7th Grade Students Delve into Classic Novel, The Hobbit

Skinner’s 7th grade English students read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and then delved deeper into comparing and contrasting different versions of this timeless story.

“At first, I thought it might be a tough sell just because the movie was coming out,” said Mr. Dennis, 7th grade English teacher. “However, I was really pleased about what I was seeing and hearing in class throughout the small and whole-group discussions – students were actively engaged with the reading, and it seemed like the pacing kept students wanting to read on to figure out what was happening in the book.”

After finishing the novel, students compared and contrasted The Hobbit book with two movie versions, several parodies and a comic book and formulated a comprehensive project based on the different presentations of the story.

“What was really cool was that we got to pick what we wanted to do,” said 7th grade student Emma Weaver. “I compared the book and with both the 1997 movie and the current 2012 movie.”

“The overall unit was something that was an experiment for me. I saw the potential for students to dive deeply into a text that not only was at times challenging and engaging but set the tone for a lot of the adventure novels that students read today, said Mr. Dennis. “This project allowed me as a teacher to do two things I’ve wanted to try – one, giving students a real sense of choice by having options on how they demonstrate their mastery of standards and understanding of the content, and two, accounting for multiple standards bundled together in a rich, complex task that is more than just ‘an essay.’”

Like Bilbo and his companions, Skinner students gained valuable academic treasure through their Hobbit adventure. Hats off to Mr. Dennis and Skinner’s 7th grade English students!


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