I think I do a pretty good job of having students find evidence in the text (standard 1). That they don’t always integrate this evidence into their essays is another issue, but when I ask them to find, for example, a quote that highlights something the society in BNW values, they can provide a quote about community or stability. We’re about halfway through the book at this point, and I’ve asked them to find quotes that support assertions or reveal something about the themes that I’ve provided them. As we get closer to finishing the text, they’ll have to make the assertions and find the quotes, but initially, I did to make sure they were on the right track.
As we finish and review the text this week, we’ll spend time looking at how themes are developed (standard 2), and new for me this time around, the author’s choices in how to develop and relate elements of a story (standard 3). I usually gloss over how BNW is written, but now I’ll slow down the conversation and let the students focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the writing. We’ll have to spend time looking at how the text is structured and how that contributes to its overall meaning (standard 5). And we’ll look at why Huxley wrote the novel, which I think gets at standard 6 (point of view).
One aspect of teaching this unit that I am not changing is all the additional reading I bring in to support our study of the ideas presented in BNW. Some of these readings include Huxley’s own essays in Brave New World Revisited, but I have some additional current events-type articles to also spark discussion and deeper thought. These address the CCSS standards for reading informational texts. As with the novel itself, I’ve used some of these readings in the past to generate in-class discussions, but now, with the standards for informational reading in hand, we’ll spend more time analyzing the text and not just the ideas.
I know it isn’t necessary to hit every standard in every unit, that the standards are end-of-year grade-level expectations, but I do need to make sure that I am addressing these throughout the year and not just focusing on the easy-for-me or preferably-to-me standards. And looking at how this novel is written is just as important as what was written, so that’s the task this week.
How are you adapting your lessons to meet the new standards, Jen B?