Last Friday, I introduced my students to our new class novel: GONE, by Michael Grant – or as I like to call it, Lord of the Flies on crack. I told them a little bit about the author, showed them how to follow him on Twitter @theFayze and then read them the synopsis:
Everyone except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.
It’s a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent.
And they were hooked.
I gave each of the kids 5 minutes to brainstorm three possible conflicts that might occur in the novel and explain which of those three conflicts would be the most dangerous. By the time they were done writing and sharing what they had written, they were more than ready to get started. When I told my 2nd Block we were going to stop reading after we had finished the first chapter, one student got rather vocal:
Student: “What? Miss Lewis, why would you do that to us? This book is actually good! I was paying attention and everything. We want to know what’s going to happen! That’s fraud.”
Flash Forward To Today
As the same student comes into the room I tell her:
Me: “Guess what? I have a pretty cool surprise for you guys today about our book.”
Student: “Really? What is it?”
After the class filed in I told them the big news:
Me: “To start off class today, we are going to read the next two chapters of our GONE book and things are going to get pretty intense. Also, I have some pretty cool news. You know how I told you that our author always responds when you ask him a question on Twitter? Well I tweeted him on Friday and told him how excited some of you were to start reading his book, and he agreed to Skype with our class.”
I explained how Skype worked and quite a few kids got pretty excited. One student even said, “that’s really cool that an author would want to talk to kids.”
After our discussion about our upcoming Skype, the excited student from Friday pipes up:
Student: “Wait, Miss Lewis, you told me when we came in, that you had a surprise for us.”
A little bit later we all got a surprise- including me.
I pulled up the video clip, that was to guide our discussion on theme. The video was about a 9-year-old boy who broke down crying in the middle of his audition for Britain’s Got Talent, but he didn’t quit. He pulled himself together, made a second attempt and blew the judges out of the water.
The clip ended, and the room fell silent as the kids began to write, until… the following video popped up on the screen as an ad. I tried to cover up the projector, but…well… let’s just say the kids got an eyeful.