Tag Archives: Dystopian Unit

Contemporary Dystopian Fiction Playlist

Instructional Playlists are individualized digital (hyperlinked) lessons and assignments for students to follow. Whereas a hyperdoc could be one lesson or inquiry unit, a playlist provides students directions for an entire unit. Students can work through these hyperdocs and play lists at their own pace. The teacher might provide dates to help students keep pace and not leave the assignments until the last day. Additionally, since every student gets a copy of the playlist on Google Classroom, the playlist can be individualized to support the diverse learners in your classroom.

This contemporary dystopian playlist is a three week unit that is driven by students reading and book club discussions. Playlists are perfect for blended learning classrooms. Playlists are like full lessons that involve combinations of whole group learning, online learning, face to face opportunities, online learning with individual collaboration and small group learning. When you enter my 8th grade ELA classroom students spend the first ten minutes of class time reading their contemporary dystopian text and then responding in their Reader’s Notebook. On Reading Workshop days students get longer reading time in the classroom. If we expect students to read we need to give them the time to read in our own classes. For this unit, since it is only three weeks we are focusing in on the setting of the dystopian society and characterization. Students will learn about the Hero’s Journey and types of dystopian controls. Students will have multiple opportunities to work in their book clubs to share their thinking about their reading and learn from one another.

If you are new to creating playlists and hyperdocs, note that packaging is key. Think about aesthetics and the visual effect of the playlist. Make sure the organization is simple, clear, and accessible to diverse learners. Provide opportunities for student collaboration and inquiry based learning. Try new approaches to student learning. So what are you waiting for? Try out a playlist with your next unit and let me know how it goes.

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Dystopian Quest 2019

Imagine a world where information is used as a form of control. Where books and knowledge are guarded by the powerful few. Science, technology, and language are utilized for propaganda, social control, and brainwashing. 

Call to Adventure

Welcome to our Dystopian Quest where it is the mission of my eighth grade students uncover the disinformation, brainwashing, and indoctrination of the people living in the utopian/dystopian worlds they read about in young adult fiction. Students are called upon to find the heroes who are already on a path to uncover the deception and fabrication of their world and community. 

Instead of reading and completing traditional quizzes and tests about the dystopian books students are reading, they are immersed in an adventure based quest throughout their reading unit, completing different missions to uncover new thinking about their reading. Students earn game points or “XP” (Experience Points) with each mission that they later can utilize for different powers and privileges in the classroom. 

If we are going to energize our students, we need to embrace technology with teaching methods that inspire and encourage our students to be motivated to learn, collaborate, and face obstacles in a positive way. Approaching learning as a quest or a mission can inspire adventure, collaboration, and results in a better learning experience and learning environment. Gamification and game based learning captures (and retains) learners’ attention, challenges students, engages and entertains them, and teaches them.

Below is the hyperdoc that maps out the three week dystopian quest for my students. Students choose the dystopian books they want to read. YA choices include The Giver by Lois Lowry, Neal Shusterman’s Unwind and Scythe series, Animal Farm by George Orwell, The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard, and The Reader by Traci Chee.

Classcraft Dystopian Quest

 

As students are reading, they have different missions to complete that have them unpack the dystopias and draw connections between the fictional worlds and our reality today. For the final mission students write a thematic essay utilizing text based evidence. There are sidequests for students to complete for additional points and privileges. This hyperdoc and quest has taken on many different forms and this year I have it paired down to cover the elements of dystopia that will help scaffold students’ comprehension and close reading. Topics include characterization, propaganda, text connections, and hero’s journey.

Want to know more about this quest and reading unit, contact me and I am happy to share more.

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Dystopian Worlds: Mash Up & Unit Overview

This week I am beginning a new literature unit, dystopian literature circles. Due to the success of The Hunger Games and the forthcoming Divergent series, my students will select to read one of the following three dystopian novels for our next unit of study:

The Giver by Lois Lowery
Unwind by Neil Shusterman
Animal Farm by George Orwell

To begin the unit, I am starting by changing the rules in my classroom and then have students react and reflect on the rule changes in the classroom. I will introduce the idea of a dystopia and give a book talk about each of the book choices.

Day 2 Pre-Reading Activity consists of a lesson on key themes in dystopian literature

Day 3 Pre-Reading Activity students will complete a QR Code Quest addressing dystopian ideas presented in poetry, music, and art.

Day 4 Pre-Reading Activity is a non fiction text pairing with an article by Rebecca Solnit about the similarities between The Hunger Games and the current political climate today. The main idea presented in the article is that for as much as science fiction and dystopian literature is about the future, it always turns out to be very much about the present.

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