrets making his creature; now the creature his his monster and not something he's proud to have created. He has to find a way to get rid of the monster.
I collect the cards but will return them later so students can use them as artifacts in their reading of Frankenstein. Student Work (5): Documentation Investigation and Student Work(6): Documentation Investigation