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I enjoy using picture books with middle school students. Specifically, this lesson is a great way to introduce the idea of what it is like to be swept into a gang. I also use the story to review story elements before getting into a novel. This activity could also be used to introduce allegories.
I have been using this activity to introduce The Outsiders for the past 5 years. It remains one of my favorite lessons. I typically complete the lesson in one 50 minute period. Then, I follow up the next class with the discussion questions before starting the novel. This document includes the questions, an answer key, an exit ticket, and follow-up discussion questions. If you have any questions about this resource, do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to share this engaging lesson with you!