Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sun Signs by Shelley Hrdlitschka

Here are some of my ideas to get students commenting on Sun Signs:

1. Read a copy of your horoscope for yesterday in the newspaper or online. In what ways was this prediction true or false according to the day you actually had yesterday?

2. What are the characteristics associated with your astrological sign? (Check a book or Internet site for these traits. Is this an accurate description of your personality and character? Why or why not?

3. Tell about an experience you had with a Science Fair project or using the Scientific Method for an experiment.

4. Kleigh, the protagonist in this novel, takes classes online because she is undergoing cancer treatments. What other reasons might someone take classes online rather than in person? What do you think the advantages and disadvantages might be of studying online?

5. Pg. 48 Read Mr. Selenski's message again. Do you believe babies are born a "blank slate" or that humans have some fixed personality traits and characteristics at birth? Explain.

6. Pg. 54 What came first the chicken or the egg? Do horoscopes come true because "we subconsciously look for incidents that would fit the prediction" or do "horoscopes appear to come true because we read and act on them"?

7. Do you think a positive attitude can help to cure a person with a serious illness? Why or why not? Is there anyway this could this be studied scientifically? Peek ahead to pg. 136. I wonder if this is a real study or invented by the author.

8. Can you really know someone you only meet online? Who do you agree with and why?
  • Kaleigh pg. 78-9 you can get to know someone without the physical getting in the way
  • Mr. Selenski pg. 76 you need the visual clues that meeting in person offer you
  • Blondie pg. 88 "If you take the physical appearance quotient out of a new relationship, people tend to be more comfortable with themselves."

9. Kaleigh feels that astrology can be a positive influence in lives. How has this book changed the way you feel about astrology?

10. Do you think the English language is being positively or negatively affected by instant messaging? A quick Google search shows over two million hits for "instant messaging shorthand". What are some short cuts you enjoy using?

11. How do you feel when you have been lied to? Is lying ever justified?

12. "Make believe", "charade", "made up", "lies", "role-playing" and "fantasies" were all words the distance learner buddies used to talk about the dishonesty that happened in their online interactions. Have you any experiences you can talk about involving you and/or others posing as someone they are not online? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of behaviour?

13. Do you have any personal experiences with cancer or people who have cancer that you want to mention? Check this website for information about the kind of cancer Kaleigh had.


Carlene Walter said...

Hello Chris,

Great questions on your blog. Students must inquire of the author's purpose and synthesize their knowledge to respond to the questions.

Sun Signs reminds me of my avatar. Is my avatar a true representation of myself or the goddess I aspire to be?

Chris Arnstead said...

Thank you Carlene, I appreciate this comment more than you realize. I have been very influenced by Roland Case's ideas on critical thinking ever since I heard him speak at the SSLA conference. I am really trying to make students think rather than just regurgetate. I have gone back to my charts of Bloom's taxonomy and I am trying to formulate questions requiring higher level thinking skills. I feel that too many assignments at my high school are asking students for factual information rather than asking them to think about the information. I truly believe that cut and paste and plagarized assignments are the fault of a poorly designed assignment. If students are asked to examine, compare, justify, analyze, etc. the assignment can't be copied. I am attempting to read all the Snow Willow nominees and formulate about 10 questions for each. Then I hope to have grade nine classes respond to a few of them on a blog or wiki. Wish me luck!