The Outsiders Poster Project
English Language Arts

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton Poster Project

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton demonstrates the value of family and true friendship as a rivalry amongst the Greasers and the Socs reaches a boiling point in this unforgettable coming-of-age journey.

Ponyboy, Sodapop, Dally, All Unforgettable

Ponyboy, Sodapop, Dally…these are just some of the names of the unique cast of characters that makes up The Outsiders. If you’ve ever read this timeless novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, then these names stick with you forever.

I have taught this book a couple of times and no matter the age, whether middle or high school, the school’s location, from rural to metropolitan, all students end up loving this book.

Outsiders of Society

It’s a classic tale of one side of the streets versus the other. The privileged vs the down-and-outs. The Greasers make up the kids who have had a rough life. They are the “outsiders” of society, who have formed their own group. They dress “tuff,” with slicked back hair and too-tight t-shirts. They carry switchblades and commit crimes. The Socs, or the Socials, wear madras shirts, drive expensive cars, and are always getting away with whatever crime they commit. Both of them have one basic need: to belong.

The Greasers are their own family in a way and so are the Socs. They support each other. Their friendships know no limits, not even the limit of killing someone to protect one of their own.

The Socs and the Greasers are young boys, with hard exteriors who fit into a mold that their society has made for them.

The Outsiders Discussion Ideas

This year, I am just now wrapping up teaching The Outsiders to my eighth graders. We have had many discussions on so many themes prevalent in the novel. Here are some that we have discussed:

  • Identity and the Need to Belong
  • Stereotypes of Cliques
  • Limitations of Friendship
  • Being Pigeonholed into One Group
  • Appearances are Deceiving
  • Does Belonging Contribute to Happiness?  

I believe one of the reasons students end up cherishing this book so much has to deal with how they connect to the idea of groups and stereotypes. Every school has groups, whether it’s the athletes, the boarders, the academics….the list goes on and on. Every student feels like they may fit into one of those groups or a couple of those groups. There are some kids, however, who feel they may not fit in any of them. These kids can relate to The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton as they may feel that they are an outsider themselves. 

Each of these groups holds stereotypes that other groups think about them. For example, one group may believe the academic group always reads, studies, and wears glasses. Academics may believe the gamers only play video games and never study. 

As a class, we discussed how some stereotypes can be true, and how some individuals can shatter the stereotypes of that group. We delved into how some people don’t fit into a mold of any of those groups and may feel alone. We talked about how to be friends with others, despite feeling different than them and having different interests.

I just love this book! It has so many layers to it that can offer up discussions for days and days!

Every time I teach this novel, we do a quick project. Sometimes, I’ve assigned it as a partner project and sometimes it’s done individually.

Nonetheless, this project is always a winner with my classes. 

Students either create a group or choose a group that they feel they belong to. Some students like to morph individual groups into one for this project or completely create their own. Then, they delve into the various stereotypes of the group, what the group normally does together, what they wear, and what the group is known for. 

Students then create a poster that displays this group. This year, due to hybrid learning, students created a “poster” using one Google Slide. 

Once my eighth graders presented their groups, I learned about new cliques I had never heard of from The Hot Cheeto Girls to the Stock Market Gang. It was a chance for me to learn even more about my students’ interests and what bonds them together. There was even a Rob Lowe Fan group formed from showing my students the movie characters of the book! It was fun for both the students and myself. 

We have made The Outsiders Google Slide project FREE for you. Just click!

If you’ve never taught The Outsiders or even read it, I highly recommend this novel. There are so many topics to discuss and activities to complete throughout the reading of this book. It will be a favorite among your students for years to come. 

English Language Arts

Countdown to Summer

To take advantage of this abundance of energy and to steer them in the right (write) direction, we created our Countdown to Summer Sunflower Bulletin Board and Google Slide.

Can’t wait for summer to begin? I bet your students can’t either. I know mine can’t.

We wanted to channel their energy in the right (write) direction so we created 24 writing prompts for in-class students (printable) and interactive Google Slide format for remote students as well.

24 Summer Writing Prompts for All

With the 24 writing prompts, the prompts consist of things every child can do. As a teacher, I have always cringed when I read summer writing prompts that ask children to write about their family’s vacations and other extravagances that so many students do not get to do. So, when we created these, we kept ALL students in mind. To give you a couple of examples, please read some below.

  • Do you like to stay inside or outside during the summer?
  • Do you go somewhere special during the summer, like to the library, a carnival, a ride to the beach, or a trip to your grandparents or a special aunt or uncle?
  • What is your favorite meal during the summer and how is it cooked?
  • What are you most thankful for during the summer?

I feel writing prompts like these will give each child an opportunity to write about their summer and how much it means to them. If a child has a pool, most likely they will automatically write they would want to stay outside. However, if their neighborhood is dangerous, they might want to write about how they love to stay inside and play games or read stories. The writing prompts give each student an opportunity to tell about their unique situation, without making them feel sad.

Sunflower Writing Paper

Also, we have created 2 versions of writing papers to share with your students as well. Everyone will love the bright colors.

Great End-of-Year Project

Plus, you will love the fun of removing one of our 24 sunflower petals each day and having your students choose from the 24 writing prompts to write about their upcoming summer. Such a great end-of-year project.

Numberless Board for Secret Countdown

If your admin doesn’t want you to “officially” countdown, we made a numberless version to use as well. They will never catch on to the fact that you and your students are counting down the days simply because a couple of petals have fallen from your sunflower. Shhhh! This will be your class’s summer fun secret.

Grab yours today! I promise you will love it as much as your students do.

English Language Arts

7 Activities for Teaching Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

The novel Hatchet by Gary Paulsen is awesome to teach in the springtime. With the theme of nature, wilderness, animals, insects, and so much more, springtime makes the perfect backdrop for this beloved novel.

Hatchet is a story of a thirteen-year-old boy who gets stranded in the Canadian wilderness after his bush plane goes down. Brian is emotionally reeling for him parents’ recent divorce and contending with surviving with little to no wilderness experience. He faces his own despair and loneliness all while dealing with wild animals and never knowing if he will be rescued.

Paulsen is honest with readers as he takes us on the emotional journey and transformation of Brian. I believe it resonates with middle schoolers so well because Paulsen isn’t afraid to dive into mental turmoil and the deep emotions synonymous with this age level.

To learn more about Gary Paulsen, please watch this video provided through his publisher, Random House Kids.

Hatchet is a novel that both upper elementary and middle schoolers alike enjoy. I have taught Hatchet for over four years now and boys, as well as girls, love it.

Here are 7 activities or ideas I use with Hatchet:

Activity 1: Urban Brian Vs. Wilderness Brian

I love to complete a type of transformation assignment with students. We investigate how Brian’s inner and outer character traits were before the plane crash and how he changes once he’s had to survive on his own. Not only does he become stronger, more confident, more intelligent and wiser, but his physical appearance drastically changes. I have students illustrate Brian before and after l, based on inferencing. We list the various changing character traits of Brian before, during, and after his survival journey. We also discuss urban Brian vs wilderness Brian and how the two are so different.

Activity 2: Setting Truly Shapes a Story

We focus on how setting shapes a story. Furthermore, we discuss that if Brian’s plane went down in the middle of the Arizona desert, then how would this shift change in the setting shift the novel? The students see how Brian relies heavily on the setting as his source of survival. Last, we investigate what aspects of the setting harm Brian and what aspects help him.

Activity 3: Reading Outside in Nature

We read Hatchet outside. Just this last week, I took my seventh graders outside to read Hatchet and there was just something neat about hearing the birds chirping and feeling the wind rustling as we discussed Brian’s scavenging for berries and encountering a bear. Students encountered crows in our parking lot at the same time and it was a neat way to make real-life connections.

Activity 4: Create Their Own Survival Backpacks

At the end of the novel, I assign a culminating project in which the students design their own survival backpacks. Brian had little supplies. His hatchet turned out to be the best resource he had. Students always enjoy this activity as they get to physically gather materials to place into a backpack that would help them survive. I’m always blown away by how creative and innovative they are with this particular project. They think of some amazing ideas!

Activity 5: Research Real-Life Survival Strategies

Hatchet is a great novel to pair with wonderful nonfiction pieces to practice those text features. We read articles about snapping turtles, how to survive a bear encounter, and even a real life account of a young boy who survived the wilderness on his own. I love the opportunity to learn information about a topic in our novel and have it connect to students in a unique way.

Activity 6: Breaking News: Teenager Missing in Alaska

If time isn’t lacking, I have students spend a couple of days on a group project. Students put on a news report that details Brian’s plane crash. During the news report, they “interview” Brian’s parents and police officers, and wildlife officers as well as Terry, Brian’s best friend. They pretend that they are these characters pleading with people to search for Brian. Students create a script and act out a 5-minute news report. This project ends up always being a lot of fun.

Activity 7: Different Types of Conflict

Lastly, we analyze our reading and learn important skills and objectives. We investigate the 5 types of conflict and also learn about the theme as well. If you would like our FREE Hatchet Theme Google Slides Worksheets, please click below.

Conclusion

If you’ve never taught Hatchet and you teach upper elementary to middle school, I highly recommend this novel. I hope you’re able to implement some of these ideas and bring this novel to life in your classroom and enjoy the survival journey of Brian.

Happy Reading!

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