Saturday, July 3, 2010

Connecting to 1984

Little Brother (Cory Doctorow novel)Image via Wikipedia

This summer's reading assignments for the tenth lit pre-AP students is to choose to read either Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle or Anderson's Feed. Another teacher also teaches the class, and his pick was Cat's Cradle. I chose Feed because I wanted to connect it to 1984 when students return in August. I think I can connect both books in some way to 1984, but I think that Feed will be easier to do so.

I just got finished reading Doctorow's Little Brother, though, and now I'm wishing I had asked the students to read it instead. The good thing about using Feed is that I could also use it to fit in with the persuasion standards that are a part of our state's curriculum. Little Brother would work for this as well, just in a different way. I think I will have to think of way to incorporate it into the curriculum as well. It was sooooo good! The other cool thing about Little Brother is that it is also free to download even though it was published in 2008.
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  1. I LOVE Cory Doctorow!! I teach BritLit and World Lit, so I may have to include Little Brother as extra credit. Right now, I am trying to figure out how to add American Gods by Neil Gaiman in to my mythology unit with my World Lit class--there are a couple of outrageous sex scenes, but nothing they have not read (or seen before). the burgeoning speculative/scifi genre is really ripe for classroom discussion. I just have to tread carefully!! I love the look of your blog.

  2. I teach British Lit and 10th lit pre-AP. Our state lets schools choose to either teach World Lit or 10th lit. I think my husband has read the Neil Gaiman book you mention--it certainly sounds familiar. Right now he's encouraging me to read Terry Pratchet so I can include something by him in Brit lit. Maybe you could use sections of the book? I am definitely a sci fi/fantasy fan, and I think there are plenty of kids who would love to see more of it in the classroom.

    I am new to writing a blog, and so I haven't done as much this summer with it as I had thought I would. However, I use Google Reader to keep up with others' blogs, and I've been quite busy doing that. One thing I did do this summer was to try out Blogger's new design features, so thanks very much for the compliment! I re-designed this one, but I didn't re-do the one I use for my classes ( I haven't used that blog as much with the students as I want. Maybe next year!

  3. Turns out that my husband read a different Neil Gaiman book though. He was familiar with American Gods, however. He read Good Omens which was by both Gaiman and Pratchett. I was wondering how you use your class blog with your students. What I mean is do the students comment in class or outside of class. My biggest problem with using my class blog during the school year is that I can't require them to have a computer and some kids don't even have a school login just because they hadn't turned in an AUP (acceptable use) form to the media specialists.

  4. Gaiman won last year's Newberry for The Graveyard Book. Absolutely fantastic! Also, Cory Doctorow did an interview with my class via Skype last year. Totally free - both the software (downloadable) and the interview itself. I didn't hear back from Anderson (alas!) though. Might be worth a try. :)

    Thanks for commenting over at Epic Adventures! Hope it's ok if I add you to my blogroll :D

    ...grh... whyyyy does it not accept the [u] tag?! :P I guess italics works...

  5. Ok, so now I am totally jealous! Did you blog about his interview? I will have to search your blog for it. I read what you planned on doing with 1984. This will be my first year teaching it, though I have always liked it ever since reading it as a high school student myself.

    You're welcome. I follow you on Google Reader which is what I do until I know if I want to keep reading. I should have already moved you over since I've been reading your stuff all summer! That way, everyone will know about your great blog. I can't remember if I found it through your comments on Dana Huff's blog or through her blogroll.

    I have the hardest time in commenting using the html codes. They never seem to work for me!

  6. Aww, thanks! :) Blogger has an RSS widget, so the "Recent Edustuff" thing near the top of my left sidebar is actually what I use for my reader (mostly). I'm trying to figure out how to put the ning activity widget into Google reader because I always feel like I'm missing stuff (and it's going to get worse once school starts and I can't access ning from that network). But I know I don't want to put it into that widget or it'll just take over the top ;D

    I think I might've blogged about it... would've been sometime... mid-March, maybe? After 1984 but actually before we read Little Brother.

  7. thanks for your last comment: I am really trying to stick to basics this year: readin' and writin'--and so far it makes me happy. My juniors are spending one class reading every cycle, and journaling it. I think some of them are actually reading and remembering why they liked it! Blogging in the beginning of the year is always in class, till everyone calms down and can do it without forgetting the rules. My Honors class just made their own blogger blogs, first blog next week. Wish me luck!