Monday, August 25, 2014

EngageNY, Grade 6, Module 1, Unit 1, Lesson 9: Where We Find A Strange Obsession

Lesson 9 is a bit of a recap of Lesson 8. Now that kids have been familiarized with the steps of the hero's journey, we're now going to be applying it to specific moments in The Lightning Thief. Plus, we're going to learn some new vocabulary words, hero, hero's journey, archetype, uneventful, embark, supernatural, bestow, trials, and ordeal.

Besides the repetition of the term "hero"' I don't have a problem with these except for archetype. It's a very abstract term, and in terms of child development, most children only begin to comprehend things abstractly at about age twelve. This is an example of age-inappropriateness. This is a high school-level term (at least) being brought down into the sixth grade.

Now let's get to one of the most egregious issues with this unit. The homework assignment for this day's lesson is so:

Percy has just survived a traumatic night and is now in a completely unfamiliar and strange setting. This presents a unique challenge. How does Percy respond to this challenge? What inferences can you make based on his response? Consider his interactions with other characters as well as his inner thoughts.

Use your evidence flags to mark places in the text that show your thinking. 

You have a repetition of the concept of challenges. Even though I'm not a huge fan of the book, there are so many things to be discussed at this point in the book, yet we are hung up on the idea of “the hero facing challenges”. Why? Because this is exactly the kind of question that shows up on a test. Trust me. I've seen it over and over again. So rather than discuss mythology, the thing this unit was ostensibly about, it's lasering in on test prep.

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