This engaging and informative lesson helps students to understand the social and historical context of ‘freak shows’ in order to aid their reading of Darren Shan’s ‘Cirque Du Freak.’ Students gather knowledge about when, where, and how freak shows operated, and apply this understanding to the text. They then form and write their own arguments regarding whether they believe freak shows should be allowed. There are easily enough resources for 2-3 lessons here.
The lesson follows a step-by-step learning journey, in which children learn through:
- Reading and understanding information about the history of freak shows;
- Answering comprehension questions and creating a timeline to demonstrate their understanding;
- Reading selected extracts from the text, in order to link ideas regarding context and text together;
- Forming and writing a fair and balanced argument, using a model example and a helpsheet, about whether they think freak shows should be legal;
- Peer assessing each other's learning attempts;
- Whole lesson PowerPoint - colourful and comprehensive;
- Information Text - Freak Shows
- Extract from 'Cirque Du Freak' - Chapters 2 and 8;
- Timeline Template;
- Balanced Argument Worksheet;
- Writing to Argue Help-sheet
- Comprehensive lesson plan.
There are also opportunities for group learning, speaking and listening, peer assessment, and whole class discussion. I originally used these resources with year 7 and 8 classes, however colleagues have used them for between years 4 and 9 with minimal adaptations.
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