Battle Room: (Ender’s Game) Lesson Plan

Novel Study Reading
Key Stage 3
Year 7 English

Battle Room

https://nauticalf7.wordpress.com/

In this lesson the students will be working collaboratively to develop a comprehensive online study guide for the novel “Ender’s Game”. The students will work in groups to examine the novel from a variety of perspectives and will be working closely with the text to ensure their ideas are supported by evidence. Through this strategy of collaborating and competing students will be encouraged to consider a variety of facets of character, setting, plot, theme and authorial position.

The resulting “Dossier” which will be published in the public domain forms a vital resource to support their formal written assessment of their reading and appreciation of the novel which will occur in future lessons and will take the form of a literary essay

The lesson recruits the students’ fast-developing skill with the blogging platform WordPress and represents the first time students have been given the opportunity to publish their work to the wider public and their parents and friends. As such this lesson represents a culmination of a long programme of familiarisation and exploration of online publishing by the students

The 50 minute lesson incorporates the thinking of Benjamin Bloom to the extent that the lesson recognises the importance of encouraging students of this level of ability to analyse and synthesise. It provides room for the on-going development of interpersonal and collaborative learning skills and encourages engagement with learning through the empowering use of ICT. Gardner’s “Multiple Intelligences” are considered in the making of the game, which demands a variety of thinking skills and personal attributes for a team’s success.

Curriculum Links

KS3 Competence (En 1.1)
  • Being clear, coherent and accurate in spoken and written communication.
  • Being adaptable in a widening range of familiar and unfamiliar contexts within the classroom and beyond.
  • Making informed choices about effective ways to communicate formally and informally.
Speaking (En 2.1)
  • Present information and points of view clearly and appropriately in different contexts, adapting talk for a range of purposes and audiences, including the more formal
  • Make different kinds of relevant contributions in groups, responding appropriately to others, proposing ideas and asking questions
Reading for Meaning (En 2.2)
  • extract and interpret information, events, main points and ideas from texts
  • infer and deduce meanings, recognising the writers’ intentions
  • understand how meaning is constructed within sentences and across texts as a whole
Critical Understanding (En 1.4)
  • Analysing and evaluating spoken and written language to appreciate how meaning is shaped
Creativity (En 1.2)
  • Using inventive approaches to making meaning, taking risks, playing with language and using it to create new effects.

Specific Learning Outcomes

  • Interpreting, Critical Evaluation and developing Empathy: In exploring the novel “Ender’s Game” and its literary devices, the students will learn to expand on their existing conception of a fictional novel as primarily a mode of entertainment and develop an appreciation of literature as a mechanism for communicating universal themes, individual stories, moral concepts and exploring possible futures. Through the character study aspect of the analysis, the students will explore how a character develops in an extended text through evaluating how the author has used a variety of strategies to reveal the nature of a variety of characters. They will also have the opportunity to explore discrepancy – speculating about whether a character is intrinsically ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
  • Reading for Meaning: Through the process of sharing their perceptions and points of view, the students will also be rewarded for taking a rigorous approach to their analysis via the provision of accurate examples and references for their ideas and conclusions.

Wider Learning Opportunities (PLTS)

  • Thinking: The students will explore the ways people judge others and represent themselves (and how authors reflect this social conditioning in their writing). They will need to respond with insight and detail express their thoughts.
  • Managing self: The students will learn how to manage themselves and set high standards in group work. They will have to practise the skill of strong focus while listening to each other’s presentations. The students will arrive with their individual assignments completed and uploaded to their individual journals in order to support their team’s over-all success.
  • Relating to others: The students will interact with others in discussing characters in the text that will describe situations both similar and dissimilar to those they experience. They will work in paired and group situations to discuss and develop ideas.
  • Participating and contributing: The students will be given a number of opportunities to present to the class over the entire learning period where the success of the activity depends on the quality of their contribution. They will also participate in a group-based text-exploration activities.

Learning Sequence

BUILDING A TEAM

The initial tasks are purely organisational. In the previous period the students formed “Battalions” and selected the section of the Dossier that they will work on. The superusers then assigned individuals in their team ‘homework’ assignments that they hope may provide useful material for their competition today. The superusers were all given their Mission Briefing via an upload to their personal journals at 17:30pm the night before, allowing them to familiarise themselves with the task ahead and communicate with their peers in advance of the lesson.

COLLABORATE UNDER PRESSURE

The battalions must complete two tasks – one is a classic literary analysis of their chosen aspect of the text (Plot, Character, Setting, Language, Theme and Author), the other is to present an open ‘deeper’ question to the readers of their section.

GO DEEPER, READ AND RESPOND TO EACH OTHERS WORK

Once the dossiers are published the teams will then be tasked with the responsibility to answer, as a comment online, the deeper question posed by one of the other groups

EVALUATE AND IMPROVE

The students will then participate in a Think/Pair/Share exercise where they express their views and listen to others’ thoughts about the effectiveness of this exercise in expanding their understanding of the key elements of the novel as well as its value in terms of other skills of use to them.

Possible Extension

  • Writing Analytically: synthesising the information gathered in the Dossier into a literary essay about the novel
  • Writing Creatively: Choosing a character from Ender’s Game and writing a diary entry from their point of view – thus shifting the viewpoint from
  • Debating the morality of war, and the use of children as soldiers
  • Researching historical circumstances where such dilemmas have been faced by countries and nations and summarising their reactions to these
  • Reading Other texts in the Ender’s Game sequence – or other texts exploring a future dystopia
  • Editing the online content to make it suitable for production as a printed booklet
  • Creating Infographics that support some of the information and concepts raised in the Dossier

Differentiation (This is a high ability class)

  • Students can demonstrate their understanding and knowledge using a variety of means: Visual, Written and Spoken.
  • Students are able to prepare in advance for the demands of the competition
  • The open-ended nature of the programme encourages motivated/gifted students to extend themselves and explore higher levels of abstract thought and critical analysis
  • Tasks encourage high levels of autonomy and self-and peer critique of their work
  • The competitive element encourages the students to strive to attain the highest standards of analysis and accuracy
  • Publishing the work in a real-word context that is viewed by other peers, parents/guardians and members of the public further encourages the students to strive to achieve high standards and the possibility for comment and discussion from outside the classroom would enhance this further.

Resources

  • Class set of text: “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card
  • A room full of internet-connected computers
  • One Apple Computer or iPad or iPod
  • Audio Visual equipment for displaying and playing the (attached) presentation: View here

Safety

The WordPress platform allows for highly refined levels of editorial control to the teacher or supervisor. All communication with/from agents outside the classroom passes through a manual moderation process that is invisible to the students and users but impossible to bypass. All entries, even those that are deleted or edited are recorded and retrievable. Students are able to submit work for publication but have no facility to publish to the external site unmoderated. Students’ are only referred to by first name, and images of students and their names are never associated with each other. The whole online journalling system is over-seen by the Head of Faculty, Dr L Ovenden.

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About Christopher Waugh

Challenging the norms of secondary teaching. Publishing every single thing my students and I create. Live in Wanaka, New Zealand - the best place in the world. http://chris.edutronic.net/

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