Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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In Search of the Novel:Teachers & Lesson Plans

Ashby Reid

Ashby Reid

Ashby Reid completed her first year of teaching in June 1999. A graduate of the College of William and Mary (B.A. 1994) and George Washington University (M.A. 1998), Ms. Reid teaches middle school English in Arlington, Virginia. She was nominated by Arlington to receive the Sallie Mae First Class Teacher Award. At the 1999 NCTE convention she presented “Orchestrating Mutiny in the Classroom: Classroom Teachers Discuss Their Own Experiences in ‘Giving Up the Ship.’ ”

Lesson Plan for Flowers for Algernon


To help set the stage for reading.


  • Class discussion: Ask students to think what it might be like to be able to become more popular; what changes they might have to undergo in order to become more popular (better-looking, more athletic, more intelligent); and what would it be like to have an operation that would effect such a change.
  • Class activity: Construct a maze (either for a small animal or for students to trace with their fingers) and conduct time trials.
  • Class activity: Introduce the concept of Rorschach tests and ask students (working in pairs) to construct a sample.

Lesson Plan 2


To help students to synthesize their knowledge of the novel by carefully examining the text and creating a visual representation.


  • “Body Biography”
    Materials required for students: the novel, a roll of butcher paper, scissors, magazines, and markers. The teacher may also need a sample “body biography."
  • Working in pairs or small groups, each draws a full-size outline of Charlie on the butcher paper and cuts it out. By printing quotations from the novel and taping clipped pictures from the magazines onto the “bodies” of Charlie, students are to show the two Charlies, before the operation and after.
  • With the body biographies taped to the wall as visuals, each group presents to the class its understanding of Charlie and invites questions and discussion.

    Note: This project takes two to three days and is useful as a culminating activity.


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