Monday, May 9, 2011

Agenda for Day One of The Wild Things Unit

The Wild Things

Essential Questions

Is it possible to please everyone all the time and should we try to?

Is it always a good thing to get what you want?

What do the characters in The Wild Things teach us about love and loneliness?

How does Max begin to understand himself when he’s lost?

What do the characters’ relationships in The Wild Things teach us about our own relationships?


Introduce the essential questions, thematic ideas, and general information on The Wild Things unit.


I. Do Now

II. Agree/disagree handout

III. Fishbowl discussion

IV. Book & Unit introduction

V. Homework assignment

VI. Final thoughts/last words

I. Do Now-grab handouts, find seats, clear desk except for handouts. (5 minutes)

II. Read the statements on the agree/disagree handout and mark whether you agree or disagree with each statement. Select three of the statements and explain why you disagree or agree with them on the back of the handout. (20 minutes)

III. In the fishbowl discussion, five students will sit in the middle of the room, pick a number and then discuss their thoughts on the corresponding statement from the handout for five minutes. Everyone in class will have a turn in the fishbowl. (45 minutes)

IV. Book & unit introduction-The Wild Things will be introduced briefly as will things to think about while we are reading. Expectations for the unit will be outlined (see due dates handout) (15 minutes)

V. For homework, complete the thematic terms handout.

VI. Final thoughts, last words, questions. (5 minutes)

The Wild Things Agree/Disagree Handout

This is another pre-reading handout for the students prior to reading Dave Eggers' The Wild Things.

Agree or Disagree?

Read each statement carefully and then write whether you agree or disagree.

Pick three of the statements and explain (on the back of this sheet) why you agree or disagree.

1. Being wild and crazy is always fun.

2. The leader or the person in charge of a group is always right.

3. Adults always know which is the best decision to make.

4. It would be hard to be the person in charge.

5. I don’t know who I am.

6. The leader or person in charge always knows what to do.

7. Sometimes I feel out of control.

8. No one should tell you want to do.

9. I often can’t explain why I do certain things.

10. You can be friends with someone who you aren’t honest with.

11. I’m afraid of who I am sometimes.

12. If I were in charge, everything would be perfect.

13. I sometimes act out for attention.

14. Everyone feels lonely and misunderstood sometimes.

15. Your family members should always be there for you.

16. One should always stop and think before they act.

The Wild Things Thematic Terms Handout

A graphic organizer to get the students thinking of the larger themes in The Wild Things by Dave Eggers.

The Wild Things

Essential Questions:

Is it possible to please everyone all the time and should we try to?

Is it always a good thing to get what you want?

What do the characters in The Wild Things teach us about love and loneliness?

How does Max begin to understand himself when he’s lost?

What do the characters’ relationships in The Wild Things teach us about our own relationships?

Brainstorm on the following terms/concepts that we will encounter during this unit:


What you think of when you hear this word:












Being misunderstood






Bukowski for Poetry Unit

I know that most people wouldn't think to include Bukowski, especially not poetry purists, but this has long been one of my most favorite poems. I think/hope it could be inspirational for the students.

The Laughing Heart

By Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Starter for the Poetry Unit

A poet Laureate to start the unit!

Introduction to Poetry

By Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem

and hold it up to the light

like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem

and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room

and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski

across the surface of a poem

waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do

is tie the poem to a chair with rope

and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose

to find out what it really means.

Cummings Poem for Poetry Unit

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond

By e.e. cummings

somewhere i have never travelled,

gladly beyond any experience,your eyes have their silence:

in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,

or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me

though i have closed myself as fingers,

you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens (touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and

my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,

as when the heart of this flower imagines

the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility:whose texture

compels me with the color of its countries,

rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes

and opens;only something in me understands

the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)

nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

Frost Poem for Poetry Unit

I figure that I should include at least one and not the old "Two Roads Diverged in a Wood. . ." chestnut. Thoughts?

Out, Out—

By Robert Frost

The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard

And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,

Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.

And from there those that lifted eyes could count

Five mountain ranges one behind the other

Under the sunset far into Vermont.

And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,

As it ran light, or had to bear a load.

And nothing happened: day was all but done.

Call it a day, I wish they might have said

To please the boy by giving him the half hour

That a boy counts so much when saved from work.

His sister stood beside them in her apron

To tell them "Supper." At the word, the saw,

As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,

Leaped out at the boy's hand, or seemed to leap—

He must have given the hand. However it was,

Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!

The boy's first outcry was a rueful laugh,

As he swung toward them holding up the hand

Half in appeal, but half as if to keep

The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—

Since he was old enough to know, big boy

Doing a man's work, though a child at heart—

He saw all spoiled. "Don't let him cut my hand off—

The doctor, when he comes. Don't let him, sister!"

So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.

He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.

And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright. No one believed. They listened at his heart.

Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.

No more to build on there. And they, since they

Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.