This is the best place for our discussion to begin, folks. Sorry for the confusion.The first article we'll read is from a 2005 issue of LAJM. It is written by a colleague of mine at Grand Valley, Brian White, and an outstanding middle school teacher, Jen Haberling. In this article, White and Haberling describe how a role-playing exercise brought "The Devil and Tom Walker" by Washington Irving to life. The activity can be modified to fit almost any text.
The complete citation is as follows:
White, Brian and Haberling, Jennifer A. (2005) "Trading Spaces with Tom Walker: Moving the Devil Out of Fourth Hour," Language Arts Journal of Michigan: Vol. 21: Iss. 2, Article 4.
You can grab the article below.
Let's start the discussion by Tuesday, March 1, which should give us plenty of time to read it.
Since we've reached our March 1 deadline, I thought I would begin our discussion of this article.Â Full disclosure: Brian White is a colleague of mine and we have spoken a few times of this "Trading Spaces" game. In any case, I picked this article because it is both grounded in research (on the effectiveness of writing before reading) and is extremely practical. So practical, in fact, that I began to think of other commonly taught works that might lend themselves to this kind of game. Any text that features characters involved in moral and material negotiations would work, but I thought of a few specific examples to get us going.
Lord of the Flies is the first novel that came to mind.Â In this case, the original options on the card might be modified to reflect the dilema the boys find themselves in.Â Items could include "Keeping signal fire lit," "finding food," "being helpful to others," or "staying alive."Â These kinds of choices might help students identify with the main characters.
I've also had The Hunger Games on my mind these days. Inside the arena, Katniss is confronted with many moral dilemmas, and I think the original options on the card could reflect these tough choices. The central dilemma is whether or not Katniss can kill others in order to survive, so the items on the cards get at this. If you haven't read this young adult series, you might take a look at the fan trailer below:
Okay--I'm going to turn it over to you now. Feel free to take this discussion in any direction you'd like.