Spotlight On: BOOM! Studios Comics

Founded in 1995, BOOM! Studios creates comics and graphic novels for all age groups.  While they have a number of original titles such as Lumberjanes, Slam!, Giant Days, and Mouse Guard they also focus on comics based on licensed properties such as WWE, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.1

Boom! Studios offers a WIDE RANGE OF SERIES for readers to choose from.  They are, without a doubt, a publishing company with something for everyone.

Other Imprints

Boom! Studios has a number of imprints including KaBOOM! which is aimed at children, BOOM! Box which features a number of experimental comics, and Archaia who they acquired in 2013.

This article will take a look at BOOM! Studios line of comics, highlighting a number of their texts, and how they should be placed within your classroom.

WhatBinder wrote a series for those who want to know more about using Comics in the Classroom.

 

 

Original Comics

Boom! Studios features a wide range of original titles.  Many of them focus on strong female protagonists, and other underrepresented groups.  While this wasn’t entirely by design, the strong female representation within their Editorial Department has ensured an equitable spread of topics throughout their catalogue.

 

Lumberjanes

Summer camp?  Supernatural creatures?  The bonds of friendship that keep everyone going?  Lumberjanes uses their well established backdrop to tell personal stories that connect with readers of all ages, but is created to appeal to a younger audience.

Feature strong female leads and helmed by female creators, they knew they were onto something then the planned mini-series was met with such critical success that it was extended into an ongoing that has as much buzz now as it did when it first launched in 2014.

 

 

Slam!

Roller Derby has existed The Silent Generation transitioned in the Boomers, but it wasn’t until the 2009 Ellen Page movie Whip It came out that it was reintroduced into the mainstream.

With another Hollywood connection, Slam! in a graphic novel written by Pamela Ribon (story write for Disney’s Moana and Ralph Breaks the Internet).  In the tradition of Silver age Superheroes, Slam! introduces readers to a cast of colourful and costumed characters with unique names, and while a lot of the action happens on the tracks, it’s the personal stories, friendships, and struggles that come from putting oneself in the public eye that carries this book.

Perfect for introducing teenage girls to the importance of believing they can reach their goals, and that physical sports are nothing to be avoided, there’s enough on rink action, and character development to keep readers of all backgrounds turning to the next page.

 

 

Giant Days

Focusing on women who are trying to make sense of the world around them as they transition from one life stage to the next, Giant Days is a fresh take with modern feminism overtone.  Not planned to be a story that projects a political narrative, the comic isn’t feminist because the author is trying to find a place to insert their message, it’s feminist because there’s no way to tell an organic story about women without introducing those elements.

Because the characters in the comics face the same issues that surround all readers, the messages feel organic rather than forced.  The characters are not perfect, and their flaws reflect the flaws many have had to deal with.  Things are far from perfect as choices are questioned over and over.  Rather than presenting an image of what one thinks life should be like, Giant Days, instead, presents a version of life that is all too relatable to a high school audience.

 

 

Mouse Guard

Think Lord of the Rings, meets Dungeons and Dragons, meets The Secret of Nimh and you have yourself a strong understanding about what you’re in for with Mouse Guard.  Part of a larger series – some stories intertwined, and others standing alone in the same world, David Petersen  has crafted a campaign that shows even the very small must embrace large challenges.

Bravery, caution, and well laid plans all combine when discovering what is right, and when threats can no longer be resolved with diplomacy and strong words.

The fully realized world of Mouse Guard presents opportunity to satisfy one’s curiosity and wanderlust while forcing one to rethink their place, and their own values.

 

 

 

Licensed Properties

By focusing on familiar subject matter students will read at a higher level, and be more engages with their texts.  While teachers may feel that these comics lack an educational value it’s obvious that that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The demonstration of your students’ LITERACY SKILLS is possible regardless of the text.  The most important part is to get our students reading, get them thinking metacognitively, and allow them an oppertunity to show their knowledge based on an accessible text.

Luckily, Boom! Studios creates high interest comics that explore a wide range of themes.  Costumed fighters provide a strong foundation for text-to-self connections, while muscled wrestlers create a platform for the exploration of a wide range of social issues currently impacting our world.

 

Mighty Morphing Power Rangers

Though easy to ignore as being nothing more than a children’s Show, the Boom! Studios adaptation of Mighty Morphing Power Rangers introduces a high school full of flawed students.  The Rangers are not a wholesome group of individuals that all believe in each other, but rather teenagers distrustful of new members, and slow to forgive misdeeds.

Telling a story of the Green Ranger trying to move on from a past of which he is not proud, this book presents themes that are infinitely relatable to children, teens, and adults alike.  By starting with a foundation of the familiar, heavy themes are brought to light and laid bare for those willing to overlook the Sunday Morning children’s programming veneer.

 

 

 

WWE

Though it shouldn’t have surprised me, given the quality of other Boom! Studios books, WWE is a fantastic graphic novel that uses Wrestling as a platform to explore complex interpersonal issues and deal with concepts such as betrayal, what success means and what it looks like, and the importance of choosing friends wisely.

Much like Power Rangers if one can look past the branding they will realize that wrestlers are not that different from Superheroes – flashy costumes, superhuman abilities, and outrageous names.  There are none that doubt that superheroes can explore complex issues, and as such one should realize that WWE rises to those same heights. Though marketed to a male audience, there are a number of strong female characters who demonstrate the different challenges that are faced by a variety of people in our schools.

By presenting students with characters and scenarios they are familiar with, building the intrinsic desire to keep turning the pages and picking up the next volume and the next, they might not even realize their building their literacy skills and becoming stronger readers in the process.

 

 

 

Steven Universe

Steven Universe‘s strength lies with its diverse cast of characters who all work for the betterment of themselves and those they care about.  With positive messages on every page, this comic will appeal to students who are familiar with the television show, by expanding on the characters they already know rather than boring them by rehashing the same plots again and again.

By taking mundane tasks, as well as great large scale adventures, and presenting messages of strength and success one quickly learns that every actions has value and that even the smallest task can share the same highs of a great undertaking.

 

 

 

Bill & Ted Go to Hell

“Be Excellent to Each Other.”  These words are no less important now than they were when the world was first introduced to Bill and Ted in 1989.

Introducing characters ripped from the history textbook, Bill and Ted contain the totally tubular experiences of teenage boys from decades long past.  Fresh, and light this is a perfect text for students who have a hard time reading, or becoming invested in their texts.  With few word bubbles per page, and an art style that helps navigate students through the decoding process, Bill and Ted Go to Hell is a perfect option for any Literature Circle.

 

 

 

Footnotes

1. About|BOOM! Studios

 

 


PART ONE: COMICS IN THE CLASSROOM

PART TWO: STUDENTS WILL READ COMICS

PART THREE: COMICS HELP WITH DECODING

PART FOUR: PUBLISHERS TO BE AWARE OF

SPOTLIGHT: Udon Entertainment

SPOTLIGHT: Boom! Studios

November 22, 2018: Google Forms Training Session

Introduction

If you’ve been putting off learning Google Forms then it’s time to take the plunge.  A free training sessions will take place on NOVEMBER 22ND, 2018 for all Toronto District School Board teachers.

 

Registration

Registration is MANDATORY but also FREE!  It can be completed through:

https://keytolearn.tdsb.on.ca/keytoLearnStaff/Register/index.asp?courseid=519703  

Sign up for TLT421-A to attend the session led by Michael Barltrop and Brian Harriman.

 

Resources

You will walk away with a printed hardcopy of the WhatBinder.com INTRODUCTION TO GOOGLE FORMS.  This will take you from ZERO to BEGINNER knowledge all the way to creating SELF-MARKING tests and quizzes!

 

Location

Literacy Skills: Short Stories

LITERACY SKILLS are the key, transferable skills required to process, and understand the multitude of TEXTS we encounter every day.  From VISUAL to AUDITORY, from video games to novels, we rely on our skills to make meaning and ascertain messages.

Like all skills, they must be developed, honed, and practiced.  One of the best ways to INTRODUCE or REINFORCE these skills with your students in through the use of SHORT STORIES.  For that reason, a number of lessons have been developed for specific stories.

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What Are Literacy Skills?

For a primer on the TEN KEY LITERACY SKILLS you should review the following articles:

 

What’s Included?

Each Lesson is fully explained and laid out in a WEB BASED format, that explains what PRIOR KNOWLEDGE is required, and what the NEXT STEPS should be.

MORE IMPORTANTLY each lesson comes with a FREE DOWNLOADABLE PDF of the lesson that is CLASSROOM-READY to be copied and handed to students for immediate use!

If you would like to SUPPORT ME you can choose to purchase the FULL PACKAGES of resources through my TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS account.  However, this is not necessary, and all individual assignments are completely FREE through this site.

 

How to Use These Lessons

You can introduce a class to one text, and have them work through all TEN assignments based on the specific text.  However, you may also find it more valuable to progress through the ten skills using a VARIETY of texts.  As each collection uses the same framework, and basic assignments, you will have no problem switching from one story to the next, so long as you MAINTAIN the order in which you tackle the TEN SKILLS.

 

The Short Stories

Below you will find links to the specific SHORT STORIES for which LITERACY SKILLS ASSIGNMENTS have been created.  Feel free to comment with recommendations for additional stories.

Charles, by Shirley Jackson – Lexile Level 760

  1. CHARLES: ANNOTATING
  2. CHARLES: DETERMINING IMPORTANCE
  3. CHARLES: SUMMARIZING
  4. CHARLES: VISUALIZING
  5. CHARLES: INFERRING
  6. CHARLES: QUESTIONING
  7. CHARLES: CONNECTING
  8. CHARLES: COMPARING
  9. CHARLES: PREDICTING
  10. CHARLES: SYNTHESIZING

Charles: Focusing on Literacy Skills [Synthesizing]

Having read your TEXT, you will create a MIND MAP exploring different connections between the story and the world around you.  Next, they will research THREE of the connections before choosing one PROJECT-BASED FORMAT.  Finally, you will use that format to create a SYNTHESIS of both the STORY and your RESEARCH in order to fully express the impact the story had on you.  A short written piece is required to explain your choices.

Charles: A Focus on Literacy Skills

Charles is a short story written by Shirley Jackson in 1948.  A full copy of the text can be READ HERE.  This SERIES will focus on all TEN KEY LITERACY SKILLS.  The lessons are arranged in SEQUENTIAL ORDER which builds a strong foundation before moving on to the next skill.

This series is an excellent way to BEGIN your class’s semester, ensuring everyone has a strong understanding of BASIC LITERACY SKILLS before you gradually release responsibility, asking them to put those skills into practice.

Explore other SHORT STORY LITERACY SKILLS ASSIGNMENTS for more ways to instruct your students.

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Synthesizing

Readers can COMBINE ideas from the TEXT, with ideas from ADDITIONAL TEXTS, as well as with their own prior knowledge.  Through this process they develop a new, fuller understanding of a topic.  Synthesizing combines knowledge from varied sources, creating new insights into a topic.

Requirements

This task is broken into a number of stages.  Ensure you read, and fully understand each stage before you begin.

Mind Mapping

Write the NAME of your story in the CENTRE BUBBLE.  Next, fill the other EIGHT bubbles with ONE WORD EACH.  Each word should be some the story made you THINK about.  FINALLY think of something most of the bubbles have in common.  This will be the THEME of your synthesis piece.

mind map

 

Research

Once you have completed your mind map, select THREE of the concepts that best fit your THEME. For each concept, research ONE article (of any type) and take brief POINT FORM notes about them in the space provided.

Research Piece Number One

TOPIC       

SOURCE    

NOTES    

 

Research Piece Number Two

TOPIC       

SOURCE    

NOTES    

 

Research Piece Number Three

TOPIC       

SOURCE    

NOTES     

 

Project-Based Synthesis

Now that you have finished your RESEARCH choose and create ONE of the following forms to create a GESTALT SYNTHESIS that demonstrates those concepts to the best of your ability. (A GESTALT is something that when combined is more valuable than the sum of its individual parts).

Remember, your SYNTHESIS must include aspects from both the ASSIGNED TEXT and your RESEARCH PIECES.

Synthesis Forms

  • A short story (600 – 1000 words in length)
  • A collection of poetry (400 – 600 words in length)
  • A short essay (500 – 800 words in length)
  • A visual art piece (8.5 x 11 minimum)
  • A song (1.5 – 3.5 minutes in length)
  • A short live-action video (1.5 – 2.5 minutes in length)
  • A short animated video (30 – 60 seconds)
  • A photo essay (7 – 10 pictures in length)
  • OTHER – Confirm with your teacher before proceeding

Self-Reflection

You are required to WRITE a short (200 – 400) word piece explaining HOW  your finished piece was INFORMED by both the STORY and your THREE RESEARCHED ARTICLES.

Rubric

Finished PROJECT shows strong connection between the text, and three researched concepts. Selected form is used to FULLY and CREATIVELY explore the all aspects of the PROJECT. All pieces are of HIGH QUALITY and show strong evidence of EDITING and REVISION. Self-Reflection shows strong METACOGNITIVE skills, thoroughly exploring all aspects of your creation.

What’s Next

You’ve reached the end of your LITERACY SKILL journey with CHARLES;  However, this is but one journey.  For each story, there is another path to be explored.  Feel free to VIEW ADDITIONAL STORIES or apply these skills and lessons to a personal favourite of your own.


 

Resources

Charles – WhatBinderDotCom Literacy Skills – Synthesizing.PDF

 

 

 

 

Charles: Literacy Skills Series

Charles: Annotating

Charles: Determining Importance

Charles: Summarizing

Charles: Visualizing

Charles: Inferring

Charles: Questioning

Charles: Connecting

Charles: Comparing

Charles: Predicting

Charles: Synthesizing

Charles: Focusing on Literacy Skills [Predicting]

When reading a text, it is important to ask yourself questions.  One of the most important questions is WHAT do I think will HAPPEN NEXT?  This allows us to reframe the story, and READ for MEANING in a new CONTEXT.

Charles: A Focus on Literacy Skills

Charles is a short story written by Shirley Jackson in 1948.  A full copy of the text can be READ HERE.  This SERIES will focus on all TEN KEY LITERACY SKILLS.  The lessons are arranged in SEQUENTIAL ORDER which builds a strong foundation before moving on to the next skill.

This series is an excellent way to BEGIN your class’s semester, ensuring everyone has a strong understanding of BASIC LITERACY SKILLS before you gradually release responsibility, asking them to put those skills into practice.

Explore other SHORT STORY LITERACY SKILLS ASSIGNMENTS for more ways to instruct your students.

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Predicting

By predicting you form expectation about what will happen in your text.  Closely tied to inferring, predicting requires you to use prior knowledge and information from the text to form an opinion that will be PROVED EITHER CORRECT or INCORRECT throughout the course of your text.

Predictions in Our Lives

We encounter predictions every day.  The type we are most accustomed to is the WEATHER FORECAST.  The clothes you wear, the activities you plan, and type of transportation you arrange are almost always based on the PREDICTION of it will rain or be sunny; if it will be too hot, too cold, or just right; or if a huge storm might appear.

The Predictions that we Make

When we tell a lie, we PREDICT what the outcome of that lie will be.  When we play games we try to PREDICT the other players’ moves so that we can gain an advantage.  When we read we often PREDICT what will come next, so we can make sense of what is right in front of us.

Prediction is a powerful tool.

Making a Prediction

When you ANNOTATED your story, you make a MARGIN NOTE  explaining how you thought a character felt.  When you did that, you laid the groundwork for a prediction about their actions.  When we know how someone FEELS we often have great insight into how they ACT.

Use the example below to help you create a GRAPHIC ORGANIZER and PREDICITON on a SEPARATE SHEET of paper.

How the Character the Felt

What that Might Mean

Laurie’s parents were happy to hear about his day at school, ignoring the trouble he caused when he got home (5 – 6) They care more about him than they do his sister.
Laurie’s parents worried about how he was doing in Kindergarten because of the other students (31) They are concerned for his wellbeing, but not for the safety of the other students
Laurie’s parents waited until the Parents-Teacher meeting to express their concerns for his safety (84) They think that leaving him in that class is fine, even though there’s a violent student

Prediction

I predict that Laurie’s parents will be unable to come to terms with the fact that their son in the problem child in the class.  Their willingness to overlook the negative behaviour Laurie displays at home and their concern for him, but not the other children who are being violently assaulted at school indicated that they only care about defending their son.  While Laurie’s parents expressed concern about his class, they didn’t care enough to remove him from a dangerous environment.  Because of these factors, I predict that because they are accustomed to some level of violence and cannot recognize the negative behaviour that happens in their own home, they will be unwilling to believe the teacher when she explains that Laurie is the disruptive influence.

 

 

 


What’s Next

You have now demonstrated an ability with almost all the KEY LITERACY SKILLS.  You have  also developed a very strong UNDERSTANDING of your text.  Now, it’s time to look towards additional sources that might offer INSIGHT.  By combining those sources with your text, you will create a new SYNTHESIS.


 

Resources

Charles – WhatBinderDotCom Literacy Skills – Predicting.PDF

 

 

 

 

Charles: Literacy Skills Series

CHARLES: ANNOTATING

CHARLES: DETERMINING IMPORTANCE

CHARLES: SUMMARIZING

CHARLES: VISUALIZING

CHARLES: INFERRING

CHARLES: QUESTIONING

CHARLES: CONNECTING

CHARLES: COMPARING

CHARLES: PREDICTING

CHARLES: SYNTHESIZING

Charles: Focusing on Literacy Skills [Comparing]

Having made INTERTEXTUAL CONNECTION between this story and other texts, you are fully prepared to make INTRATEXTUAL connections by COMPARING things within the text itself.

Charles: A Focus on Literacy Skills

Charles is a short story written by Shirley Jackson in 1948.  A full copy of the text can be READ HERE.  This SERIES will focus on all TEN KEY LITERACY SKILLS.  The lessons are arranged in SEQUENTIAL ORDER which builds a strong foundation before moving on to the next skill.

This series is an excellent way to BEGIN your class’s semester, ensuring everyone has a strong understanding of BASIC LITERACY SKILLS before you gradually release responsibility, asking them to put those skills into practice.

Explore other SHORT STORY LITERACY SKILLS ASSIGNMENTS for more ways to instruct your students.

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Comparing

When you compare LIKE or UNLIKE things you are identifying details in each of them.  Those details offer the reader a better understanding of the compared things.  By knowing both what it is like, and what it is not like, the reader is better able to focus and direct their thoughts.

The First Step is Deciding What to Compare

Before you can compare two things, you need to decide what you’re going to compare.  There are a number of things to choose from, and they may include – but are not limited to:

  • Characters
  • Settings
  • Actions
  • Choices
  • Appearances

When looking at Charles the first thing one should compare are the characters LAURIE and CHARLES.  By creating a GRAPHIC ORGANIZER like the one below, you can record your notes, and prepare to make informed, detailed, comparisons.

What I’m Comparing:  Two Characters

Charles

Laurie

DETAILS

EVIDENCE DETAILS EVIDENCE
Charles comes across as a tough guy who is willing to use violence He hit a boy in the stomach (59) Laurie likes be come across as a tough guy who is willing to use violence Looked ready to fight at school (3)
Charles is a rambunctious child with little regard for other peoples’ property He threw chalk (74) Laurie is a rambunctious child with little regard for other peoples’ property He knocked over his sisters milk (6)
Charles has had trouble at school He had to stay after school (40) Laurie has had trouble at school The teacher mentions this (88)
Laurie’s parents consider him to be a negative influence on their son

 

They assume Charles is a bad influence (89) Laurie’s parents consider him to be well behaved when given free reign

 

They assume Charles is a bad influence (89)

IMPORTANCE OF COMPARISON

The importance of this connection is that it shows the disconnect between what Laurie’s parents think of him, and how he actually behaves.  While Laurie’s parents consider him to be a well behaved boy who “fits in quickly” (89) the way he treats his sister, and yells at his family is evidence of his true personality.  Though both students have had “trouble getting used to school” (88), Laurie’s parents continue to assume that anything negative about Laurie must be caused by the influence of Charles.  This demonstrates that parents always think the best of their own child, regardless of evidence to the contrary.  This is problematic as it leads the parents to make excuses rather than addressing and working to change the negative behaviour that hurts others.

 

 

 

Making Your Own Comparison

Think about TWO THINGS you would like to compare from the short story.  Use the GRAPHIC ORGANIZER below to collect your thoughts, and pieces of evidence.  Once you have completed those two columns for EACH of the two items you are comparing, use the IMPORTANCE OF COMPARISON section to explain:

  • How the comparison led you to a stronger understanding about one of the following:
    • The text itself
    • The world around us
    • Something in your life
    • Another text you’ve read
    • A decision you have / will make

What I’m Comparing:

DETAILS

 

 

 

EVIDENCE

 

 

 

DETAILS

 

 

 

EVIDENCE

 

 

 

IMPORTANCE OF COMPARISON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What’s Next

Having COMPARED a number of things within the short story, it’s time to focus on considering what might be to come.  PREDICTING is used when one is making an INFERENCE about things to come in the future.


 

Resources

Charles – WhatBinderDotCom Literacy Skills – Comparing.PDF

 

 

 

 

Charles: Literacy Skills Series

CHARLES: ANNOTATING

CHARLES: DETERMINING IMPORTANCE

CHARLES: SUMMARIZING

CHARLES: VISUALIZING

CHARLES: INFERRING

CHARLES: QUESTIONING

CHARLES: CONNECTING

CHARLES: COMPARING

CHARLES: PREDICTING

CHARLES: SYNTHESIZING

Charles: Focusing on Literacy Skills [Connecting]

Making CONNECTIONS to a text allows the reader to develop a stronger understanding of the events, characters, and actions by considering how they relate to familiar, personal, or societal experiences.

Charles: A Focus on Literacy Skills

Charles is a short story written by Shirley Jackson in 1948.  A full copy of the text can be READ HERE.  This SERIES will focus on all TEN KEY LITERACY SKILLS.  The lessons are arranged in SEQUENTIAL ORDER which builds a strong foundation before moving on to the next skill.

This series is an excellent way to BEGIN your class’s semester, ensuring everyone has a strong understanding of BASIC LITERACY SKILLS before you gradually release responsibility, asking them to put those skills into practice.

Explore other SHORT STORY LITERACY SKILLS ASSIGNMENTS for more ways to instruct your students.

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Connecting

There are three main types of connections: Text to Text, Text to World, and Text to Self. A text can be – but is not limited to – a book, an article, a song, a video game, a painting, etc.  A TEXT TO TEXT connection requires you to draw specific links between the assigned text, and another text with which you are familiar. A TEXT TO WORLD connection requires you to draw specific links between the assigned text, and events occurring in the world around you. A TEXT TO SELF connection requires you to draw specific links between the text, and your own personal life.  Specific examples must be used from both sources when expressing a textual connection.

What Makes a Strong Connection?

A strong connection uses SPECIFIC DETAILS from both things that are being connected.  The best sort of evidence comes in the form of EMBEDDED QUOTATIONS.  Additionally, a strong connection must explain why the connection is IMPORTANT, highlighting what new awareness has been brought forward because of it.

 

 

Text to Text Connections

A TEXT TO TEXT connection creates an deeper understanding by asking the reader to consider another TEXT that has a similar theme, concept, or character.  By finding the commonality between the two texts they will develop strong insight into them.

Example

Throughout the text Charles the reader assumes that Laurie and Charles are two unique individuals.  When Charles explains that “Charles bounced a see-saw onto … a little girl” (25) the reader thinks he is horrified by this, especially as it “made her bleed” (25).  However, when the teacher claims she doesn’t “have any Charles in kindergarten” (92) the reader is made aware of the fact that Laurie is Charles.  This is similar to the story Fight Club where the reader assumes that The Narrator is separate from Tyler Durden, looking to escape from the situation that he has been thrust into.  However, near the end of the text it is revealed that The Narrator is Tyler Durden, which causes the reader the view past actions through a new lens.  The importance of this connection is that is demonstrates that one’s willingness to conceal the truth from others through the invention of a new personality is not limited to adults.  It is something that happens with young children as well.

 

Text to World Connections

A TEXT TO WORLD connection ensures the reader considers how their text is still relevant in the WORLD today.  By considering similar events or experiences they will see that the work of fiction also strongly relates to their non-fictional reality.

Example

Laurie shows an unwillingness to take ownership of his actions.  When he is made to stay late after school, rather than admitting the truth to his parents he claims that he and “all the children stayed to watch [Charles]” (40) when he was held back.  Rather than telling his parents that he “yelled so much that [a] teacher came in from first grade” (39) to reprimand him, making him stay behind, he invented another reason to excuse his actions.  This is similar to how politicians refuse to take ownership for their choices.  Rather than owning their decision to walk back a previously made promise, they claim that due to the actions of a past government they are no longer to act on their promises.  This connection highlights that despite elected officials being held to higher standards, in some ways they are no different than kindergarten students.

 

 

Text to Self Connections

A TEXT TO SELF connection ensures the reader understands how the text is relevant to their own unique SELF.  Rather than claiming that the text has nothing to do with them, they are directed to discover the strong connection that makes their reading of the text relevant.

Example

Laurie’s parents constantly worry about him in the short story Charles.  They listen to their son explain his day, asking probing questions trying to uncover any safety issues he may face.  As Laurie is still a small child they worry that “kindergarten [may be] too disturbing for [him]” (31), going so far as to “look over the faces of all the … mothers” (81) at the Parent-Teachers meeting in an attempt to identify Charles’s parents.  The worries they experience are similar to the worries I content with as I picture my son taking his first few steps to school next year.  While I will walk him to school myself, rather than let him go off “look[ing] as though he [is] going off to a fight” (2 – 3) I am still worried that when he leaves my care, the world will become a harsher place full of bullies and violence that I cannot protect him from.  This connection brought to light the fact that even the parents of the misbehaving children and bullies still look out for and love their children.  This connection will allow me to consider each transgression on a case by case basis, understanding that most parents only want what is best for their child, and that many times they may not even realize the pain their child causes to others.

 

 

Writing Your Own Connections

Use the space below to write one TEXT TO TEXT and one TEXT TO SELF connection.  Use SPECIFIC DETAILS from each source to support your connections.  Ensure that you write a section explaining the IMPORTANCE of your two connections.

Text to Text

 

Text to Self

 

 

 

 


What’s Next

Having made a number of INTERTEXTUAL connections we will now be looking to make INTRATEXTUAL connections, shaping messages and meaning through COMPARING different aspects within the text itself.


 

Resources

Charles – WhatBinderDotCom Literacy Skills – Connecting.PDF

 

 

 

 

Charles: Literacy Skills Series

CHARLES: ANNOTATING

CHARLES: DETERMINING IMPORTANCE

CHARLES: SUMMARIZING

CHARLES: VISUALIZING

CHARLES: INFERRING

CHARLES: QUESTIONING

CHARLES: CONNECTING

CHARLES: COMPARING

CHARLES: PREDICTING

CHARLES: SYNTHESIZING

Charles: Focusing on Literacy Skills [Questioning]

Questions lead us to consider the DEEPER MEANING of a text.  Both ANSWERING and ASKING questions we enhance our understanding while developing new perspectives from which to interact with a selected text.

 

Charles: A Focus on Literacy Skills

Charles is a short story written by Shirley Jackson in 1948.  A full copy of the text can be READ HERE.  This SERIES will focus on all TEN KEY LITERACY SKILLS.  The lessons are arranged in SEQUENTIAL ORDER which builds a strong foundation before moving on to the next skill.

This series is an excellent way to BEGIN your class’s semester, ensuring everyone has a strong understanding of BASIC LITERACY SKILLS before you gradually release responsibility, asking them to put those skills into practice.

Explore other SHORT STORY LITERACY SKILLS ASSIGNMENTS for more ways to instruct your students.

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Questioning

There are three main types of questions – Literal, Inferential, and Evaluative. INFERENTIAL questions require one to use personal knowledge, combined with knowledge from the text to answer them. EVALUATIVE questions ask for personal opinions, which must still be supported by specific examples from one’s life. LITERAL questions require one to restate, in full sentences, information that has been directly stated in the text.

What’s the Point of Questions?

The point of questions is to better understand a text.  By ANSWERING a question, it is hoped that you are led to a DEEPER understanding of the text as the answer will HIGHLIGHT key pieces of information.

What Makes a Strong Question?

A strong question is one that FORCES the reader to consider KEY PIECES of information.  A strong question should:

  • HIGHLIGHT important details
  • Offer new PERSPECTIVES on an event
  • Provide INSIGHT into a character’s thoughts or actions
  • Demand a BIG answer, not a simple yes or no.

PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE

Answer each of the questions below.  Write one sentence explaining the INSIGHT each question HIGHLIGHTS for the reader.

Who did Laurie walk to school with on his first day?

 

Insight: 
How did Laurie manage to convince his parents that he was well behaved at school?


Insight:

 

Would you welcome Laurie as your class helper if you were his teacher?

Insight:  

 

Big Questions versus Small Questions

BIG questions are those that require a large answer.  These are also called OPEN questions because the questions are open to a variety of different answers.  SMALL questions are also called CLOSED questions because they have a very limited number of correct responses.

Asking BIG questions provides a far greater insight into a text, as well as offering readers more opportunity for self-expression.

How do I Ask BIG Questions?

The very first word in a question can be the difference between a small CLOSED question, and a large OPEN question.  Consider the following:

CLOSED QUESTIONS

  • Do you like the story Charles?
    • Note that this is an EVALUATIVE question, but it’s one that can be answered with one word – yes or no.
  • Who did Laurie walk to school with on his first day?
    • This question is a LITERAL question, and while it requires students to show some understanding of the text, it is answered by simply restating information that was already presented to them.

OPEN QUESTIONS

  • Why did Laurie tell his parents about Charles’s actions each day?
    • This is an INFERENTIAL question that demands the reader consider what they know about the text, while also using information from their own personal experiences.
  • How did Laurie manage to convince his parents that he was well behaved at school?
    • By asking “how” readers must consider numerous pieces of information to construct their responses
  • Should Laurie’s parents have been more worried about what Charles was doing in class than what Laurie was doing?
    • When one is asked if something “should” happen, they are required to consider a number of pieces of information, while also coming to and supporting their conclusion/
  • Would you welcome Laurie as your class helper if you were his teacher?
    • By answering “would” questions the reader is allowed to express their open opinion while relating it directly to the text.

 

 

Asking Questions

Use the space below to ask one INFERENTIAL, one EVALUATIVE, and one LITERAL question.  Be sure to explain what INSIGHT you expect the answering of each question to provide.

Inferential Question:


Insight: 

Evaluative Question:


Insight: 

Literal Questions:


Insight:  

 

 

 


What’s Next

Having familiarized yourself with QUESTIONS you will have noticed that a number of BIG questions demand that the reader makes connections between the text and their own experiences.  This will be further developed in the next lesson where we look at CONNECTING.


 

 

Resources

Charles – WhatBinderDotCom Literacy Skills – Questioning.PDF

 

 

 

 

Charles: Literacy Skills Series

CHARLES: ANNOTATING

CHARLES: DETERMINING IMPORTANCE

CHARLES: SUMMARIZING

CHARLES: VISUALIZING

CHARLES: INFERRING

CHARLES: QUESTIONING

CHARLES: CONNECTING

CHARLES: COMPARING

CHARLES: PREDICTING

CHARLES: SYNTHESIZING

 

Charles: Focusing on Literacy Skills [Inferring]

When you are not LITERALLY told something you are required to make an EDUCATED GUESS about what is happening.  This literacy skill is called INFERRING.  By using your own PRIOR KNOWLEDGE as well as information from the TEXT you can support your conclusion.

 

Charles: A Focus on Literacy Skills

Charles is a short story written by Shirley Jackson in 1948.  A full copy of the text can be READ HERE.  This SERIES will focus on all TEN KEY LITERACY SKILLS.  The lessons are arranged in SEQUENTIAL ORDER which builds a strong foundation before moving on to the next skill.

This series is an excellent way to BEGIN your class’s semester, ensuring everyone has a strong understanding of BASIC LITERACY SKILLS before you gradually release responsibility, asking them to put those skills into practice.

Explore other SHORT STORY LITERACY SKILLS ASSIGNMENTS for more ways to instruct your students.

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Inferring

When you INFER, you are reaching a conclusion based on information from the TEXT, as well as your own PRIOR KNOWLEDGE.  An inference is an “EDUCATED GUESS” which must be proved using specific details from both the text, and your own experiences.  Inferring requires you to read between the lines about something that has happened, or that will happen in the future.

What’s Really Going On Here?

At the end of the short story, Charles, the reader is left wondering who Charles is.  While Laurie’s parents have heard nothing but how difficult Charles made kindergarten for their son, the teacher reveals that she has no student named Charles.  There are three possibilities:

  1. Laurie was wrong about the student’s name
  2. The teacher was mistaken about the students in her class
  3. There is no student named Charles

Coming to a Conclusion

No matter which of the three conclusions you reach, you will need evidence to support your decision.  The GRAPHIC ORGANIZER below will help organize your thoughts.

 

Conclusion Supporting Details
Laurie was wrong about the student’s name ·         Laurie is a little child who could be easily confused
The teacher was mistaken about the students in her class ·         The teacher has a number of students in her class, and might have forgotten some of them
There is no student named Charles ·         Laurie claimed that when “Charles stayed after school … all the other children stayed to watch him.” (60)  It is unlikely that Laurie would be mistaken about this child’s name after a week of observations.

·         Laurie’s teacher states that Laurie “had some trouble getting used to school…[b]ut [she] think[s] he’ll be all right.” (88)

 

Based on the evidence above, it seems more CONVINCING that there IS NO STUDENT named Charles.  This can be expressed by writing a sentence using the details from the text as support.  Notice that the strongest details come from QUOTATIONS.

Who Is Charles?

Use the graphic organizer to collect some evidence that supports YOUR CONCLUSION about who Charles actually is.  WRITE a paragraph supporting your opinion on a separate sheet of paper.

Conclusion Supporting Details
I think Charles is…

 

 

 

 

·

·

·

 

 

 

 

 

 


What’s Next

Now that you understand INFERRING we are ready to look at QUESTIONING.  The three main types of questions are INFERENTIALEVALUATIVE, and LITERAL.  Your foundation of both what has literally been stated, as well as how to infer information about the text will aid you in this next section.


 

 

Resources

Charles – WhatBinderDotCom – Literacy Skills – Inferring.PDF

 

 

 

 

Charles: Literacy Skills Series

CHARLES: ANNOTATING

CHARLES: DETERMINING IMPORTANCE

CHARLES: SUMMARIZING

CHARLES: VISUALIZING

CHARLES: INFERRING

CHARLES: QUESTIONING

CHARLES: CONNECTING

CHARLES: COMPARING

CHARLES: PREDICTING

CHARLES: SYNTHESIZING