Thursday, April 11, 2013

Gatsby Parties

One of my favorite novels to teach in the classroom was Gatsby. With a gifted class we decided to do something fun while reading the first three chapters. Gatsby parties!

First they decided into three groups, then the planning began. The longer they talked, the more elaborate the plans became and the more excited they were. I am always ready for anything that promotes learning with my students, those "remember when we Mrs. Siemens' class" experiences. So I was not surprised that we had to get permission to leave the school, reserve the school van, and contact parents about the adventure.

Since we met at the end of the day, we piled into the van and traveled north immediately when class began. First stop was Amanda's house outside of Medaryville where her mother had set the dining room table with the good china and crystal for our candlelit dinner. I can't remember the menu, but it was very good, with small portions because we did have three parties to attend. There was a phone call that "Tom" left the table to answer also. Very nice.

Next we traveled to Francesville to Betsy's house. As we walked in the side door, her mom greeted us and indicated that we needed to descend the stairs to the basement. Her mom, who is usually a very quiet reserved woman, was dressed in a "house dress," smacking her gum, and telling us she had been shooting some pool and decided to thrown on "this old thing" and fix some snacks. In the basement we sat around on beanbags, throw pillows, and mismatched furniture, munching on chips, pretzels, and those yummy ham/pickle/cream cheese roll up things. We chatted while "Tom" flirted with "Myrtle" and eventually witnessed their fight which ended with his smacking her across the face.

The last stop was west of the school at Julie's house. Her parents greeted us dressed as a waiter and waitress who seated us a tables for four, then served a meal that was divine. There was music for dancing and "Gatsby" mingled with the guests.

As we returned to West Central in the school van, the students were very conscious of the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in the parties, the characters who were featured, and the importance of each to develop the characters and set the stage for further developments in the plot. I was impressed with the ingenuity of the students as they planned and executed the "parties." Plus the parent involvement was awesome!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Awesome idea Mrs. S! I wish I would have been in that class! I think that must have brought Gatsby to life for everyone involved! I admit I wasn't very sure of reading Gatsby, because I did not think I would like it and yes, I thought it would be boring...Boy was I wrong!! It was not boring at all and I loved it! Thanks so much for having including it this semester and for opening a new door to my reading experience! I never would have enjoyed this wonderful story otherwise!