Showing posts with label Freak the Mighty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Freak the Mighty. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Should Students Be Ability Grouped?

The current read aloud in Reading Workshop is Freak the Mighty written by Rodman Philbrick.  Max, a struggling reader is placed with the "smart" kids so that he can be with Kevin, his disabled friend.  Although the placement is based on the needs of Kevin, it brings to question the decision about placing students in classes.

Ability grouping is the practice of sorting students, mostly in elementary and middle school, into classes based on their ability level.  Those for ability grouping claim it increases student achievement because teachers can provide instruction at the appropriate level that is neither too easy nor too hard for most students.

One of the main arguments against ability grouping is that it creates classes of low achievers who miss out on stimulating discussions with higher achievers.  Labeling students may also communicate self-fulfilling low expectations.

Will Max benefit from being placed in the class with higher achievers?  Would you prefer to be in a class that is ability grouped?  Why or why not?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Does Integrity Matter to a Sixth Grader?

Integrity--Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.

The Mad River Theater performed at Laurelville on Wednesday.   They did a play written by Bob Lucas about Lewis Latimer, an African American Inventor who lived in the late 1800's.  The play recapped Latimer's life, his struggles and his successes.

The performance ended with the song, Honesty, Integrity, and Pride.  These character traits were representative of Latimer's life.  This prods the question, does integrity matter to a sixth grader?  Should it?  

Thinking back to the read aloud of Freak the Mighty, and having watched the film, The Mighty, I was thinking about Kevin's view of integrity.  How does it compare to yours?  In a few words, does your integrity guide how you live?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Why You Should Control Your Destiny

As I read aloud Freak the Mighty written by Rodman Philbrick, in Chapter 21, Max questions his future.  He wonders if he too might become an accident of nature like his father.  He wonders if he might become violent like Killer Kane.  This brought out the discussion of destiny in Reading Workshop.

Students pondered questions like, do you control your fate?  Is your destiny in your hands?  Do parents and teachers have control?  What effect does making decisions have on your destiny?

The benefit of making good decisions, and working hard is control.  When students don't work, parents must get involved, and teachers are forced to discipline offenders.  The more good decisions students make, the more control they have over their destiny.  Good choices lead to success in school, which means a better and higher education.  This leads to more career opportunities, and a higher standard of living.

This leads to the question, do you control your destiny?  What are you doing to steer your life towards success?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why My Mom Made Me Read Doesn't Work

Student:  Hey Mr. McGuire, I read 594 minutes.

Me:  Wow, that's a lot of reading for two weeks.  That's great!

Student:  Yeah, I know:

Me:  So did you read that much because you like to read, or because your mom made you?

Student:  Hee, hee, the second one.

Me:   Hhhhmmm!

OK, let's think about this.   Students in The Reading Workshop have a weekly Read at Home assignment which is weighted so that the more they read, the higher the grade.  At home, this student has fake read over 3 hours a week, every week of the school year.  In addition, students read at least 2 hours a week during SSR. He sits, with a book, pretending to understand what he is reading.  

His reading log is fairly impressive.  He has 15 books listed, and many are excellent choices.  He has mastered the art of writing responses, even when you don't get the book. But there are 15 great stories, with exciting events, difficult problems and interesting characters that he missed out on.

It sure sounds boring to me.  It would be kind of like watching TV, with  the set turned off.  Freak the Mighty gets it, maybe Kevin can help him.




Thursday, February 26, 2009

Get the Picture? Freak the Mighty Does

When you are reading, do you get the picture? If not, why are you reading, or as Chris Tovani says, fake reading? A conversation with a student yesterday in Reading Workshop caused me to think about the point of reading.

Then, as I watched Kevin tutor Max while reading King Arthur in Freak the Mighty a connection shouted out.


As Kevin says, "every word is part of a picture. Every sentence is a picture. All you do is let your imagination connect them together." These interconnected pictures then become the movie that plays in your mind as you read a book. This is the basis of comprehension.




The student I talked to yesterday has spent her whole life fake reading. She chooses books she can't read, or that are so difficult for her that there are no pictures when she reads.

Why? She can read any book she wants. All last year she could choose her own SSR book. Yet she continues to choose books that she doesn't "get." Hopefully someday she will realize that she has a movie ticket, and just needs to turn on the show.
*

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Freak the Mighty - the Mightiest Read Aloud

Freak the Mighty strikes again. Each year this book is students' favorite read aloud. This book, written by Rodman Philbrick grabs the reader into a story about two boys that are the most unlikely friends. The only thing they have in common is that they are both misfits.

Max begins the book with, "I never had a brain until Freak came along." He is the biggest kid in the school, but one that has always been labeled as the dumbest. Kevin aka Freak is a "crippled kid" with amazing intelligence. Together they become Freak the Mighty.

Students relate to Max and Freak, feeling united with the challenges they face. This is surprising considering how most students are so different from these two characters. But, everyone can feel the pain of not fitting in with the crowd, and being picked on by peers.

We will spend a lot of time discussing character development in this book, especially the way Max changes and grows. In the first chapter his low self-esteem jumps out at the reader. His loneliness is evident with his tears of joy after eating dinner with Freak and his mom, the Fair Gwen.

As we progress through the book, questions upcoming in the online journals include: How would you react if you met Max? If you met Freak? How would Kevin and Max be different, if they attended school at Laurelville?

*