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Care to help me make a novel decision?

Discussion in 'English' started by rosieeo, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. rosieeo

    rosieeo New commenter

    And by novel I mean literally, help me pick a novel!
    I have a grand total of three Year 8 classes this coming year, ranging from set 2 to set 4. We normally do Holes with bottom sets and The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas with higher sets. I don't want to plan completely different lessons (obviously they'll need some tweaking for different sets).
    BUT I have never liked Holes. Bad PGCE experience, although I can see how it works. Boy makes me bawl like a girl and I'm not sure I can repeat that experience three times.
    So, trying to be objective, which novel do you think lends itself best to a wide range of abilities? We do have some other WW2 novels: Machine Gunners and Good Night Mister Tom. The latter also makes me weep because of the dead baby. Honestly, war is not a good topic for me! Should I just go with Holes or is it too easy for a set 2?
    While I'm at it: Stone Cold or Brother in the Land for Year 9 set 3?
  2. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    I'm not fond of 'Stonhe Cold' but it's good for dual narrative, I suppose.
    I did 'Holes' with bottom set Yr 8 last year, but I also did 'The Snake-stone' with a bottom set Yr 9 and they absolutely loved it. I don't see why it wouldn't work with a yr 8 though and the edition we have is full of activities, so little thinking required!
  3. I know you don`t like war but Private Peaceful?
  4. rosieeo

    rosieeo New commenter

    Gruoch, I totally agree with your Stone Cold comments. I prefer Brother in the Land (and showing them Threads at the end) but have tons of resources for Stone Cold. Decisions, decisions.
    I haven't read The Snake-Stone and we haven't got a set in school, but I've just googled it and it looks good! I'll have to read it soon.
  5. rosieeo

    rosieeo New commenter

    Now I read this before I had children (which has made me soft) and I did like it! Not sure we've got a set though, this is my problem. I think we have Bridge to Terabithia somewhere. I haven't read it, although I've seen the film.
  6. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    I like 'Z for Zachariah', though I've not taught it for yonks.
  7. Holes does not have to be an easy text. I have written on it for my children's lit MA and it can be read in many different ways. Annette Wannamaker has written a very convincing paper from a Lacanian/Kristevan viewpoint that would stretch the most able of year eights (it stretched me) and there's also a very up to date study of it as a text that has grown out of the western landscape, by Kirsten Mollegard. Looking beyond Sachar's overt intentions leaves the text open to pertinent questions.
  8. rosieeo

    rosieeo New commenter

    That would be fantastic, thank you! My email address is rosieeo@hotmail.com.
  9. rosieeo

    rosieeo New commenter

    Okay, that's really interesting Figgins. I think I found the abstract (Filling the the Gaps and Lacks?), I don't suppose I could be cheeky and ask if you have the pdf? Thanks!
  10. Go with Holes for whole of year 8 and Stone Cold for year 9 - you know them and have many resources for them; plus both lend themselves to differentiation up and down. Make life easier for yourself ;-) Good luck.
  11. regentsreject

    regentsreject Occasional commenter

    I've never had a KS3 class who didn't enjoy Abomination - I even did it with a bottom set Y9 as a treat after SATS once. However, if you cry easily this may not be right for you! It's very old hat, but Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit is based on the very interesting concept of immortality and has some beautiful language work in it too. I also echo the suggestion of The Snakestone - lovely book, dual narrative, lots of language work and a very interesting topic.
  12. sweetie1

    sweetie1 New commenter

    Can I be cheeky and ask for a copy of Wannamaker's paper if you have one. Finances a bit tight at the moment!
    Thanks in anticipation

  13. sweetie and roseoo, I have emailed you.
  14. pomunder

    pomunder New commenter

    I loathe "Holes" because it purports to be real, set in the contemporary US, and yet has a boys' prison/work farm free of racism or sexual exploitation.
  15. fishtail

    fishtail New commenter

    Rosie, you have mail.

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