Monday, May 21, 2012

Dystopian Unit

Big question – What can we learn about our world by reading dystopian literature?
Many ideas from NY Times Lesson Plans Site have been used and expanded upon. Reference:

What inspired or influenced the authors of our Dystopian Novels when writing their books? What is the background of the novels? How humanity survives… Government or Political Structure… The role of "Big Brother" watching you… The use of resources or amount of resources….
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins,AAAAAFv844g~,BASb5BU03X_L2cn86MC9qSzQHunGEilJ&bclid=1745181007&bctid=1840656769
Book Trailer -

Movie Trailer -

Divergent – Veronica Roth

Book Trailer -

Matched – Ally Condie
Book trailer -

Maze Runner – James Dashner

Book trailer -

The Eleventh Plague – Jeff Hirsch

Book Trailer -


Literature Circles – Setting Ground Rules
In the next few weeks you will have the opportunity to read, discuss and share your thoughts on a novel. The purpose of literature circles is that of a book club. You will be expected to not only talk about the book, but respond to a variety of questions that get you thinking and participate in a variety of roles as you read and reflect. As part of journaling, you
will post your reactions to their reading on our class blogging site (

Ground rules questions:
What kind of behaviours help groups succeed?
What kind of behaviours make meetings a chore or unproductive?
As a group decide on 3-5 common expectations for the Ground Rules. Review, Revise and Reset any rules if needed.
Write down these expectations on this sheet – then one member (the first Discussion Director) will record them on (volunteer please type on your account)…
Reflect on the Ground Rules…
  • What rule will be the easiest for you to follow?
  • Which rule is gin got give you the most difficulty?
  • What plans can you make that will decrease the likelihood of you letting your group down?
*** If needed, review these rules again at the beginning or end of each Literature Circles Meeting.
** As groups review the Dystopian Literature Schedule of Assignments. Review your role for each week, and the deadlines for Journal Blog Responses and Literature Circles Role Assignments.
* Review the Rubrics included with this package/or your teacher will lead you through a rubric making exercise.
Dystopian Literature Schedule of Assignments….
The novels will be divided into 5 sections by groups. Groups will figure out the lengths of each section. You will have Reader's Responses for each section assigned by Ms. SM and a role assignment or task for each week.
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday 
Week of
May 7th
Handout Novels Start reading Read & Review Roles and Lit Circle Format & Divide novel into 5 sections Read Section 1 & Review Response Questions
Week of
May 14th
Group Discuss Responses
For Section 1 or Read together
Group Meeting – Section 1 due
Group Share & work on Responses #1 
Response #1 – posted on kidblog
Start to read Section 2 
No School -TPDNo School
Week of
May 21st
Read/Work/ Discuss
Group Share & work on Responses for #2
Reading for Section 2 due
Group Share & work on Responses #2 & Start to read Section 3
Response #2 – posted on kidblog
Read Section 3 
Read/Work/Discuss ResponsesRead/Work/Discuss Responses
Week of
May 28th
Reading for Section 3 due
Group Share & work on Responses for #3 
Response #3 due – posted on kidblog & Start to read Section 4Group Meeting – Read Section 4Read/Work/Discuss ResponsesRead/Work
Week of
June 4th
Response #4 due – posted on kidblog due
Start to read Section 5
Read/Work Read/Work Read/Work Reader's Response #5 due – posted on kidblog 
Week of
June 11th
Response #5 due – posted on kidblogFinal Novel Activities Final Novel Activities Final Novel ActivitiesFinal Novel Activities
Week of
June 18th

Journal Blog
Name:______________________ Date:_______________

Literature Circle – Book Club Journal Blog Assignments…

Meeting #1 / Section #1- "Making Predictions…"
  1. What's your prediction? Put your novel away. You are going to predict the ending of your novel and include this prediction in your blog. What page are you on? What's the total number of pages in the book?
  2. Which character will experience the biggest change? Based on what you've read, which character do you think will experience the biggest change by the end of the book? These changes may include physical circumstances, lifestyle, relationships or thinking/values. Explain what you think is going to happen to this character by the time the story is over. Briefly describe the clues in the story that make you think this.
  3. How will the book end? What are the clues? Next, based on what you've read so far, how do you think the book will end? What problems will be resolved? What will happen to the main characters other than the one you discussed in Part 1? Briefly explain the clues in the story that make you think this.
    After you jot note your reactions, share your ideas with your group.
  4. How does the setting show a dystopian society or dystopian control? Finally, refer to the "Dystopia: Definition and Characteristics" – What aspects of this section of reading, show the "Characteristics of a Dystopian Society", "Types of Dystopian Controls" or the characteristics of a "Dystopian Protagonist"? Refer to the handout and describe what is shown so far. Discuss this with your group, and include your observations on your copy of this handout.
1st Assignment: Go to kidblog and blog your responses to the bolded and italicized questions above. Write your response in the form of a kidblog post in numbered or paragraph form.
2nd Assignment: Create a Fakebook Character: As part of this first assignment, you will create a "Fakebook" page on a character from your novel. This "Fakebook" page is a web-based Facebook template that can be edited, saved on the Web (students will need to supply a password to retrieve their saved page; then they will be given the URL/web address to their saved page), and printed.

Basically it allows you to really get into the character and explore what his or her life would be like in a dystopian society. The whole point of this assignment is to explore the setting for the novel, character's point of view, interactions with other characters, and explore the theme and author's message in a creative way. In order to create an "authentic" page, you will need to follow the "Fakebook" assignment recommendations. Please refer to the classroom blog or kidblog for more information (or see accompanying handout). In order to allow for collaboration, you will need to POST A LINK TO YOUR "FAKEBOOK" PAGE on KIDBLOG. This will allow for other to comment on your page, and you will be able to go in to Fakebook and make any necessary changes.

*Here is the home page link to "Fakebook".
*See a sample created by Ms. SM at:
*Tips and Tools to Guide you in creating the Fake Facebook page...
Meeting #2 / Section #2 – "Deep Thinking Questions… Metacognition and Dystopia"
While you are reading, "pay attention to your thinking"; each time you wonder something about the story, write the question on one of the sticky notes and stick it on the page in the text (include the page # on the sticky note). After you finish this selection of reading, complete the following tasks.

Deep Thinking Questions I had while I readWas your question answered in this section of reading?
Yes No 
Remove one of the sticky notes from the novel selection and paste it here. (Later you will rewrite your question in kidblog. )

Answer the question from the sticky note in sentence form (if the question was not answered in the story write what you think… begin with, "I think……")


1st Assignment:
Post your Deep Thinking Questions in Kidblog
, as well as your response to the question if it was answered. If you don't know the answer state what you think the answer is… and why. ** Add responses to reading Strategy questions, "Infer", "Connect" and "Identify" questions (see posts on blog).

2nd Assignment:
Add more detail to your Character Fakebook Page. See if you can incorporate some of these Deep Thinking Questions into your own Character's page, only write them from his or her point of view… Perhaps the Deep Thinking Questions can come from a Comments posted between your character and another character. You can even incorporate videos that make you think from youtube. What would your character comment on that connects to these Deep Thinking Questions? Write your response from your character in the form of a "rant". This will really connect to the character and explore the character's emotions and point of view. *See notes on writing the rant on the blog.

Meeting #3 / Section #3 – "Visualizing As You Read"
When you visualize you are using the words you hear or read in a text to create visual images or "movies in your head". As you read, make quick sketches on sticky notes of images that pop into your mind as you read. Examine your image, and explore the characteristics from the "Dystopia: Definition and Characteristics" handout that connect to your image. Share these observations with your group and add to your handout. Write about what you visualized in a blog and explain how visualizing can help you connect with what you read.

1st Assignment:
Choose one of the questions from the "Four Ways to Respond to Literature".
Write your response to the question giving concrete evidence and explanations from your novel, do this in Kidblog.

2nd Assignment: Add to your Character Fakebook Page.
Add some "memories" that your character remembers about life in their community. You could incorporate videos or image links (actual images cannot upload) that could be from your district. Try to further develop a sense of the setting… and the background for those characters in the novel.



Meeting #4 / Section #4 – "Exploring Characters"
  1. On loose leaf, you are going to record jot notes for a double entry journal. On one side, jot note a summary of what you know so far from reading the book, on the other side write your own thoughts and observations.
  2. As you read, you are going to infer how the characters have changed throughout the book and why they have changed. Decide on the most likely reason for the change and support it with evidence from the story or your own personal experiences.
  3. In groups, explore the following chart, "How and Why Characters Change". Examine how the character changed and what caused the transformation. Discuss the possibilities and support your ideas with evidence from the story or your own experiences.

Novel: Author: 
Section of Reading – pages:Character's Name: 
  1. At the Beginning the character…

  1. At the End the character…
  1. How the character changed…

  1. Why the character changed…


Fakebook Character Assignment: In Section 1 you created a "Fakebook" page on a character. Now in this section, you are going to add details that demonstrate a change in your character and how they have evolved over the course of the novel. In your character's words, try to explain why "you" (as the character) have changed. If your character is no longer key in the novel, create a second "Fakebook" page for another character showing their emotions and how they have changed. If the character is alive, they can start posting with your character showing their thoughts and opinions and how they've changed.

BE SURE TO POST A LINK TO YOUR "FAKEBOOK" PAGE. Remember here is the home page link to Fakebook.
See a sample created by your teacher at:

Meeting #5 / Section #5 – "Inferring the Point of View and the Author's Message"
Before beginning a story a writer must determine the point of view, or perspective, in which the story will be written.

In the first person point of view one character tells the story. This character reveals only personal thoughts and feelings of what s/he sees. The writer uses pronouns such as "I" or "me" or "my."

I woke up this morning feeling terrific. I hopped out of bed excited to start the new day. I knew that today was the day my big surprise would come.
second personWith the second person point of view the narrator tells the story using the pronoun "you".  The character is someone similar to you.

You jump out of bed feeling really terrific. Then you hop out of bed excited to start the new day. You know that today is the day that your big surprise will come.
The third person point of view is the most commonly used in fiction. When writing in the third person you will use pronouns such as "he", "she", or "it".

Brian woke up feeling terrific. He hopped out of bed excited to start the new day. He knew that today was the day that his big surprise would come.


Four Ways of Responding to Literature



Literature Circles Log for Dystopian Literature
Group Members:

Novel Sections:
1)__________________ Due date: _________________

2)__________________ Due date: __________________

3)__________________ Due date: __________________

4)__________________ Due date: __________________

5)__________________ Due date: __________________



Group Roles Rotation:
Section 1: Pages ___________
Discussion Director _______________
Vocabulary and Literary Luminary_______________
Character Captain_______________
Artful Artist_______________
Intrigue Investigator _______________
Section 4: Pages ___________
Discussion Director _______________
Vocabulary and Literary Luminary _______________
Connector _______________
Character Captain _______________
Artful Artist _______________
Intrigue Investigator _______________
Section 2: Pages ___________

Discussion Director _______________
Vocabulary and Literary Luminary _______________
Connector _______________
Character Captain _______________
Artful Artist _______________
Intrigue Investigator _______________
Section 5: Pages ___________
Discussion Director _______________
Vocabulary and Literary Luminary _______________
Connector _______________
Character Captain _______________
Artful Artist _______________
Intrigue Investigator _______________
Section 3: Pages ___________
Discussion Director _______________
Vocabulary and Literary Luminary _______________
Connector _______________
Character Captain _______________
Artful Artist _______________
Intrigue Investigator _______________
Role Descriptions Overview:
A "Literature Circle" is a structure for talking about a book with your peers as you read it together. Students are in charge of the discussion and for setting reading assignments together (how many pages read before next discussion). There are between 4 -6 members in each literature circle, and each member rotates one of the following jobs throughout the project. The main point of a "Lit Circle" is to talk about books, sort of like a "Book Talk". This means exploring key events, the characters, the tone, imagery, connections to real life, and of course, the author's message. Each role is explained below; note that with each role, there is a "Technological Task" that you must all complete. Each assignment must be handed in or posted by the due date on the "Literature Circles" calendar. Be sure to state your name, role and date. As your postings are sent to, Ms. S-M will quickly check them over and approve the posts if they free of errors.

Discussion Director/Facilitator: This student is responsible for writing down 4-5 thought-
provoking questions for the purpose of group discussion based on that day's reading assignment. As the group Facilitator, it is also this student's job to direct the group discussion, keep track of student work, and rate the group's "Habits of Work" each day the group meets.            Technological Task: Post your groups questions on and share your questions with your group in the Lit Circle meeting. Everyone will incorporate their responses to these questions in their Journal Blog Response (in addition to other comments or observations). In addition to coming up with questions, you must also include your own responses to the questions in your reader's response.

Vocabulary and Literary Luminary/Alternate Facilitator: This student is responsible for choosing parts of the story that he/she wants to read out loud to the group. The idea is to help students remember some interesting, powerful, puzzling, or important sections of the text being read. The Literary Luminary must decide which passages or paragraphs are worth reading aloud, and justify the reason for selecting them. Key passages and words are to be marked with a sticky note. Plus, this student is also responsible for finding especially important vocabulary in the story. Vocabulary selected should focus on words that are unfamiliar, interesting, important, repetitive, funny, puzzling, descriptive, vivid or those used in an unusual way. *Additionally, if the Discussion Director is absent, this student will serve as the Facilitator.                     Technological Task: Remember that the key passages and words are to be marked with a sticky note. Then later, typed in Word and copy/pasted into and used to create "word or passage cloud bursts".
Remember the wordle image will have to be printed right away, as they cannot be saved on this site.

Character Captain: This student is responsible for revealing specific personality traits of the character(s) within the novel. This means he/she will find examples in the assigned reading of behaviors/actions that help group members to know the character(s).         Technological Task: Create a voki avatar that speaks on behalf of the character in a mini 60 second podcast. The avatar must explain as a key character (protagonist, antagonist or secondary character) your thoughts, issues that you have with the events or other characters, conflicting feelings, values and beliefs, personal experiences of the character or how the society impacts the character.            *Link your voki avatar to a comment page on your blog. Be sure to include your responses to the role sheet on the page as well. In order to create an avatar, you will need to set up an account at which means you need an e-mail address.
Artful Adventurer: This student is responsible for sharing an artistic representation of the material read. Avenues for expression may include: artwork in any medium, music, poetry, collage, music, mobile or anything else which represents an aspect of the material read.                                 Technological Task: You are not required to do a technological task if you are creating a piece that can only be made by hand. You can create a collage of images, video and music that connect to the material on or on If you create a piece on glogster, include a link on, so that we can view your creation! Remember that all of you have individual accounts on glogster. In addition to creating a visual, you must provide a written description of what you created and explain how it represents a facet of the assigned reading.
Intrigue Investigator: This student is responsible for finding background information related to the chapters you read. As you are reading the section of chapters, decide what would be something to look up that relates to those chapters read. Using the internet or books, find out information and about the topic, and in your own words, type what you have discovered about the topic. When you meet with your group, explain why you chose that topic and what you discovered when you researched the topic. This assignment needs to be typed.         Technological Task: Post your research in your own words in a post on Be sure to write in your own words, and include any photos or video/internet links that will connect to your learning. Try to include some visual aspect that will capture your audience's attention. Be sure to cite your sources (where you got the information) with your entry.
Other Technological Tasks You Can Add in Your Journal Blog…
Plot Diagram at Read write think – Interactive tool allows students to plot the elements of a short story or novel. Plot – beginning, middle or end; or exposition, climax, resolution
Graphic Mapping at Read Write Think… The Graphic Map assists teachers and students in reading and writing activities by charting the high and low points related to a particular item or group of items, such as events during a day or chapters in a book. Students will chart high and low points for a group of items or events within a chapter. Items are graphed, but also organized and explained. Graph will have to be printed right away, as it cannot be saved.

Doodle Splash: This online tool combines the process of drawing with analytical thinking by pairing online drawing with writing prompts that encourage students to make connections between their visual designs and the text. Students can visualize what they are reading and create graphic symbols helps them develop as readers.
Literary Doodle As students read a chapter; they "doodle," either in a journal or using an online tool, responding to the text through images, symbols, shapes, and colors. They must be sure to represent all of the elements of the short story (setting, plot, character, point of view, and theme) in their doodles. Students then work in small groups, to construct a graphic of their story on a sheet of newsprint with crayons or markers. When all groups have completed their graphics, they will present them to the class, explaining why they chose the elements they used. Finished graphics can be displayed on a class bulletin board, on walls, or scanned in to a Web page.

Book cover Creator: Ask students to create new book covers for the books that they explore, using the Book Cover Creator. The tool gives students options to add both text and images to their covers. The tool does not include an option to save the work, so be sure that students do enough planning that they will be able to complete their covers in one session.

Assessment and Evaluation…

Group On-Task Evaluation

Literature Circles: To be evaluated by the Discussion Director/or Alternate Facilitator:
Daily Participation Scoring Guide for: ___________________________

Date: _________


Was student prepared for day's discussion?

Discussion Director/Facilitator:Yes No Comments:
Vocab and Literary Luminary/Alternate Facilitator:Yes No Comments:
Character Captain:Yes No Comments:
Connector:Yes No Comments:
Artful Artist:Yes No Comments:
Intrigue InvestigatorYes No Comments:

Group Standards

  1. As a group, assess your work habits for today. Discuss and circle the standard your group met for today. If your group fell into the In Progress or "IP" category, explain what didn't work, and make a plan for what you'll do differently at your next meeting.
  2. Using the descriptors provided in your scoring guide, award yourself a grade for your role sheet and your journal entries. Circle the letter that best describes you in each area.

Exceeds Standards

Meets Standards

In Progress

Group Skills: Habits of Work Group Members:
* Worked extremely well
* Provided a model for other students
* Were supportive of one another's views
Group Members:
* Worked well
* Were productive
* Met all objectives
* Planned for next meeting
Group Members:
* Did not function well
* Failed to meet objectives
* Were unable or unwilling to collaborate
* Were off-task
Self Assessment 

Teacher Assessment


Role Sheet:E M IP
Journal:E M IP
Role Sheet:
Journal:E M IP
E – Exceeds Standards; M – Meets Standards; IP – In Progress 


Individual Grades

Literature Circles Scoring Guide



In Progress


Blog –

Pre-group journal response is the response you write about what you have read before you meet with your group members.
Post-group journal response is the response you write after you meet with fellow group members and listen to the discussion and insights into the novel selection.
* Has achieved genuine insights as evidenced by insightful interpretations and evaluations of text; completes all the tasks for the Expected Outcomes for the meeting.
* Has gained richer understanding of the text through group discussion as evidenced by the depth and clarity of the response
* Can evaluate the effectiveness of his /her own contribution to the group discussion  
* Has read text carefully
* Has grasped the main ideas
* Can offer reasonable if sometimes incomplete or questionable interpretations
* Has addressed all required prompts or Expected Outcomes for the meeting
* Can cite two specific examples that demonstrate a richer understanding of the text after group discussion
* Can clearly state his/her contribution to the group within his/her role  
* Student has not read text carefully -- unable to identify main ideas or interpret text
* One or more of the required prompts have not been addressed - Expected Outcomes for the meeting not explored
* Is unable to cite specific examples of growth in understanding the text
* Is unable to clearly state the contribution he/she made to the group discussion 
Role Sheet * All of "Meets"
* Responses to assigned tasks indicate that student has achieved a superior and /or unique understanding of the material read
* Role tasks are complete complete
* Responses to assigned tasks indicate that student has an adequate understanding of the material  
* Student is unprepared for "Literature Circle Discussion" -- material was not read or Role tasks were incomplete and unprepared.
Habits of

Mind & Work

* Student never needs reminders from the teacher
* Acted as a model to other students
* Encouraged those around him/her to focus on the task at hand
* Highly focused and productive -- took team work seriously  
* Texts, journals and Role Sheets are always in hand at the start of class
* All deadlines are met, Role Sheets and Journals are complete
* Student is usually on-task, and requires little, if any, direction from the teacher
* Worked well in group -- productive and cooperative  
* Deadlines are not met
* Texts, Journals and Role Sheets are often missing
* Student needs many reminders to stay on task -- student distracts others
* Often not actively involved in group
* Lack of productivity resulted in independent study