I started teaching The Great Gatsby today! I am excited to get through our first novel, hopefully we get through it both efficiently and effectively. So far, not so, but that's all right. It's all about clear expectations and understanding what I need to do in preparation for the lesson.
Forgetting some of the pieces of The Great Gatsby in my haste, I forgot that the first part of the story is about the two "eggs" off the shore of New York. Realizing this mistake immediately, I realized I really should have presented some context information on the novel before beginning to read it with the class. My students had not heard of Long Island and could not truly name states located in the "midwest." This was obviously particularly disappointing since I REP THE MIDWEST. I mean, who doesn't know where the midwest is? Best part of America! I'm kidding.
But truly, it was interesting to see this impact. When I read this story in high school (in Wisconsin) we knew what the midwest was, and we also knew what the stereotypes associated with both the midwest and the East were. This would have helped a lot today. I tried to prove a solid point about stereotypes of the East coast, but none of my students knew the context...and the joke/teaching moment was a failure. Haha-in my face. Oops
I've learned from my mistakes quickly. I read through the text today after school in preparation of tomorrow's lesson. I have pinpointed particular things to point out. This weekend I am going to go through and highlight/write-up/sticky note all of the things I find to be important. Hopefully that will shock them quite a bit on Monday when they realize what they need to do to their book. I am excited! My favorite thing in high school was when we were done and I had 7 different highlighting colors and four different colored post-its. I was SO OCD when it came to note-taking/writing in the book. Maybe I'll just have my mom & dad send me my copy of The Great Gatsby. The kids will FREAK out at me.