The students will choose a book, and then read a portion of the book every week. During class, we will go over various aspects of what has been read. This will include character analysis, plot development, vocabulary, inflection points of significant impact, and relation to the events and people in our lives. We will also read a few select paragraphs in class as a group.
Depending on the book chosen, the outcomes would vary slightly. But each book has a rich vocabulary bank, moral lessons about society, and in – depth characters. By meeting together and discussing each portion as a group, I hope to enhance the skills of critical analysis and thinking from different points of view.
Book for this session: Wonder
Kindness brings us together no matter how far apart we are. Millions of people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller WONDER and fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face.
The book that inspired the Choose Kind movement, a major motion picture, and the critically acclaimed graphic novel White Bird.
I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
“Wonder is the best kids’ book of the year,” said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
Wonder 15-Lesson Unit
Here is an outline of what 15 scaffolded lessons would look like for Grade 4-5 English Language Arts Curriculum, building upon prior knowledge, and scaffolding new skills so that students master grade level standards and advance quickly in grade-level skills. Lessons will respond to the needs of the students, building upon their strengths and targeting their identified weaknesses, so each individual student is progressing at a pace that fits their unique learning style.
Each day students will have a short writing prompt that engages them in the concepts of the lesson for the day. This will ask questions from readings as well as connecting it to their own lives and histories. Students will discuss the prompt, building speaking skills and engaging in critical analysis. Students will learn new vocabulary from the book and target one or two literary devices in their evaluation of the text. As we read and annotate the book together, we will stop and discuss the plot, character motivations and development, make predictions and analyze themes.
We will read about 3 chapters together each lesson, and students will complete 5 chapters at home to stay on pace with the group. (25 pages/week total)
Lesson 1: Welcome to Wonder!
During this class, the students’ prior knowledge will be engaged to explore the themes of Wonder in their own lives. We will begin reading the novel Wonder, and learn about the characters, settings, and discuss how this context relates to the lives of the students and the world at large. The students will engage in activities that provide a foundation for the rest of the skills we will be using in subsequent lessons, as I assess their skill level to determine scaffolding foci.
Lesson 2: Annotation & Extraordinary Animals
We will continue to read and dissect the narrative as we uncover the characters and the plot begins to rise. Students will learn how to annotate the text for vocabulary, themes, and symbols. They will create an animal character that is extraordinary in some way.
Lesson 3: Characterization Catalog
We will continue to read Wonder and look at how characters are developing and relating to each other, and how this drives the overall plot. We will examine diction and the author’s style of writing, and learn the different types of characters. Students will write a brief analysis of a character.
Lesson 4: Irony
As we delve deeper into the book, students will make more connections to their own lives and school systems and peer pressure, and analyze the themes of the book. Students will analyze the scene in which Auggie is being bullied and come up with strategies for real life scenarios. They will identify verbal, situational, and dramatic forms of irony and analyze how this affects the characters and the audience.
Lesson 5: Point of View
As the text switches perspectives, we will examine point of view and how this relates to the telling of a narrative. Students will practice writing and reading from different points of view, including those in the novel.
Lesson 6: Allusion
Students will examine the allusions in the novel and analyze why the novel contains these references. They will brainstorm other allusions they have noticed in reading, and we will analyze and discuss a few allusions in their own lives.
Lesson 7: Imagery
Students will examine the sensory imagery in the text and write about the imagery of their dream bedroom. Students will analyze how figurative language is used in the text to enhance meaning.
Lesson 8: Symbolism
We will investigate the symbols of the story and discuss how they add depth to the plot and themes. We will share the reading and build oral reading skills as we go.
Lesson 9: Mood, Tone & Voice
Students will compare the tone of the various character’s voices, as the narrative continues to switch points of view, and reveal insights to many characters’ intricate personas.
Lesson 10: Diction
Students will analyze the diction of the story and juxtapose it to passages from other comparable authors. We will continue to read the novel together and analyze how the relationships grow and progress.
Lesson 11: Hyperbole
We will learn about over and under exaggeration and how it is used by an author for effect, and evaluate the overall use of figurative language to drive a deeper set of meanings.
Lesson 12: Juxtaposition
Students will juxtapose characters in the story, their own lives, and history, as we delve deeper into how the characters have changed and grown throughout the story.
Lesson 13: Connotations
Students will examine language more closely and complete activities to help them understand word connotations, enhancing their ability to identify and apply loaded language.
Lesson 14: Motifs & Themes
As we complete the novel, and discuss overarching motifs and themes, students will create their own presentation for one of the themes of the books.
Lesson 15: Wonder Conclusion & Presentations
Students will present their slideshows and discuss the end of the novel. They will write an alternate ending of the book.
About the teacher
Ms. Lara has taught English for fifteen years in different countries around the world. After getting her BA in Sociology and Photography at the University of California, San Diego, she worked with students with special needs for several years, trying to understand every kind of learner and diverse modalities of helping students to utilize their strengths and access learning from their own points of view. She has taught in Honduras and Hungary, as well as many kinds of schools around the US. After teaching English, Science, Art, and Music to 2nd, 6th, 10th and 11th grade students in the Caribbean, she came back to the
US, and got her teaching credential at California State Monterey Bay. Following this, she taught at a small high school in Santa Cruz, CA for twelve years, where she instructed 9-12th grade English, Art, Digital Photography, and History as well as Advanced Placement classes for 5 years. In 2012, she took a hiatus to complete a year as a Fulbright exchange teacher in Budapest, where she taught ESL and was an ambassador for the US. She was nominated for Teacher of the Year in 2015, and received a commendation for her work in 2018. She now tutors students in many subjects, while being a student herself, pursuing another degree. She enjoys working with students and learning from them, and finding new ways to communicate and understand the world around us.