Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Dreams and Symbols

 In my class we are reading Stephen King's novella "The Body." In one chapter of the book the narrator specifically discusses a dream he had.

Today's class we talked about  the significance of dreams and different ways to interpret them.

There are SO many different ways to do this lesson, but this was how I did it today. You  can easily do a lesson about dreams without using, "The Body," and it ties in quite nicely if you choose to do the Dream Flag project later.

To start I had created this little slips of paper. I basically made note of different idioms, songs, and movies that invove dreams.

I divided them in half and gave each student part of a phrase. They had to try and find someone who made sense with theirs.

NOTE: There were technically different "correct" answers. You can grammatically say, "Be in a dream," but it doesn't have any special meaning in English.

After a few minutes I gave the students some clues.

For example, "On of them is about a baseball movie with Kevin Costner," "One of them is something you say to someone when their dream is impossible." etc.

After a few  more minutes I went through the numbers and let the students read their phrase together. If they correctly made an English phrase I congratulated them and asked them what it meant. Then as a class we went over connotation and denotation. If you want to do more activities with the dream words check out the vocabulary post.

Finally, my students were ready to start the lesson. I like this warmer because it gets them moving, thinking about dreams, focusing on different idioms, and thinking in English. It can be done in five minutes, or you can spend more time on it if you wish.

As a class, we read the story out loud (try popcorn reading!). From time to time we stopped and went over different words or discussed what the author meant. If you're reading chapter 15 you'll know it is when the boys are camping in the woods and they think they hear a ghost!

We discuss words they may not know and what the author is mentioning (cats being in heat for instance).

The chapter ends with his dream. We discuss the different parts to be sure that students understand the essence, then we talk about possible symbols. What does drowning usually mean? Why is Chris drowning etc.

When I was in University I backpacked a lot. Sometimes, as a way to make friends, I would walk fellow backpackers through these imaginary woods. As they walk through the woods in their brain you ask them specific questions. later you explain that these questions were asked to figure out more about the person. I'd explain what certain things symbolized and even when people disagreed they enjoyed it.

There are a few different versions of this going around, but here's the version I like best. I made it into a PowerPoint with pictures to help students who may be stuck. We also learned a few new words like, "to wade through water" (which will actually come up later in, "The Body!" After students take the imaginary walk through the woods we discuss what else the objects could symbolize and whether or not they think this, "test" is accurate.

In order to tie this back into, "The Body," we ended with the students wrote about one of the characters walks through the woods.

For example, "Gordie would walk through the woods with Denny. Even though Denny has passed away Gordie mentions him a lot through the story. I feel like Denny didn't change Gordie's life really until he died."

This helps students get used to writing explanations, dealing with different points of view, and reinforcing their understanding of characters in, "The Body."

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