This unit is a zipped file with individual documents for various assignments.
I've had a lot of success with Joy Luck Club -- and I teach at a school where the population is predominantly male. I've centered all my lessons on the psychological relationships between the mothers and their daughters -- and have asked my students to focus on the misunderstandings and misread intents on both sides. I've asked them to fully analyze why each character behaves or thinks the way that they do. My students have seemed to really enjoy reading the book from this perspective.
1. Begin with one of the Anticipation Guides. The first one is a more general overview of the themes present in Joy Luck Club. The second one focuses more on parent-child relationships. Students should complete these on their own, and then use their answers to generate discussion about the ideas present.
2. If you are using Anticipation Guide2, the Amy Chua article is a great read. Use the article about Chinese mothers to help introduce students to the mindset of the mothers in Joy Luck Club. I've used the content of this article to create a debate amongst my students -- either they understand/agree with the author's parental intents, or they completely disagree with her methods. I think it's important to stress to students that the "harsh" treatment from the mothers comes from the belief that their daughters are strong individuals who can handle it.
3. Review the themes listed on JLC Themes.doc
4. Begin each section by having students complete the worksheets Beginning Anecdotes.doc -- review answers to have students make predictions about the main ideas for each section of the novel.
5. For each section, I have students fill out a chart that focuses on thoughts and behaviors for each character. We start off doing this as a class, and then as the unit progresses, they begin to do it all on their own. Blank and completed charts are included.
6. Quizzes for each section are included, along with student work examples (with right answers).
7. Chinese elements (water, wood, fire, earth, and metal) are referenced frequently. I have students write a poem with the activity included in Chinese Elements Theory.doc. Students choose an element, generate selective words associated with the element, and compose both formal and informal pieces with these words. Examples are included.
8. There is a Talking Heads activity that students have really enjoyed -- they create conversations between the characters, showing their understanding of both the relationships and mindsets of the individuals. Blank worksheets and student examples are included.
9. A final essay with a specific structured outline is included. I used this with a sophomore class, and found that the structure I provided really aided them in more formal writing. Student examples are also included.
Joy Luck Club Unit by Tiffany Ng is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License