This year middle school students had the opportunity to vote for the books they would like to read as a part of language arts. They chose books relating to survival. These books included Hatchet by Gary Paulson, The Martian by Andy Weir, and Journey To The Center Of The Earth by Jules Verne. This quarter the students finished reading Hatchet. Along with reading Hatchet, students also read shorter texts related to survival and how to cope with failing to succeed and survive.
As students read these texts, they got to grapple with the ideas of becoming more independent and persistent in the face of difficulty. And while students saw the characters and people in their texts deal with these ideas from a survival standpoint, it also allowed students to discuss the quality of these character traits in everyday life. At the end of the quarter, students had the opportunity to reflect on the value of becoming more independent and persistent when it came to their own life. Many students equated doing their daily homework with Brian’s daily jobs of getting firewood and food.
Students will continue to study the idea of never giving up or “grit” as they read the Martian
during the second quarter. As with Hatchet, students will be encouraged to analyze the role mindsets, relationships, and isolation play in surviving and will connect those ideas to their survival in middle school.