"It is better to know how to learn than to know."Dr. Seuss

Activity Design: Animal Farm Blog
Designer(s): Bill Duffany & Amy Spicer
Subject / Course / Grade Level: Social Studies/English 10
Materials Needed: Animal Farm books, computers
Activity Objective(s): Students will gain a thorough understanding of the themes of George Orwell's Animal Farm and connect those themes to the Russian Revolution and contemporary societies by blogging from the perspectives of characters from the novella.
Focus of Professional Practice: Purpose, relevance, creativity
Targeted Elements of #lpcsd

collaboration
grit
identity
authentic purpose
safe environment
know others as learners
empathy
curiosity
time management
share experiences
ability to question
freedom
multiple opportunities
problem solving
Notes / Strategies for Differentiation:

  • Students are conducting book discussion on a blog which allows students who might not normally talk in class an opportunity to share their thoughts.
  • Additionally because they are working on a blog they can slow down, think, draft, edit, and think some more before they publish. All of this serves to strengthen the brick and mortar conversation that follows the blog.
  • Students have the option in certain blog posts to write as themselves or a character from the novella.
Summary of Activity:


Students in Global 10 and English 10 classes worked cooperatively to read and discuss Animal Farm, identify the major themes and relate them to the Russian Revolution as well as make connections to contemporary societies. Students read, journaled, blogged, discussed in class, and then blogged some more.
Tasks:

  • Students read each chapter of Animal Farm
  • Students select an excerpt/passage for each chapter and write an analysis of the passage and a personal response to the passage
  • Students visit their class’s Animal Farm Blog and respond to a prompt in the appropriate chapter page – sometimes as themselves or sometimes as a character from the novel
  • Student blog responses drive a moderated class discussion
  • Students return to the blog after the class discussion and reply to their classmates’ posts
Student Work Samples:

We asked students to make comments on the Chapter 1 page of the blog to see what they thought the posts should consist of.

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This first round of posts is pretty superficial. We looked at their responses as a class asked for suggestions as to how they might strengthen their posts.




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We saw pretty dramatic improvement in later rounds of blogging. About half way through the process we created a "Character Introduction" page. Students drew character names from a hat and were asked to assume that character's perspective and introduce themselves to the group. Later they began interacting with each other.


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Once students assumed the roles of their characters, we asked them to respond to each chapter's events in character. These are samples from the final chapter of the book.


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Teacher Reflections: Please share what went well, what was challenging and any take-aways for you and the students
Tweaks, Modifications and Iterations:
please identify any adjustments you have or will make to this activity, based on teacher/student experience
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Discussion:
Use the Embed Widget tool to add a Discussion Area widget. Bump the number to 100. This will take the comments from the discussion tab and add them to the bottom of the page. This will encourage teacher reflection and modification.