Reflection: Intrinsic Motivation Flowers For Algernon: An A-maze-ing Metaphor - Section 1: What does it mean to be smart?


This is really my kind of unit -- start with a good story that is entertaining and rich with possibilities for connections, then add in a slew of nonfiction texts, videos and activities to really use the text as a springboard into lots of rich discussion.  The students really have a lot to say about what it means to be smart, and I find it SO interesting.  

In each of my classes, I had one student make a point that grades and intelligence don't always go hand-in-hand.  This is when I seize my teachable moment, and I talk to the kids about the relationship between toil and outcomes.  Though we always push the value of hard work, I do think that a lot of 13 year olds feel pretty powerless over their own lives.  They either feel lucky (because they are smart) or cursed (because they think they aren't.)  I try to talk to them about students I have had in the past how they handled things.  

Maybe they aren't listening, but they sure look like they are.  And these little activities -- the mazes, the puzzles, etc. -- they allow the students who don't always get the attention (my maze superstars are always a surprise) to shine and show off for a minute.  And that's pretty cool, too.

  What DOES it mean to be smart?
  Intrinsic Motivation: What DOES it mean to be smart?
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Flowers For Algernon: An A-maze-ing Metaphor

Unit 3: Flowers for Algernon
Lesson 2 of 7

Objective: SWBAT analyze a narrative device to determine author's purpose in the story, "Flowers For Algernon".

Big Idea: When is a maze not "just" a maze? When you are probing for author's purpose.

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