Back to School Week: Twilight in the Classroom

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Last year, during out first Back to School Week, we received a lot of feedback on a Twilight unit plan I created and posted to the site. This feedback was both positive and negative. Many complained that I was forcing my children to read books they weren’t interested in or I was merely teaching my students trash. I have to admit I was a little surprised by this type of response. So to answer the claims…again…..

1) Part of reading in schools is discovering books you might of first turned down. And last time I checked, you don’t always read something you love. The point is that a good teacher gives the student the space and an outlet in which the student can express his or her disappointment with the selection. The teacher in fact should teach you the tools to properly criticize a text.

2) I was more concerned with the subject matter when it came down to teaching the novel. I was worried that some parents would not want their students reading about mythical creatures (i.e the same kind of parents who would not want their students to read Harry Potter because it has magic). As a result, students chose between three books: The Uglies, Twilight, or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The focus of our unit was Gothic literature, developing higher level questioning skills, and using narratives to explore world issues. It was a wonderful unit. My students created soundtracks, blogged, and created a variety of art projects. This was in conjunction to the weekly literature circles and Socratic seminars where students learned to discuss books.

Below you will find some pictures of some of the projects turned in:

DSC04062Above is our soundtrack wall. Students had to select songs that reminded them of the novel. They then had to analyze the lyrics and compose arguments as to how each song represented the themes, conflicts, and mood of the narrative.

DSC04068Above is a student’s recreation of the setting of The Uglies. The student also had to explain the importance of the setting in conjunction with understanding the text  itself.

DSC04069Another set creation from The Uglies

DSC04070Look familiar? A student recreated the baseball scene from Twilight.

Don’t forget to check back this afternoon for updated project menus for the unit, as well as a power point on Gothic lit.

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One Response

  1. Dear Tiffany,

    I’m really happy to discover that you are a high school teacher. I’ve just posted some comment on your paper about the Gothic novel’s Othering of the Female.
    I teach English as a Foreign language and last year I did a Unit on Vampires movies when Twilight was released in France. “from Nosferatu to Twilight” Kids did research on the films I selcted and did a poster to illustrate their oral presentation. I felt the need to teach them other aspects of Vampires.
    I’m appalled to see that parents would object to your choice of books.
    As I said in my other post it is because I was gently asked to read it so as to discuss the book that I started Twilight. I am rather a fan of Tony Morrison, Edith Wharton, David Lodge, Mc Call Smith and many more. I love it when it is not easy and when the writer plays smart tricks on the reader. And yet, as I wanted to “separate the wheat from the chaff” I read Twilight. I also tried to understand why my students and the daughters of my friends enjoyed it so much. So to be honest I tried to be 16 again (I am 46!)
    I really think there is a lot to say about it despite the remarks on language.
    I think It should not only be labelled as Gothic novel,this story of forbidden love is strongly linked to classics of western literature.

    Thank you again for sharing your work!
    Catherine

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