Lesson Plan on Short Novel: Of Mice and Men

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1 Lesson Plan on Short Novel: Of Mice and Men Aims: - Intensive reading and discussion of a short novel. SS should be able to recognize different ways of characterization and the influence of the narrator in how he can manipulate the reader by leading him in a certain direction (foreshadowing, repetitions, contrasts etc.). - Book in a wider context: The story takes place in the 1930s, how does that influence it? SS should get a first idea of reading a novel in context. Students and Situation: - 3 rd or 4 th form; ss might have read some non-simplified books before (the AE slang and colloquialisms could discourage ss as they will not understand it all) - 7 weeks: 1lesson/week - It might need some pre-teaching of AE slang and colloquialism Book edition: Depending on the level of the class: - for a weaker class it might be good to use the Reclam edition with German explanations on the bottom of the pages - for a stronger class I would use an edition without explanations (looks like a real book, not an easy reader) 1

2 Lesson 1: Introduction Song: Joey by Bon Jovi listen to the song (without ss having the text) Questions: What is the song about? Themes/topics? Let them discuss in pairs what they understood each pair writes one thing on bb. Hand out the text (Handout 1) and listen again discussion in Introduction of some of the main themes in the book: friendship, loyalty, dream of better future, etc. Introduction of colloquial American English (gonna, etc.) class Show the ss different versions of the book s cover and the title. What could the story be about? Which topics od the song might Make ss curious about the book come up in the book? Depending on the class and on time: Do a vocabulary activity to introduce the colloquial language of the book (Handout 2) if not, just hand it out in the end with homework Let ss close their eyes and read the first paragraph of chapter 1 aloud. Homework: Read Chapter 1 Fill in your plot sheet (Handout 3) Write also down three things that you think important about the relationship of the two characters. Introduction of some of the colloquial language that comes up throughout the book First impression of the text and setting of the scene for ss own lecture. Lesson 2: Main Characters - George and Lennie Role play: Pair ss up and let them rehearse the scene (Handout 4). Each pair presents their scene to another pair (groups of 4) and they discuss it afterwards in group. What was different? What does the scene say about George and Lennie and their relationship? Ss should get a feeling for the two main characters. 2

3 Still in their groups: As George and Lennie are going to start a new job, let ss write an application which includes a physical description, abilities, weaknesses, etc. Each group produces two A3 posters (one for each person). Discussion of the posters in class. Homework: Read Chapter 2 Fill in your plot sheet (Handout 3) T divides class into 6 groups, each group gets another task: 5 groups look each at one of the newly introduced characters: Candy, Curley, Curley s wife, Slim and Carlson; the 6 th group looks at the setting (the farm) ss are asked to make notes on their task (individually). How are they? What are they doing? How do they relate to other characters? Characterization Lesson 3: Introduction of more characters and setting SS get together in their groups: they discuss their findings and create a portrait of their character (if there are students with artistic talent encourage them to make a sketch), the 6 th group should try to draw a map of the farm. presentation to class Create the setting and get to know all the important characters. In class: put all the posters up on bb and let students arrange them according to relations and interactions (like a mind map or a kind of a family tree discuss the result (If there is still time) Let ss individually write some predictions: What is going to happen if you look at this setting? Homework: (if not done in lesson) Write three predictions of what might happen next (before reading on!) Read Chapter 3 Fill in your plot sheet (Handout 3) Write a short text describing George and Lennie s future farm Create the setting and get to know all the important characters. SS anticipate some of the future events introduction of foreshadowing You need magnets for the bb! Depending on the class this could get messy! 3

4 from Lennie s point of view. Lesson 4: Dream of a better future (American Dream) In class: Let ss report about their predictions: Did some of them Teaching a technical term: foreshadowing. come true? Ask them what made them write exactly this prediction. (e.g. fight between Curley and Lennie) T gives a short input on how foreshadowing works Teaching a technical term: foreshadowing. In groups (3-4 ss): ss read their texts (homework) to each other and discuss them: How does it differ from the way George describes it? Is this a realistic dream? Comprehension: discussion of a theme. What keeps characters going? Discussion in class with additional questions: What does this dream mean for Candy? etc. Homework: Read Chapter 4 Fill in your plot sheet (Handout 3) Group work: do internet research and prepare a short presentation (5 min) and handout on your group topic. (Topics e.g.: general overview of the 1030s including the Great Depression, women in the 1930s, black people in the 1930s, retarded and old people in the 1930s) Independent dealing with Topics must be very clearly set and I would provide links to internet sources on the topics. Lesson 5: The outcasts discrimination in the 1930s (internet research) Groups presentations and short discussions of the topics in To see the story in a larger context Presentations or quiz first? relation to the story. Summary quiz (Handout 5), every student on his own short check of solution in class Quick recapitulation of plot Source: OMAM_04_summaryquiz.htm 4

5 Discussion of the strange group in this chapter (Crooks, Lennie, Candy and Curley s wife): What brings them together? Homework: Read Chapter 5 Fill in your plot sheet (Handout 3) Write down three questions or points you would like to discuss about this chapter. Linking the story to the presentations, discovery of another theme: loneliness. Lesson 6: Escalation Class discussion: Did you expect this escalation? Was there any foreshadowing? Ss questions and points. Encourage ss to create their own discussion free discussion (monitoring and soft T prepares discussion topics just in case Group work (3 groups): ss create a Wanted poster to find Lennie. Group 1: as police; group 2: as George, group 3: as Curley. Homework: Read Chapter 6 Fill in your plot sheet (Handout 3) Look again at your predictions (homework lesson 4). Did some more of them come true? Write a pro-and-contra-list of what George does (5 points each) guiding by t) Make ss aware of different interpretations of the same incident. Lesson 7: Conclusion In class: collect some reactions from ss Personal response to story In pairs: ss discuss their lists (t observes and assigns the pairs to Defending one s point in discussion/argument the pro or contra side) create a plea for or against George disputation Alternatively you could stage a trial Homework: Write an alternative ending (e.g. they get away together) or continue the story (what happens to George?) Last reflection on the book; creative writing 5

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