Animal FarmI know Animal Farm is typically taught at high school level.  I wish to attempt teaching this novel at 8th grade level in small rural middle school with a mix of first and second...

Animal Farm

I know Animal Farm is typically taught at high school level.  I wish to attempt teaching this novel at 8th grade level in small rural middle school with a mix of first and second language learners.  Does anyone have comments that might help me...either ideas for adapting the instruction or comments against using this text at 8th grade level?  Of course, I would present background information and utilize various documentary films as prereading to build a foundation for tackling this novel as an in class read.

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is one of my favorite novels to teach; and, like so many others, I teach it in ninth grade.  Eighth graders are perfectly capable of understanding and enjoying this novel as long as the teacher handles it well, as I am confident you will. (Anyone who's looking for help, background info, and specific advice is a good teacher in my book.)

I'd hone in on something #6 suggested.  Propaganda is always fun to study, but never more so than in during election season.  It's a perfect springboard for reading this novel, as well. I find students will recognize the parallels to the characters and events of the Russsian Revolution much more quickly than they'll be able to specifically identify how Squealer is manipulating the lower animals. They sense it, but they often struggle to identify exactly what he's doing.

Enjoy!

litchick2011 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't see any reason why you couldn't teach it at the 8th grade level, just make sure your 9th grade teachers won't be touching it the next year. The text itself is pretty easy and then you can bring in the historical background of the novel, including Marxism and the Russian Revolution.

I would check out e-notes guides. They have some ready - made material that you can adapt to any level.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Eighth graders who are attentive and like to debate will enjoy this novel.  It can be read on many different levels...I mean, the animals are talking, for Pete's sake.  It's so cartoony on that level, but you can get as serious as you want to with the government and the parallel to Nazi and other communist communities. 

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my district, Animal Farm is on the 8th grade reading list. We can teach it only at that grade level. It works well with that level, especially if it is followed by The Diary of Anne Frank.

grisbyd | Student

Anmial farms symbolism is a wonderful parallel to other disciplines also, espcially social studies. In my district Animal Farm is taught to the GT students and they do struggle with the meanings at first, but given a reading guide and graphic organizers they seem to do well. I teach social studies and often I will use issue like propaganda and "take overs" in the book to parallel to things I'm teaching. Right now we are on the road to Civil War. In a world of technology and information being so fast paced, we must ensure that students are still being challenged, and there is no good ole' fashion challenge like a classic novel read, and I tell my students, texting is easy, analyzing this information, take real guts, they see it as a challenge, and like it.

jeneratorone | Student

I do Animal Farm with my 8th graders every year, but I usually do it in November during all of the elections (because of all the great examples of propaganda floating around during that time of year!)

aschwanden | Student

I am teaching this unit to Pre AP English I (9th) graders now.  I have set up a unit of government based on top grades from the previous grading period and assigned students with the highest grades to be be the (pigs) or leaders of the farm.  It gives the students several lessons both about what is going on in their lives with the importance of learning and grades and it provides them with the idea of what went on that orchestrated the writing of the novel.  I have mostly Hispanic students with varying levels of English proficiency in my class and they seem to like the role playing and understand the historical relevance.  Good luck.

Thank you for responding.  Do you think I can be successful at the 8th grade level with this novel?  Are you willing to share any specifics on how you set up this unit.  Are you using a study guide with students, assigning  or any type of project and/or writing.  Again, thank you.

tjcumby | Student

I am teaching this unit to Pre AP English I (9th) graders now.  I have set up a unit of government based on top grades from the previous grading period and assigned students with the highest grades to be be the (pigs) or leaders of the farm.  It gives the students several lessons both about what is going on in their lives with the importance of learning and grades and it provides them with the idea of what went on that orchestrated the writing of the novel.  I have mostly Hispanic students with varying levels of English proficiency in my class and they seem to like the role playing and understand the historical relevance.  Good luck.

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