Unit 1 – “Prejudice and Perspective” (The Outsiders)

We will begin by exploring the concepts of stereotypes and perspectives. We will be using S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders as a way to investigate how people construct different understandings of the world from different points of view, and how this can lead to incomplete or simplistic ideas about people (stereotypes).

The Outsiders was written by Hinton when she was still in secondary school, and she finished the book by the time she was 17! Since its publication in 1967, it has become a staple of middle school English classes all across the world. What is it about this book that seems to capture hearts and minds, even decades after its publication? Perhaps it is because it reveals that things are not always what they seem, and it can be beneficial to look at issues from other peoples’ points of view. Well, either that or the interesting cast of characters!

LEARNING ACTIVITIES

Session 1 – “No-Good Hoods!” Stereotypes and Gangs
In the first session we will explore the concept of stereotypes before tuning in to the unit by exploring our notions about gang members. We will listen to a podcast activity about the gangs of Harper High (Chicago) and begin reading The Outsiders.

Session 2 – “Literary Learnings”
Good fiction can reveal truths about the real world. In this lesson we investigate some of the important concepts that are illustrated by the novel and learn to support our connections with reference to a literary text.

Session 3 – “A Personal Perspective”
Who tells the story, and why is it important to consider this question? Today we learn about how point of view can change the interpretation of a story. We will consider the advantages and disadvantages of the first person POV and discuss why S.E. Hinton might have chosen this narrative viewpoint.

Session 4 – Prejudice and Stereotypes
What is prejudice? Where does it come from? What effects does it have? In this session, we take a break from the book to explore real-life depictions of stereotypes and instances of prejudice.

Session 5 – “Contrasting Cliques”
Fiction is full of contrasts – often writers or film makers will put two very dissimilar characters right next to each other! Today we explore the effect of contrasting characters and ideas and learn to use a ‘double bubble’ map. We will also revise our understanding of characterisation and the STEAL model.

Session 6 – “Beyond the Stereotypes”
How closely do the stereotypes we hold represent real people? Today we explore this question by comparing and contrasting characters from the text with the Greaser and Soc stereotypes. We will also learn about how to start an literary analysis essay using the EmPOWER strategy.

Session 7 – Writing Academically
We take some time out from the novel to revise and improve our essay knowledge and skills. We will focus on content, audience, purpose, structure, language, using evidence, and style/language use. We will apply our knowledge by editing our essays.

Session 8 – “Between the Lines”
In today’s lesson we reflect on our essay feedback, learn the importance of inferencing, and use this reading skill to improve the level of perceptive detail in our analytical writing.

Session 9 – “You, Me and Us” Group Identity
Ponyboy has mixed feelings about being a greaser. In this lesson we will try to create more nuanced ideas by considering conflicting opinions about individual vs. group identity.

Session 10 – “She’s Leaving Home” Narrative exam
We will prepare for the upcoming exam by analysing a poem, learning the features of narrative, and planning our story opening.

Session 11 – Letters to the editor
Different perspectives can also be explored in nonfiction texts. In these lessons we will be reading about real-life news stories concerning prejudice and stereotypes and learn to write letters to the editor to express different points of view.

Session 12 – Conclusion
Today we wrap up the unit by considering how our knowledge, understanding and skills have developed. We will also learn about making our language more active and concise in order to more effectively peer- and self-edit our letters to the editor.

ASSESSMENT

Task 1 – The Outsiders literary analysis essay (stereotypes)

Task ? – Letters to the Editor

Task ? – She’s Leaving Home narrative exam

RESOURCES AND LINKS

  • Audiobook link – Listen to this as you read the novel.
  • CliffsNotes – Very comprehensive summary and analysis of The Outsiders
  • SparkNotes – Another comprehensive summary and analysis site
  • Shmoop – This site provides analysis in fun and friendly language. Just don’t use the same style in your own analytical writing! There is also a good video summary here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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