pre-reading activities for dystopias like „fahrenheit 451“ by ray bradbury the focus of the...
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Pre-reading activities for dystopias like „Fahrenheit 451“ by Ray
Bradbury• The focus of the following activities
related to the 6 levels of complexity
by Bloom is on the theme of Censorship and people being controlled by mass media without any references to reading
• Intermediate level young or adult learners
• The novel is the description of a • “(…) new world in which control of the
masses by the media, overpopulation, and censorship has taken over the general population. The individual is not accepted and the intellectual is considered an outlaw. Television has replaced the common perception of family.(…)” http://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/f/fahrenheit-451/book-summary
Pre-reading activities related to Bloom‘s taxonomy
• (1)The pictures above should be a visual impulse for the learners to recall anything they know about books, firemen, medias, burning books and censorship – <<Describe what you can see on the pictures and note your ideas in a brainstorming or a placemet together with your group members>>
Invite students to hang up their mindmaps on the walls and have them walk around to see the others‘.
• (2) Making an inside-outside circle invite students talk about „why are there people who want to burn books?“ „why do people fear censorship?“, „what would happen if we burned every existing book?“ „do you prefer television to books and why?“ etc. and have them talk about each question during 2 minutes maximum.
• (3) Students are invited to analyze several short statements and paragraphs taken from the novel to read them on their own.
<< Resume in your own words what you have been reading about and how you could label it to the ideas you have been sharing with your classmates before>>
• (4) The German poet Heinrich Heine said, "Where books are burned, they will also ultimately burn human beings." <<What did he mean by this?>>
• (5) Now students are given the title of the novel „Fahrenheit 451“ and are working individually writing a paragraph about how they think the book might begin and end. The only information given is the following: <<Montag, a fireman, the protagonist, is meeting a young woman who tells him about the past and about book‘s importance for mankind. She makes him reflect subjects he had not thought about during his life nor his relationship with his wife.>>
• (6) Now imagine you have to flee from your hometown because your own house is being burnt as firemen discover hidden books in it and – although estimating you as their collegue – have to follow the orders to not be dismissed. What would you tell the collegues?
Imagine you are sitting at a round table with some of
them and an ancient boss as well – Discuss together with them about your point of view and come to a conclusion concerning censorship, the importance of books and the medias.
• (I would give identity cards to the students with a short description of their character and his/her experiences in this town on it; as well as their attitude towards burning books)
• For further references and inspiration source here is a link I would like to share with you as it seems to me quite good for preparing classes that work on movies. I have to say that many of my questions in mind according to how to structure, what to focus on, what items to choose, have been confirmed by reading the ideas of teachwithmovies on “Fahrenheit 451” although I also want to comment that I have not read this material until having finished with my activity.
• I would then definitely include the quotation they give on Heine that “Where books are burned, they will also ultimately burn human beings” and see how to organize a discussion on this by having various students supporting this statement and others arguing against it – so that they could for example make a role play according to the novels characters or also have a tv-show organized in which they are talking about the recent happenings (supposing that “Fahrenheit 451” just happened and that they are still looking for the escaped Montag) etc.
• Making this novel being content of a lesson plan, I would suppose to put it into a bigger complex of lessons on dystopias such as “Fahrenheit 451”, “Brave New World”, “1984” and have students read or all the same texts or have each group of students be reading only one book and then having them discuss at the end of a range of lessons on the characteristics in common and the differences; to make up their minds concerning the definition of dystopias in contrast to utopias.