Try this "crime board" activity to put a fun twist on your study of John Knowles' novel.
We’ve seen TV crime-fighters do it: they have a puzzle to solve and they create a crime board, a visual collection of pictures and facts that become a map to help them crack the code.
Our students often have trouble figuring out meaning when they study lit—help them by giving the process a fun twist and use a “crime board”. Usually they know who committed the “crime”, but students don’t always understand other things like theme and motivation. For example, with A Separate Peace, why does Gene do it? And is Finny’s death entirely Gene’s fault? Does anyone else bear some responsibility?
Students can track events, quotes, etc. as they go, or they can put their board together once they’ve finished the novel. If they do it as they go, make sure they can move things around once they learn more. It is an excellent way for them to learn to fully develop ideas and to gather evidence to back them up.
The board is meant to be created on a wall or board in your room, but you could have each student—or groups of students—create their own on poster board. Then, each student/group could present theirs to the rest of the class. Regardless of how you use it, the board will be a great activity to use before a final assessment on the novel.
In this file you will find:
-sample ideas for how to construct the crime board
-"polaroids" of characters
-photos of important settings or events
-images to help you embellish the board
-a template for an editable newspaper front page.
You might also like my Reader's Notebook for A Separate Peace.
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