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In Search of the Novel:Teacher-TalkNovel


Teacher-TalkNovel is the email discussion list for In Search of the Novel. Participants of the workshop series, content guides, and Channel staff will participate in this discussion list throughout the initial broadcast of the workshop series.

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[Teacher-TalkNovel] Lesson One posting

From: Harrison Bourne <harrison.bourne@dresden.us>
Date: Mon Jun 27 2005 - 16:13:56 EDT

Hi to anybody out there.

I am talking this course for graduate credit and am posting my musings and
work from Workshop One.

Please excuse the lumping of feedback, but I couldn't decide what to
include and what not to, so here goes.

In Search of the Novel WK 1 Follow-up

        It’s always refreshing to hear authors acknowledge that the owner is the

Rewriting scenes as drama, solid idea for those with the talent. I can
relate to the teacher’s sentiments that the kids might not have rehearsed
enough and the piece lacked polish. However, the student demonstrated
true learning. I have kids do movies that I get the same feelings—decent
work but a great learning experience for the kids. Performance does lead
to careful reading and analysis.

In the teacher’s roundtable, the male writer talked about wanting to have
a genuine experience for the kids. I couldn’t agree more, and that’s why
I’m puzzled when I hear of teacher who refuse to accept a perspective from
a student who disagrees with their interpretation of the work.

I engage my students by doing creative projects. Usually, however, they do
two or three dimensional art or movies and relate them to either a major
course theme or a most important moment in the text.

Social & moral lessons? Teaching Greek mythology we focus much of the
time on an analysis of Greek moral code and social system construction.
We discuss all the important things: gender relationships, family,
fidelity, love, and heroic code. How have relationships changed over the
years? What does the culture value?

I like having the students lead the Socratic discussions. I have done
“fishbowl” activities, a critical friends group protocol. But in this
video, we see more students involved in the discussion. I do think it’s
interesting that the technique is called Socratic, when Socrates in Plato
asks leading questions, ones that are not really open ended.

How does analyzing a novel help students develop personal identity and
skills? When students analyze the values of a book, it gives them an
opportunity to reflect on their own values and apply them to the book.
They can think about their place in their world. This skill helps breed

My classes are mostly student centered because I get bored otherwise.

Going further:
In order to increase ownership, I like the idea of having my students do
extemporaneous dramatic interpretations of the text. These wouldn’t
necessarily take a lot of time, would be entertaining, and would force
students to demonstrate understanding. These could count as a quiz grade

I also like the idea of assigning student presnters more often, having
kids formally assigned to lead class. I already do a lot of activities
like this, but I could do different formats more often.

Lesson Plan for “Who Owns the Novel?”


To help students take ownership of their reading


LCD projector, laptop


1. Journal entry: What is your favorite song? Why? What comes to mind as
you listen to it? Do you have experiences that relate closely to the work?

2. Have students share their journal entries. Discuss how music can evoke
our own interpretation, including regarding lyrics.

3. Now discuss books. Are we allowed to form our own perspectives?

4. Show the opening segments of the first workshop, particularly Silko and

5. After viewing the segments, discuss how students’ perspectives have

My own novel idea: Show the relationship between two males, showing how
two people can grow apart. One male would be entitled and self-righteous,
but the other would be down-to-earth and respectful

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Received on Mon Jun 27 16:40:43 2005

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