Day 30- 50 Days to go
Opening day of Frankenstein. I think it went well. I asked Mr. Johnson, the principal, to come and sit in on one of the lessons. Ms. Bedford did an observation, as well. I asked them to sit with the students in order to see the presentation well and in order to participate in the activity. I used PowerPoint and began with the question of "What do you know about Frankenstein?" Some classes knew that Frankenstein is the name of the scientist, instead of the creature. Some did not. It worked out well, because I was able to point out to each class that the name Frankenstein has become synonymous with the creature in today's culture. This would usually lead to one of the students asking, "So what was the creature's name?" This was a great discussion, because I could then point out that perhaps the creature did not have a name because it should never have actually come into existence. That conversation would lead into the next slide, which links the novel to modern day science. Some classes had a lot of discussion on this one. We discussed how electricity in medicine, such as cardiac defibrillation could be a life saver. We also discussed cloning, its moral implications, its advantages and disadvantages. Then I told the students that the novel would deal with the issues of creation of life by science. The next issue was concerning outward appearance. I asked students what they would do if they came into contact with a hideous creature, such as what they perceive Frankenstein's creature to look like. Most said they would run. Some said they would attack it. I asked them if they would still stick to the first answer if the creature was minding its own business. Most of the answers stayed the same, although a few said they would still watch it carefully and avoid it. We then did our activity. I had pictures of people, numbered 1-21. These people ranged from attractive to disfigured, young to old, thin to overweight, and different cultures. I asked students to notice the number I had randomly posted on their desks, find the picture that corresponded to the number, and decide what kind of person they thought the person in the picture to be. Due to picture size, many had to get up and look more closely. I wanted personality characteristics, based on physical appearance. I had to clarify that once or twice, but students got it for the most part. I then had them randomly draw from a bag containing personlity traits. Each paper had three, ranging from very positive to very negative. I wouldn't let them open the paper until everyone had one and I could explain that these traits represented the person they were judging. Some matched. Some did not. The principal got a little elderly lady who he thought to be kind and generous. According to the paper he drew, she was a rude drug dealer! The students understood. The usual answer I got was, "You can't judge a book by its cover." I told them to pay attention to the novel and see how the creature was treated, due to appearance. At this point, I explained the Unit instructions, so students would know what to expect as we read Frankenstein. The next several slides dealt with the life of Mary Shelley. Her mother died when she was a baby. Her father was detached. She did not have a close family. I asked students how they thought this might have affected her writing, and to take note of the familial relations in the novel. She ran away with Percy Shelley, who was already married, and her father disowned her. Most of Mary Shelley's children died. One she dreamed that she could rub by the warmth of the fire and bring back to life. Her half-sister committed suicide, and shortly thereafter, so did Percy's first wife. The doctors of the time tried to revive her, using electricity. I asked the students what they thought of her adult life, and reminded them to take note while reading the novel. Mary Shelley also liked to discuss philosophy and science. I tied this in with some of the science in history that included galvanizing, or electrifying, corses to get them to animate. I then explained that there is speculation that Dr. Frankenstein may be based on Johann Dippel, who was born and raised in the real Frankenstein castle in Germany, and would exhume dead bodies to experiment on them in the dungeon of the castle. The next several slides were a virtual tour of the castle, minus the dungeon, of which I could find no pictures. Most students were enthusiastic, and suggested a field trip to Germany. The final slide was a tie-in with the group project that I told them about after the presentation, as well as other facts about the novel and a reminder for students to note how Shelley's life and knowledge of science played into the writing of the novel. Afterward, I explained the group presentation project. The students will be divided into groups. They will work together as groups (and be grading each other) to prepare and information sheet for the class on their topic. The topics include: Romanticism, Gothic novels, scientific influences, and mythological influences (Promethius). Students also have to come up with a visual. Next week, the groups will present the information and "teach" the class. It will be fun. We had a little bit of time at the end of the period, so I checked out the novels and a member of the class each hour would volunteer to read the preface. They were also assigned the Introduction to the Third Edition.
I had actually expected the presentation to last a little longer, but the response I got from students was wonderful. I made a correction of a subject-verb disagreement that the students first hour caught. (Ah, so they ARE paying attention to grammar!) I also made a change to a word that was bugging me in the biography. There were some points that I didn't have written in the biography that I mentioned. I think I will re-locate those facts for citation purposes and put them in for future classes. The only other change I might make would be to re-do the pictures for the activity. Originally, this was an activity from another lesson I had written. A comment from Ms. Bedford the issues slide made me think to use it. It was originally a worksheet, which printed out in black and white was not impressive. That, and the encouragement to cut down on paper usage, was why I put it up as a slide, still in its worksheet form. I had a time issue to consider when I made the slide. I think it will look better if I fix it. Overall, I think it was a very successful lesson. I got good reviews from Mr. Johnson and Ms. Bedford. I look forward to using it in the future.
Posted by englishjunkie
at 4:15 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007 6:12 AM CST