Thinking of teaching The Westing Game? Checkmate this out! Students will collect data over all sixteen Westing heirs using a classroom-proven method before demonstrating their understanding through a final character essay.
* a Detective's Notebook - a retro Sunset Towers hotel-style notepad with a page for each character
* student requirements/grading sheet for note-taking
* sample note-sharing schedule for a class of 22 students
* final essay prompt & requirements
HOW TO USE THESE RESOURCES
Decide on 4 four-character groups, and assign a group to each student.
(I'd suggest putting Madame Hoo, James Shin Hoo, Jake Wexler, and Otis Amber in separate groups as they will require the least notes.)
Plan a schedule so that each student can present notes over his/her character group at least twice before the novel is finished.
(To help ensure that students receive important notes - basic identifying information, actions, and VALUES - for all sixteen heirs, have at least two students present over each character group for each chapter. See sample schedule for help!)
Print and distribute a copy of the Detective's Notebook, the presentation schedule you've created, and the requirements/grading sheet for note-taking to each student. Have them mark each character in their assigned character group with a covert symbol.
After this, the ball will roll itself!
I'd suggest waiting until you are about 2/3 of the way through the novel before passing out and discussing the final essay prompt.
(You want students to focus equally on each character so they have a full understanding of the novel!)
Enjoy reading some well-supported essays from students who will have a head-start on locating information before they even begin the writing process!
(Requirements for note-taking specify that each piece of information is labeled by chapter.)