In this supplementary activity, students are exposed to a song ("Old Friends" by Paul Simon) and a poem ("The Bean Eaters" by Gwendolyn Brooks) that are accompanied with a total of eight multiple-choice questions and a written response.
The passages relate to Of Mice and Men, so this activity can be used during the unit to enhance students' understanding of themes and characters or as a stand alone lesson to practice skills necessary for the reading comprehension and text-analysis sections on the New York State Common Core English Regents.
Option A: (Group Instruction and Independent Work)
1. Read the poem as a class.
2. Students answer #1-4.
3. Review the answers.
4. Sometimes, I play the song for students, but in certain classes, the extra time is needed for the multiple-choice questions and the written response.
5. Students answer #5-7.
6. Review the answers.
8. As a class, answer #8.
9. Independently, students answer #9. If time allows, the students can share their responses then submit the work or students can just submit the assignment.
Option B: (Independent)
Students read the texts, answer the questions, and write the response independently. The teacher can review the work after an allotted time, or the teacher can collect the entire assignment.