“Matilda” is a novel written by Roald Dahl, a British novelist. The book was published in 1988 by Jonathan Cape, and was illustrated by Quentin Blake.
Through this assignment I will choose an extract from the novel, and use this extract to make different exercises for pupils in 6th and 7th grade. I will also divide the exercises into three stages: pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading. I have chosen the chapter “the second miracle” as an extract for classroom use.
I have chosen this part for many reasons. The chapter is short, and this makes way for a lot of options in how to use this text in class. By being short, this extract can be read by both strong and weak readers.
The chapter opens with something unknown. Something has just happened, and the situation clearly indicates that it was big. Matilda has a big secret, and wants to reveal it to someone, but she does not trust many people, only her teacher, Miss Honey. Many children have secrets, small ones or big ones, and they often reveal it to reliable adults. Miss Honey represent the reliable adult in this story (or extract), and Matilda’s parents and The Trunchbull represents the unreliable adults. The extract continues with Matilda asking Miss Honey if she was to be expelled from school after the earlier event that obviously has taken place. Later on in the same extract we hear about Matilda having this amazing skill. She shows that she is able to tip a glass over just by concentrating all the energy at the glass. She succeeds in tipping the glass, and that convinces Miss Honey that she has special skills. As a reader reading only this extract, we can assume that the glass tipping is a major factor of the earlier happening. We can also assume that since the chapters name is “The second miracle”, there has to be another miracle earlier in the text. Maybe that miracle was the big happening?
There are a lot of activities that can fit this extract concerning pre-reading. The extract contains several topics that are possible to use as topics for discussion in class, i.e. if we believe in magic skills and about persons that are different. If we prepare the pupils on the topics, they may get more motivation to read when they start reading extracts of Matilda. I would also take a look at the circumstances around the plot in the book, and use it for further classroom use, i.e. for an introduction to the old British society. Where is this happening? If we find out, we could teach the pupils about the place, about culture, and about famous people from the area. This can also be used to reach the competence goal for 7th grade: “fortelle om noen personer, steder og begivenheter fra engelskspråklige land”. Through this, the pupils will be able to illustrate the story in a better way in their head, but still in the way they want.
In this part, the pupils will read the text. The text is not very long, only seven pages. That is also one of the reasons I chose this extract. Most pupils will be able to read the extract, and if there happens to be someone who does not manage to read it all by himself, then it is possible to send the extract with him home for homework, or if you have time: read the text out loud for the pupil. It is important that all the pupils are getting through the text, so they can keep up with the post-reading. It is also important that we accept that some pupils read faster than others, and that we need meanwhile activities for the quickest readers. An example for meanwhile activities can be drawing. The pupils can draw what they read, and put on English words on the drawing. This will give them something to do while you wait for the slower readers. It will also make time for loud reading in class (That means that this is possible with only one teacher).
Competence goal: “lese og forstå tekster av ulik lengde og i ulike sjangere”
After reading the extract, it is time for the pupils to write. We assume that they have not read the whole book. The pupils will now have to write a start or an ending to the extract. They can choose for themselves if they want to write a start or an end, and they are free to make the story as they wish. Some pupils may need some guiding in the start.
If there are “weaker” pupils in the class, they might need the task to be a bit easier. We can make the task easier by saying that they have to draw a start or an end, fill inn words on the drawing, or write the story in short sentences, maybe just keywords. This depends on the pupils’ level.
When the texts are finished, we can start with process orientated writing. This means that the text is being read by the teacher, and returned with alternative changes for the text, so it becomes a better text. After this stage, they get to read each others texts, and comment, so that the writer can rewrite his or her text.
Competence goals: ”Beherske et ordforråd som dekker dagligdagse situasjoner”.
And ”Bruke grunnleggende regler og mønstre for uttale, intonasjon, rettskriving, grammatikk og ulike setningstyper”
If you find time, try to motivate the pupils to read the whole book. This is good English training, and it can also be fun! You might also read the whole book in front of class, so that everyone can hear how the actual start and the actual ending is.