Was William Shakespeare anticipating Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book when he wrote, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet"? Probably not, but The Graveyard Book is loaded with thoughtful ideas about life, providing a great opportunity for students to explore and understand similar themes from varied sources.
With this lesson, students will match up briefly stated themes (or messages and personal philosophies of individual characters) from The Graveyard Book with statements of similar or identical meaning taken from world proverbs and famous quotes. After finding the match for each theme, students restate the main idea in their own words, developing their skill at finding and summarizing a main idea.
This lesson includes ten pages, four of which are reproducible written exercises for students. Each student exercise covers two chapters, and can be assigned after students have finished reading each chapter pair: 1 and 2, 3 and 4, etc. Also included in the download is an instructional plan, discussion questions, lists of matching quotes and proverbs from a variety of sources, and an answer key.
Restating a main idea in new words is a challenging and worthwhile exercise. The lesson will prove rewarding for a variety of ages, but is intended for use in grades 6-10. It could be assigned in-class or as homework with a follow-up discussion in class. It is not necessary to have a take-home copy of the novel to complete the written exercises.
In the Common Core standards for ELA, this activity strongly fits with the "Key Ideas and Details" standard:
Grade 6 - Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details.
Grade 7 - Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text.
Grade 8 - Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot.
Grades 9 / 10 - Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details.
by Sara Hathaway
Mood in The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (Chap. 1) by Sara Hathaway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License