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Holes by Louis Sachar

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Ktee, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. Ktee

    Ktee New commenter

    Thinking of doing a week on 'Holes' as part of Book Week related work with my Y6 class. Has anyone done anything with this book before? We're obviously not going to have time to read the whole book in one week but thought we could read bits and I could 'fill the gaps'.
    Have a few ideas of work Icould do but just wondered if anyone had used tis book before and what sort of ideas/ activities you did.
    Any advice gratefully received!
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Several schools in my LA use this book in Year 7 or 8. There's quite a few resources on Teachit but obviously aimed at KS3. I think there's also some resources here on TES but again probably aimed at KS3.
    It's such a good book & where children have seen the DVD & therefore spoilt the surprise of the Warden for example it seems a shame to 'rush' such a good book. What about a unit on Louis Sachar as author? Children compare books by him, write book reviews, story mountains etc?
    Remember he's now written a sequel to Holes, as well as There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom (often used as a transition text for High school).
  3. Ktee

    Ktee New commenter

    As part of World Book Day each class has chosen a book that has been turned into a film. I chose this one because it's one none of them have come across before. I've looked on Teachit and TES and there are some ideas I definitely could adapt, thank you.
  4. Ktee

    Ktee New commenter

    Anyone else???
  5. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    Do you think you ought to check whether this book is going to be used in year 7 or 8, before you use it with your class? It could really upset the secondary school teachers if you have 'stolen their thunder'.

  6. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    I can't understand that attitude. Why should we adjust our teaching because a secondary school might use a text in the future? Surely it is up to a secondary school to check what the children have learnt already if they are that worried about their thunder being stolen. Plus, many teachers would then have to check with 2/3/4 different schools what they plan to teach over the next few years.
  7. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    It's quite obvious what primaries should do. They should talk to their main receiver secondaries.
    I would be livid if my department had spent hours on producing schemes of work, hundreds of pounds on resources and considerable effort on developing an excellent curriculum around a key text, only to discover that my feeder primary had taken upon itself to just pluck it out of the air.
    I think actually Holes is a text much more suited to KS3, and while I wouldn't want to stop any primary school from using it, I do think that there needs to be some consideration given. In fact, there is every possibility that a local secondary school might be thinking of replacing Holes in its current curriculum. It might have 60 copies that it's more than happy to donate to this primary, along with resources and expertise. But you'dhappily snub all that!
    Of course, you can go around shouting about how education should come from the bottom up, but actually you have a responsibility to those children to ensure good progression as they move into secondary, just as much as the secondary schools do.
    Attitudes of that sort really irritate me, because I hear so often of primary teachers moaning about the ills of secondary, and too often not recognising their own. Stop battling with the other side and trying to claim superiority and do the decent thing by the students in your care!
  8. I love Holes (& There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom) and read both with my Year 4s who love them too!
  9. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    I usually find your posts helpful and quite often right. However, you are way off base this time.

    You talk about it being the responsibility of the Primary school to check. That would mean me checking with 3/4 other schools, asking them what they might teach over the next 2/3 years. The secondary schools could all use a few different books each, meaning I have a great number of valuable books taken away from me. These books might not even be used in the future either, making it even more frustrating.
    I do the best by my students, why should secondary teachers not do the same? I will always check with the Y5 teachers what they have done to make sure I don't do the same. That is the way it should be, you can't dictate from the top. It just isn't practical. Please don't try and preach to me about helping each other out. I'm sure there are many Y6 teachers who could tell you how little secondary schools care about our opinion (I'm not saying all, but certainly the ones I have come across). I am always willing to help with change-over meetings, only to be let down by the Y7 'team leader' simply caring about what level my children are. We should have a shared responsibility with secondary school to ensure the best is achieved for the children.
  10. flickaz

    flickaz New commenter

    So I need to talk to staff from each of the 9 or 10 secondary schools from 3 different LEAs that children from my school regularly move onto? Great!
  11. I would want to have to check with lots of secondaries either. However, I do think that some quality texts are more suited to an in-depth study available to a secondary curriculum and would be spoilt for the children when briefly touched on it in primary school.
    I would include Holes in this, as well as The Boy in Striped Pyjamas. They are wonderful books which, IMO (and others will obviously disagree), are best suited to an older age group to properly appreciate the book and its context.
  12. I would NOT want to have to check with lots of secondaries either.
    Sorry, typing with bandaged finger.
  13. Jen g

    Jen g New commenter

    I think this is a great ook to use and you could use the film to compare some of the written text and the interpretation of the film makers- what do they like, dislike, agree with or disagree with.
    Role on a wall- each group could take a look at a principle character and devlop their understanding of the characters and feedback to the others.
    Diary entries in the style of Stanley( I think thats his name)
    Discussion as a class- should he have lied to his mum- would you?
    Writing letters home as the character
    discussing the treatment of and history of the black community in America
    Read the children the extract from the beginning of the book as Stanley is approaching the camp- allow the children to interpret the writing into a picture ( if you do this on square pieces of paper then it would make lovely backing for a display)
    Caring for the lizards if they were pets- what information can we gain from the book on how they need to be cared for.
    Personification poems on the feelings of Stanley at key places of the text.
    Hope these help- I wouldn't worry about the children covering the book in their future education- they will look at it from different perspectives and different objectives and this is such a fab book I am sure the kids wouldn't mind
  14. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    I didn't suggest that for a second. I said you ought to ask your main receiver schools if they already use the book. Not if they might fancy it at all. I'm not saying they should dictate your curriculum, but that any schools worth their salt would make some efforts to liaise to avoid horrendous clashes.
    They absolutely should. And hence, if you were already teaching a book, I wouldn't expect them to try to teach it again and then blame you.
    I absolutely agree. I rant about the same things constantly myself. But we cannot blame secondaries for not playing their part if we are not prepared to make some efforts ourselves.
    My point exactly. It would take just a few minutes to fire off an email to the relevant schools to ask what texts they use in KS3, or even just to ask if they use a particular one you're considering. If none reply, then you can go ahead with a clear conscience. But if you don't bother to find out, then what happens when your students reach Y8 and suddenly out comes the same old text. Are the secondaries supposed to survey each child on books they've studied when they arrive?
    I absolutely agree that it should be a partnership, but that has to work both ways. And I will criticise secondaries for their many failings also - and do so regularly and at volume when necessary. But the "we teach them first so tough" attitude does none of us any favours.

  15. Pluck it out of thin air? I choose books I think my current class will enjoy or will relate to.
    I also have issue with the argument that we we do not do an indepth study in upper KS2 or that we touch on a novel.
    When I teach a novel such as 'There's a boy in the girls bathroom' or 'Street Child' then we study this for 4 - 6 weeks. When I teach 'The Street Child' we also study the Victorians at the same time.
    So 6 weeks thats 30 hours of study time on a book. Count in another 15 for background work on the Victorians thats 45+ hours on a specific novel! Not in depth? You are having a laugh!
    If we think in primary school that 'Holes' is suitable for our year 5/6 children then surely it is still not relevant to be teaching it to your Y8/9 classes?

  16. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Does the same apply to Romeo & Juliet?
    I personally would think that Holes was slightly more suitable for KS3, but I wouldn't rule it out at KS2 at all... unless it was already part of one of my partner school's curriculum plans, in which case I would look for something else. There's no shortage of great literature out there.
  17. YES!
    I would never use a Shakespeare text with upper KS2 - I might use an adapted or very abridged version, illustrated version but never the full text - so the 2 are incomparable really.
    I agree that there is a multitude of texts out there I think the problem here is that secondary teachers, like many primary teachers, have plans and they want to wheel them out year on year, so when a 'maverick' primary teacher like myself plans to use a book he thinks his children might really enjoy then it means they have to plan something else.
    For example if I had a class of boys who were very interested in WW2 I might look at Robert Westall books even though they are more suited to KS3 - but I would make sure the children understood what was going on and I may not study the whole book but look at specific points while using the rest of the book as a class read.

  18. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    There's some good debate going on here, but my original objection was that, as I understood, the original OP wanted to look at the book just during Book Week! Therefore no in-depth study -just a real spoiler for any future use of the book by giving away many of the 'surprises in the book!
  19. I agree that a sneak a peek week would not do the book justice! I would choose something shirt and light for book week
  20. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    I think, in general, we are on the same wavelength here. I will just make a couple of points.

    A quick email is easy enough. In fact I used to do that in my first year of teaching, then followed it up with a call, then another email. Alas, no replies to any enquiries. Why do teachers (Primary included) find it so difficult to reply to an email? I gave up trying to liaise with secondaries. Maybe I should try again, but I don't feel the Y7 year group leaders around me care that much.

    I also never had the 'we teach first, so tough' attitude. I believe that teaching should come from the bottom up. That is the most practical way to do things to ensure progression. Like I mentioned before, I always check with the Y5 teachers what they have previously taught.

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