The Wednesday Wars

by Gary Schmidt

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How would you design a lesson based on "The Wednesday Wars"?

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I think one approach that always works well in the study of literature is the reflective diary or journal, where students are asked to respond reflectively on some of the themes and issues raised in the text. One of the central themes in this excellent book is the capacity of literature to inform and change our lives. This is shown through the way in which Holling, thanks to the strict teaching of Mrs. Baker, gradually learns to understand and then to love Shakespeare, seeing how they can actually enrich and inform his own life. The way in which the universal nature of such classics in literature is therefore stressed.

An obvious application to use this in a lesson on this text would be for students to write a reflective paper on any text that they have studied at school or elsewhere, which at first they found to be hard work or not relevant to their own lives, but gradually they began to love and could relate to their own situation. Giving them a chance to reflect on their own experience of the process that Holling goes through should be a fruitful exercise, and could be used as the basis for further lessons such as public speaking on the text that inspired them and so on.

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