Wednesday, October 5, 2011

1st 6 weeks: Science Fiction

In my 8th grade language arts class each six weeks we will study a different genre. The first six weeks was fantasy, focusing on science fiction. Why science fiction? Because I have this goal for them to actually like to read and read for fun. AND because The Hunger Games movie is coming out in March and I love it when students realize that the book is usually better than the movie, we read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins the first six weeks. The kiddos loved it of course and have fought over every copy of Catching Fire in our little school. (Success)

After reading the book, I assigned them to write the first page of a science fiction story. We went through the writing process of course. I handed them a graphic organizer with the setting filled in: the year 2212, in what was once North America. I let them complete the rest.

The hardest part for them? Show not tell. Many of them described to me what life would be like, but some actually put me in the story. Yeah!!! I have some good little writers on my hands. There were underwater worlds, talking pizza, and boyfriends who were fine one day and crazy the next. Suspense..... 

To give them an example I wrote my own first page with that setting. This is what I came up with.....

I plopped down into my chair, and curled my feet underneath me. Time for school. I pushed the button to turn on the holographic classroom. My avatar looked much better than me, at least she had taken the time to comb her hair. I yawned loudly and pulled my giant t-shirt down over my pajama pants. Thank goodness I didn’t actually have to get dressed for this. A vibrating sound caught my attention as a message scrolled across the bottom of the holographic screen.

“Good morning students. Today is Tuesday, September 27, 2212. Welcome to One Earth Academy.”

I used the touch-screen device to move my avatar into a desk. The teacher’s avatar showed up on screen, as other avatars began to show up. An adorable boy was sitting next to me. He had brown, scruffy hair and a cute smile. Unfortunately, I knew that this avatar looked nothing like its owner. My next door neighbor, Mathias, who had died his hair purple last week, thought it was hilarious that he was able to fool the superficial girls at One Earth. He would get to know them at school, then scare them to death when he met them in person. I had known Mathias since we were six. He didn’t scare me, no matter how much he tried. I made my avatar stick her tongue out at him.

The teacher began to speak. “Welcome to History class. Today we will be learning about how One Earth began.”

Like I hadn’t heard this for the last nine years. The fourth world war had created one nation. Before that apparently there were all these different places here called countries. People had spoken different languages and everything. It sounded so cool. One Earth was so boring. I decided to check my news feeds while I heard the historic story for the billionth time. Hmmm, One Earth Profiles was going to start charging. Yeah right, some people will fall for anything. Bethany liked the re-make of some really old movie called Breaking Dawn. Aliyah checked in at McDonalds. I decided to update my status. “Stuck in History Class.”

Something caught my eye and I looked back up to the screen. A strange object flashed by, right in front of the teacher. Then the screen went black. I just stared. Nothing like this had ever happened before. We had learned just last week that people used to actually lose their internet connections and some people didn’t even have internet. Seriously! The whole planet was connected through One Earth Cyberlink. The internet had not disconnected for a hundred years. What was I supposed to do now?

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