Students need a hook sometimes to begin a new literature unit. We recently began our Oedipus Rex / Antigone unit, so I busted out an old favorite: the anticipation guide. Sometimes this document is known as an opinionnaire, but whatever its name, it allows students to ponder some big questions raised by the literature we’re about to read.
In the past, I would spend an entire class period on an anticipation guide. I’d have students respond to every single statement, and then we would have a whole-class discussion for the rest of the hour, starting with the first statement and ending with the last. One memorable year, I let some former students who were then seniors come back to my sophomore class and lead one hour of students through this process. With humor and wit, my former students kept my current students engaged and on-task. I loved sitting back and just watch the learning unfold.
This year, I’m running low on time, and I thought I’d do more of a drive-by anticipation guide. I put the following statements on my SmartBoard with the large heading “When is it okay to rebel?” at the top, along with Merriam-Webster’s definition for rebellion. (I also saved paper/copies this way.)
- Rebellion is a part of growing up.
- A teenager has a right to rebel against his or her parent(s).
- It is rebellious to use a cell phone in school.
- A person who follows the rules can still be a rebel.
- A rebellious student in the classroom is annoying.
- Women are attracted to rebellious men.
- Men are intimidated by rebellious women.
- Teenagers should rebel against authority at least once.
- It is more socially acceptable for a guy to rebel than a girl.
- Religion creates more rebels than rule followers.
After we read all ten statements, students selected one that they felt strongly about and copied it into their notebooks. They stated if they agreed or disagreed with the statement, and then wrote a paragraph explaining their reasoning with examples from real life, books, TV shows, or movies. Students shared with their table groups, and then we discussed as a whole class.
Overall, I’m pleased with this lead-in to Antigone. We’ll revisit the big question of “When is it okay to rebel?” at the close of the unit.