I want it to be unique and actively engaging for the students.
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Not sure I can help with any new ideas on this but there are several good lesson plans out on the net.
Have you thought of having them write a diary for a few days leading up to the specific pages you want to cover. They could share them, or compare and contrast the topics of their diary entries with Zlatas. Good Luck.
Zlata's Diary is a great book! I have a friend who escaped the war in Bosnia and came to live in the United States in order to be safe from the violence. Unfortunately she witnessed some of the same terrible things that Zlata did. This book is a great tool for talking about narrative and personal experience. I would suggest doing a lesson looking at other people's points of view of the same war. I would present other primary sources discussing the Bosnian war, and compare the point of view of an adult and of a child (Zlata). The students can also write their own primary, first person sources of an event in their own lives. This book can also open up some good social studies lessons about the history of the event and discussion on survival and impact of wartime on regular citizens.
I think you could do a great little lesson using literature circles methodology to not only this section of the text, but perhaps the entire books. Students get into groups of four or five and there are distinct roles:
* Discussion Director- This student's job is to read the selection and identify 3 to 5 questions that can be discussed with the small group. The questions should be open enough to spark a good, healthy discussion.
* Literary Luminary- This student's job is to identify three passages that the student thought were very effective in any of the three categories: A) Helped develop the plot, B) Helped develop a character, C) Was very well written. The students has to identify the passage (page number, paragraph number) and then explain their opinions on it after reading it aloud.
* Travel Tracer- Their job is to draw pictures of the different setting (s)/ elements of the setting in the reading. They have to identify the page number from which they obtained the details that helped them draw their picture.
* Word Wizard- This student's job is to identify 4- 6 new words from the text. They have to define them, explain their meaning in their own words, and use the word in a sentence. Perhaps, even draw a picture of the word's use/ how the word was used in the selection.
* Connector- This student has to identify five connections between the selection being read and other books read in class, personal experience, news events, etc.
I like this format with a book that sparks so much discussion as Zlata's Diary does.
I am using this book as one of the book choices for my literature circle on the individual against society (to go along with Animal Farm and The Giver). The other choices were Bad Boy, Red Scarf Girl and Warriors Don't Cry. I went a different route with this literature circle, compared to the roles described above that we usually use. For whole-class discussions we have Socratic Seminars, so the students are well-versed in writing their own higher-order discussion questions. For this book, I had them do Socratic Seminar literature circles. It seems to be working well!
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