Unit created by Lauren Jones and Tess Sell



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The Search for Identity

in The Secret Life of Bees

I have come to realize more and more that the greatest disease and the greatest suffering is to be unwanted, unloved, uncared for, to be shunned by everybody, to be just nobody (to no one). 

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)

Unit created by Lauren Jones and Tess Sell

Lauren Jones and Tess Sell

Due Dec 8, 2008

Contextual Statement

Many students read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee in 9th grade, and many have even read it in 8th grade. We thought that The Secret Life of Bees is a great pairing with or alternative to To Kill a Mockingbird. If students read The Secret Life of Bees in 8th grade and then go on to read Harper Lee’s novel in 9th grade, they will have a better understanding of the race issues, the time period, and the importance of parental figures and love. Scout’s father Atticus is an excellent foil to T. Ray, for he embodies values of honor, integrity, and above all loves his children. Rather than using African American’s plight to his advantage, Atticus challenges the same stereotypes and issues Lily and others face in The Secret Life of Bees.

As an alternative reading to Lee’s novel, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees feels more modern and can easily be read.

I sat in on a ninth grade class just beginning the novel. Of course, the students were excited about getting new books, but I didn’t anticipate the effect the book would have on the class. After the teacher introduced the plot line, consisting primarily of female characters, I expected the males in the class to tune out. I was soon proven wrong when the teacher and one male student took turns reading the book aloud. The class was silent, and I could tell they were hooked. The air of mystery surrounding the plot line with Lily’s mother excited the students and had them making predictions. This air of mystery can likewise be seen in To Kill a Mockingbird with Boo Radley and the tree. We want students to be excited about what they are reading, and we believe that this book will get them discussing it not only in class but outside of class. Because there is so much going on and so much unknown, having students make predictions and participate in a debate over an issue never fully resolved will engage students and lead them to become detectives—analyzing Kidd’s novel and thinking critically.

We believe that it is important to teach this novel in the classroom because the classroom provides a safe and educated space to discuss the difficult issues of race, violence, guilt, abuse, and suicide. Some students may find this novel unbelievable because they are not familiar with the Civil Rights movement. Through having students research different assigned topics from the novel, viewing various videos dealing with civil rights, and completing the various assigned activities, they will gain a better understanding of how individuals approach and deal with these difficult issues as well as explore their own personal reactions to these issues in the safety of a cohesive classroom environment.

Moreover, Sue Monk Kidd is an excellent writer. The main character, Lily, is easy to relate to, a likeable character, and her voice carries you through the novel. We believe it is important for students to unpack Monk’s writing, specifically her style to strengthen their own. By guiding our students and modeling various strategies, students will take a different lens when reading many passages of her novel, a lens they rarely, if ever, take when reading independently outside of class. This book not only teaches them about the Civil Rights Movement and broaches difficult topics, but also teaches them about the importance of voice and language when writing. Through completing the various activities within the assignment chart, students will gain a better understanding of issues and relationships explored in the novel as well as focus their writing style, voice, and expansion of how they relate to and understand the novel. Completing creative writing activities, formal writing activities, and alternative projects, will encourage students to explore their beliefs, authorial voice, and how to approach and understand the difficult issues discussed in the novel.





Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Week 1

Hook: Have students think about and brainstorm on the following questions: Why do we read stories? Why do people write stories? Show “The Power of a Story” film clip

HW: Read first half of Ch.1



Hook: Martha Whites

Student Presentation (SP) #1

Discuss First part of Ch.1

Introduce Tin activity


HW: Finish Ch.1

Hook: You tube video
SP #2

Discuss rest of Ch.1


HW: Read Ch.2

Hook: You tube video on CRM
SP #3&4

Discuss Ch.2

HW: Read Ch.3


Tin Project Due
Hook: “Major Differences” by Sara Holbrook

SP #5&6


Tin project presentations

Discuss Ch.3 briefly


HW: Ch.4-5

Week 2

Hook: Honey making video

SP #7,8,9,&10

Activity #1

Discuss Ch. 4-5

HW: Read Ch.6


Hook: “A Different Fit” by Sara Holbrook

SP# 11&12

Discuss Ch.6

HW: Read Ch.7



Hook: “A Choice” by Sara Holbrook

SP# 13&14

Activity #4

Discuss Ch.7

HW: Read first half of Ch.8


Hook: What do you love activity

SP# 15


Discuss first part of Ch.8

Love Activity- share.

HW: Finish Ch.8


Hook: “Saving for a rainy day” by Sara Holbrook

SP# 16


Activity #2

Discuss rest of Ch. 8

HW: Read Ch.9, Finish Activity #2


Week 3

Hook: “99 problems” by Jay-Z

SP#17&18


Discuss Ch. 9

HW: Read first half of Ch. 10



Hook: “Never Know” by Jack Johnson

SP# 19


Discuss first part of Ch.10

HW: Finish Ch.10



Hook: “Keeping Holding On” by Avril Lavigne

SP# 20

Wailing Wall Activity

Discuss rest of Ch.10

HW: Read Ch. 11


Hook: “Dare to Dream” by Jo Dee Messina

SP# 21&22

Discuss Ch.11

HW: Read Ch. 12



Hook: “Hear It?” by Sara Holbrook

SP#23&24


Discuss Ch.12

HW: Read Ch.13



Week 4

Hook: “The World Spins Madly On” by The Weepies

SP# 25&26

Discuss Ch.13

HW: Read first half of Ch. 14



Hook: “Thinking of You” by Lenny Kravitz

SP# 27


Discuss first part of Ch.14

HW: Finish Ch. 14; brainstorm for debate



Detective Activity due

Hook: Who killed Deborah

SP# 28

Finish up discussion on novel; prepare for debate using Detective Activity, DEBATE



HW: None

MOVIE

Handout graphic organizers (compare and contrast)

5 min discussion at the end

HW: Brainstorm for paper



MOVIE

HW: *Complete PAPER due Monday*





Draw Vision

Draw your vision of anything in the novel. Include with your drawing a short explanation of why you chose the object you did, how you feel it is important to the story, and two quotes from the novel that support your interpretation.



Letter to T-ray

Write a letter to the character T-Ray. The letter needs to be at least a half a page single spaced. In your letter, be sure to discuss topics that show evidence you have been reading the text. Ask him questions about his actions in the text or provide your reaction to his actions.




Create New Scene

Write a new scene in the novel to bridge any gaps or provide further character development; e.g. write a scene dealing with T-Ray’s reaction when he discovers Lily missing. This new scene must fit with the story. Provide evidence that you have been reading the text. e.g. don’t create a scene set on Mars or in Disney World.




Acrostic Poem

Using the acrostic poem Lily creates on page 162 as a model, write an acrostic poem using the name of one of the characters in the novel. After you create the poem, write a half page explanation on why you chose the words within the poem. You may use quotes to support your explanation.



Sketch the Chapter

Make a sketch of the major events from the chapter. Please include with your sketches important quotes, and key moments of the text; for each image there should be at least one quote or sentence describing the event.




Letter : As Lily to Mom

Write a letter to Lily’s Mom from the perspective of Lily. What would she tell her about her journey, T-Ray, the Boatwright sisters, Rosaleen, her life, the accident, etc. Please be sure to provide details that display your knowledge of the text.



Rewrite Scene/ Point of View

Rewrite an existing scene from another character’s point of view. For example, rewrite the scene that leads up to Rosaleen’s imprisonment from her perspective or rewrite a scene when T-Ray punishes Lily from the perspective of T-Ray. You may rewrite any scene from any character’s point of view.



I am poem

Create an “I am” from one of the characters’ point of view. Use the “I am” poem discussed in class as a model for your poem. Keep the character’s emotions and experiences in mind as you write the poem from their perspective.



Character Symbol

Draw/create/construct/find an image that represents one of the characters. Please include a short paragraph description of why you chose the object to represent the character.



Journal: Rosaleen/T-Ray

Write a journal entry from the perspective of either Rosaleen or T-Ray. Discuss specific events of the text from their point of view, or give their reactions. You may also write a journal entry discussing a time when the character is not present in the novel; for example, T-Ray while he is away from Lily.



Create Dialogue

Create a dialogue between two characters that we do not see speaking together often. E.g. write a dialogue between Rosaleen and May, T-Ray and the receptionist, Zach and his friends in prison, etc. Focus on correct punctuation. Provide and create a scene that would fit in the story.




Theme song

Put together a CD with music that would align with at least three of the characters in the novel. Write a short explanation as to why you chose the specific music to represent each character. Label each track with the character’s name the track represents.



Assignment Chart

Assignment Sheet

The assignment chart includes twelve different activities to choose from to complete throughout the unit. You will complete one activity from each column; you will be allowed to choose three of the activities and I will choose the fourth.

Hooks:

You will complete whatever task is being asked at the beginning of each day’s lesson. These are based on teacher instruction and vary from day to day. They will be collected everyday at the end of class. They will receive a total of five points: two for completion, three for applicable connection.


Bee Quote Predictions:

Since Sue Monk Kidd uses the metaphor of the bee throughout the novel, it is important to explore how not only the references to bees inside the text of the chapter symbolically relate to the characters, but also how the introductory quotes continue adding to that extended metaphor. Through reading/analyzing the introductory quotes, you will further develop your analytical and prediction skills. You will complete a Wrap up: Bee Quote prediction exercise in the last five minutes of every class. You will read the bee quote located at the beginning of each chapter and respond to the following:



  1. What do you predict will happen in the last half of the chapter?

  2. Based off of class discussion and previous reading, provide support for your prediction. Give two examples from the text/class discussion.

Draw Vision/Activity 1

Draw your vision of anything in the novel. The point of this exercise is for you to really make a connection to a piece of the story and give your interpretation of that piece.

Some examples of what you might draw include but are not limited to: any of the characters, August’s house, the Lady of Chains, the honey label, guest/bee house, the bee hives, Lily’s room, the wailing wall, the river, Lily’s secret place in the peach orchard, an item from the tin.

Include with your drawing a short explanation of why you chose the object you did, how you feel it is important to the story, and two quotes from the novel that support your interpretation.

This activity should be completed individually.

Sketch the Chapter/Activity 1

After completing a chapter, it is often helpful to summarize or make notes so that you can reflect on the events. For this exercise, you will make a sketch of the major events from the chapter, just as a director, screen play writer, or business executive would create a story board to help convey their messages. You may sketch the chapter using paper/pen/colored pencils/marker/crayons/etc. or you may decide to use PowerPoint, Paint, or another type of computer technology. Regardless of the media you chose, please include with your sketches important quotes, and key moments of the text; for each image there should be at least one quote or sentence describing the event. This activity should be completed individually.



Character Symbol/Activity 1

Symbolism is the use of an object/icon to represent both its literal meaning as well as another meaning. For example, the bald eagle is the United State’s national bird; it is a symbol of freedom and the United States.

For this exercise, draw/create/construct/find an image that represents one of the characters. Please include a short paragraph description of why you chose the object to represent the character. This activity should be completed individually.
Letter to T-Ray/Activity 2

Write a letter to the character T-Ray. The letter needs to be at least a half a page single spaced. In your letter, be sure to discuss topics that show evidence you have been reading the text. Ask him questions about his actions in the text or provide your reaction to his actions in the text. This activity should be completed individually.

Letter: As Lily to Mom/Activity 2

Write a letter to Lily’s Mom from the perspective of Lily. Think about what Lily would say to her mother, what she would like to tell her about her journey, T-Ray, the Boatwright sisters, Rosaleen, her life, the accident, and any other topics you feel are important to understanding the text. Please be sure to provide details that display your knowledge of the text. This activity should be completed individually.

Journal: Rosaleen/T-Ray/Activity 2

Write a journal entry from the perspective of either Rosaleen or T-Ray. Include evidence that you have been completing your reading of the text. Discuss specific events of the text from their point of view, or give their reactions to a specific event in the text. You may also write a journal entry discussing a time when the character is not present in the novel; for example, what is T-Ray thinking while he is away from Lily. This activity should be completed individually.


Create a New Scene/Activity 3

Write a new scene in the novel to bridge any gaps or provide further character development. For example, write a scene dealing with T-Ray’s reaction when he discovers Lily missing. This new scene must fit with the story. Provide evidence that you have been reading the text. For example: don’t create a scene where Lily decides to go to an Amusement Park. You may work in small groups (no more than three) to complete this activity.


Rewrite Scene/Point of View/Activity 3

Rewrite an existing scene from another character’s point of view. For example, rewrite the scene that leads up to Rosaleen’s imprisonment from her perspective or rewrite a scene when T-Ray punishes Lily from the perspective of T-Ray. You may rewrite any scene from any character’s point of view. You may also write a scene from an object’s point of view; e.g. write from the point of view of the bees swarming in Lily’s room or the statue of the Lady of Chains. You may work in small groups (no more than three) to complete this activity.


Create Dialogue/Activity 3

Create a dialogue between two characters that we do not see speaking together often. E.g. write a dialogue between Rosaleen and May, T-Ray and the receptionist, Zach and his friends in prison, etc. Please be sure to focus on correct punctuation. Use the text as a model. Also provide evidence that you have been reading and create a scene that would fit in the story. You may work in pairs to complete this activity.


Acrostic Poem/Activity 4

Using the acrostic poem Lily creates on page 162 as a model, write an acrostic poem using the name of one of the characters in the novel. After you create the poem, write a half page explanation on why you chose the words within the poem. You may use quotes to support your explanation. You must complete this activity individually.


I Am Poem/Activity 4

Create an “I am” from one of the characters’ point of view. Use the “I am” poem discussed in class as a model for your poem. Keep the character’s emotions and experiences in mind as you write the poem from their perspective. You must complete this activity individually.


Theme Music/Activity 4

Put together a CD with music that would align with at least three of the characters in the novel. Write a short explanation as to why you chose the specific music to represent each character. Label each track with the character’s name the track represents.


Tin Activity/Required 1

Create a tin/box/container containing items that represent/belong to one of your family members. Provide a short explanation for each artifact; follow the conventions of Standard English. Bring the tin/box/container into class and be prepared to share with your peers.


Detective Activity/Required 2-Due Day 18 with the Debate

The issue of Lily’s mother’s death is a prevalent issue throughout the novel. Each time the accident is discussed in the text, different elements leave the question of who was really responsible for Deborah’s death. Throughout your reading of the text, record information, quotations, and your beliefs about Deborah’s death. You will use this information to aid you in the debate at the end of the unit.

Love Activity/Required 3/Hook-Optional for Portfolio

Using page 139 as a model, create a list, collage, or other visual or written means of communicating to the class all of the things you love.


Wall Activity/Required 4

Use May’s Wailing Wall as a model and create a wall for either yourself or another one of the characters. The wall you create does not have to be about all things that are sorrowful; it could be a Wishful Wall that contains thoughts of accomplishments, important moments, or things you hope to help bring about change. Though you are welcome to construct a model wall, the wall itself can be a shoe box or cereal box you put your slips of paper in. You may work individually or in groups to complete this activity.


Student Mini-Presentations on Assigned Topics/Required

You will receive a topic on the first day of the unit. You are expected to research your topic, discuss the topic in front of the class for three minutes, providing valuable information that will add to the understanding of how it is referenced in The Secret Life of Bees. You are required to bring in an engaging piece to display your topic in a meaningful manner; e.g. a visual of some type, music, something that displays extra information.


Debate

Students will be divided into groups based on who they believe is responsible for Deborah’s death. The two people believed to be responsible for Deborah’s death, by the majority of the people in the class, will determine the two sides of the debate. If students chose sides other than the two majorities, they will serve as the jury. The jury will decide who is responsible and why, referencing the points made by their classmates. The teacher will serve as the jury if none exist. The debate teams will provide an initial statement, two rebuttals, and a closing statement.


Final Paper

The purpose of this paper is to show your knowledge of the text by comparing a specific aspect from the text to movie.


List of possible topics include:
  1. Following a character throughout the book and comparing them with their depiction in the movie


  2. Look at a specific relationship between two characters in the text and movie

  3. Look at the depiction of setting in both the text and movie

  4. Look at how the issue of race is explored throughout the text and the movie

  5. Look at what scenes or moments might be missing from the movie and how does that change your understanding of the story and characters involved.

This paper should prove that you have read the book, watched the movie, and thought deeply on both. You must use specific references from the movie and the text. Use MLA citations when quoting from the book.

2 pages, double spaced, one inch margin


Rubrics

Rubric for Bee Quote Predictions

__2__ Completion of activity

__3__ Applicable Connection; provides textual support


Rubric for Activity 1

__5_Visual connects to the novel and topic discussed

__5_Written explanation includes designated number of quotes from the novel to support claims and interpretation.

__5__Free of Standard English Grammar, Usage, and Mechanic mistakes

__5__Displays creativity and thoughtfulness
Rubric for Activity 2

__10_Written element includes textual support for creative choices and authorial interpretation.

__5__Free of Standard English Grammar, Usage, and Mechanic mistakes

__5__Displays creativity and thoughtfulness

Rubric for Activity 3

__10_Written element includes textual support for creative choices and authorial interpretation.

__5__Free of Standard English Grammar, Usage, and Mechanic mistakes

__5__Displays creativity and thoughtfulness

Rubric for Activity 4

__10_Written element includes textual support for creative choices and authorial interpretation.

__5__Free of Standard English Grammar, Usage, and Mechanic mistakes

__5__Displays creativity and thoughtfulness


Rubric for Tin Activity

__5__Written element includes textual support for creative choices and authorial interpretation.

__5__Free of Standard English Grammar, Usage, and Mechanic mistakes

__5__Displays creativity and thoughtfulness

__5__Oral presentation uses appropriate language and presents topic fluidly
Rubric for Love Activity

__2__Written or visual element includes textual support for creative choices and authorial interpretation.

__3__Free of Standard English Grammar, Usage, and Mechanic mistakes

__3__Displays creativity and thoughtfulness

__2__Oral presentation uses appropriate language and presents fluidly


Rubric for Wall Activity

__5__Displays creativity and thoughtfulness

__5__Oral presentation uses appropriate language and presents topic fluidly

__5__Visually appealing or symbolic


Rubric for Mini-Presentations

__5__Visual element enhances understanding of the text.

__5_ Use of appropriate language, eye contact, body language

__5__Factually True information is presented

__5__Oral presentation presents topic fluidly and runs for approximately three minutes

Rubric for Debate

__3__Argument is supported with quotes from the text

__3__Students work together as a team; all members participate and contribute ideas/textual support

__3_ Use of appropriate language, eye contact, body language

__3__Rebuttal refutes opponents’ arguments using textual support

__3__Closing statement summarizes main points of argument and provides support from the text.

__10_Detective Activity adds to the development and preparation of argument-written element turned in at the end of the debate.

Rubric for Paper

__5__Argument is supported with quotes from the text

__5__Presents information from both the text and the movie.

__5__Free of Standard English Grammar, Usage, and Mechanic mistakes and follows standard MLA format/follow the direction

__5__Displays creativity and thoughtfulness

__10__Displays strong understanding of the novel and demonstrates arguments/interpretations through deeply thinking/analyzing both the book and the movie.


Assignment Values

Bee Quote Predictions (5pts each): 75 pts

Hook Completion (5pts each): 75 pts

Activity 1: 20 pts

Activity 2: 20 pts

Activity 3: 20 pts

Activity 4: 20- pts

Tin Activity: 20 pts

Love Activity: 10 pts

Wall Activity: 15 pts

Mini-Presentations: 20pts

Debate: 25 pts

Paper: 30 pts Total possible points: 350 pts

Topics for Mini-Presentations

Make notes on each of the topics while your classmates present



1

Martha Whites pg 5


2

Civil Rights Act 1964 pg 20

3


Colored People in Mississippi pg 47(Mississippi Civil Rights Workers 1964)


4

The Supreme’s pg 50


5

Walden Pond pg57


6

Segregation


7

Honey Making Machines pg 75


8

Birmingham Sept 15 pg 80


9

Oh! Susanna pg 83


10

Integration Parade in St. Augustine pg 88


11

McCall’s magazine pg 112


12

Ranger Seven pg 115


13

Miles Davis pg 117


14

Perry Mason pg 121



15

Black Madonna pg 139



16

Bee Smoker pg 150


17

Jack Palance pg 177



18

American Bandstand pg175


19

Autopsy pg 196



20

Draping Beehives pg 205



21

African American Unity pg 216



22

Molotov cocktails pg 216


23

Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening pg 237



24

Amnesiac pg 249


25

Cod Liver Oil pg 252


26

Mercurochrome pg 261



27

William Blake’s Rose Poem pg 274



28

Goldwater for President pg 283

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