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Free Unit for Lord of the Flies

Updated: Apr 21

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When I taught freshmen, I used to love it because I got to teach Lord of the Flies, which was required ninth grade reading in our district for a long time. I know not everyone loves Lord of the Flies, but I love teaching any book that makes kids go “What the f***?” This book was always a winner based on that criteria.



Teaching Lord of the Flies always tripped me up because I could never exactly figure out WHICH big idea to focus on (there are so many), but I finally settled on The Big One: Are humans good or bad by nature? A secondary question was: What are the ingredients of a survivor?


The skills/terms I covered in this unit were:

-close reading

-literary terms

-imagery

-characterization-direct/indirect

-symbolism

-theme

-allegory/parable

-analytical writing


I have not taught Lord of the Flies in 8 years, and it is no longer part of the 9th grade curriculum, but below are the materials I used for the unit and some notes to help you out. This unit was for “Intensified 9” students and it was the first real unit I would do at the start of the school year. I never really perfected it, but hopefully some of the stuff below can serve as a jumping off point for you. As I said earlier, I used to really enjoy this unit and I hope you do, too. Each lesson is around 40 minutes.



Day 1

On the first day of the unit, I would ask kids to list their name and middle school on a sheet of scrap paper, and I would use that information to mix the kids up and put them into groups.


Next, I would just briefly introduce the novel and the opening activity by saying something along the lines of: “We are going to read a novel that is about survival. A group of school boys about your age crash land on an island. No adults survive the crash. They will need to work together to survive, or they will not live. Likewise, for this unit, you will be working with 3 or 4 others for the entirety of the unit. All group work will be done with the same group members. Together you will succeed or fail.The novel that we will start reading officially next class is Lord of the Flies by William Golding.”

The first thing I had kids do was get into their assigned groups and come up with a team name and decorate a team headband. I used these headbands from Amazon because I could buy them in bulk and there was lots of space on them for kids to write.



This activity would take about 12-15 minutes. The kids always enjoyed this and it was a good way to create some class cohesion at the beginning of the year. It was also a fun way to introduce some of the themes I wanted to tackle throughout the unit.



Next, we would participate in a survival simulation that I found online. The survival simulation asked students to rank survival items and they had to come to a consensus on each answer.


To facilitate this activity, I gave kids a handout with an explanation of the task and a place to put their answers. This activity took about 15 minutes.


After the 15 minutes, I collected everyone’s answer sheets and I had the kids complete a journal in response to follow questions:


Reflect on your separation/grouping with classmates. How have I caused separation in the classroom?


Describe your decision making process during the simulation. How well did your group work together? Did a leader emerge? Was there conflict?


I gave them 10 minutes to complete the journal. While they were journaling, I graded to survival sheets to see which group got the most answers correct.


To wrap up class I collected headbands and announced the group that won the survival simulation. Then I would make a really big deal out of awarding them 1 point (which I tracked on a whiteboard in the classroom.)



Day 1

Objective: Garner interest in unit/introduce survival theme Opening/Warm Up:

  • On a piece of scrap paper from up front, write your name and your middle school.

  • Read Script:“We are going to read a novel that is about survival. A group of school boys about your age crash land on an island. No adults survive the crash. They will need to work together to survive, or they will not live. Likewise, for this unit, you will be working with 3 or 4 others for the entirety of the unit. All group work will be done with the same group members. Together you will succeed or fail.The novel that we will start reading officially next class is Lord of the Flies by William Golding.”

Arrange Groups (12-15 minutes)

  • Get into your groups and come up with a team name and decorate a team headband.

Survival Simulation (15 minutes)

Journal (5-10 minutes)

  • Reflect on your separation/grouping with classmates. How have I caused separation in the classroom?

  • Describe your decision making process during the simulation. How well did your group work together? Did a leader emerge? Was there conflict?

Closing

  • Clean up/collect headbands/announce survival simulation winners



Day 2

I started the second day of the unit with a close reading of the title. I got this activity from Jim Burke’s The English Teacher’s Companion. My mentor teacher gave me his book when I was a student teacher, and then a few years later I bought and read his updated version on my own. I always find his books to be helpful, practical, and understanding of the stressors of the job.



Anyway, here is the activity: I wrote the title in giant letters on one of my boards and then asked my kids to take out a sheet of looseleaf. On the looseleaf, I asked them to write down all of the words that came to mind when they read or heard the word “lord.” They were also allowed to look up the formal definition, and lastly, I asked them to identify connotations of the word. I repeated all of these questions/steps for the word “Flies” and then I asked kids to share out their ideas for each word while I took notes on the board.


Once everyone who wanted to share out did, I asked the kids to take out their journals and write about what they thought the title meant and to make some predictions about the novel based on the title. Once they were done writing, I asked them to share some of their ideas with the person sitting next to them. You could also use this handout to guide this activity.

Next, I lectured on close reading skills by going through this S.C.A.S.I. powerpoint.

S.C.A.S.I. is an acronym I came across sometime ago when I transferred to the high school. I can't remember where I got it from, but the file is so old I had trouble figuring out how to open it. Anyway, It’s just an acronym to remind kids of what to look for when a teacher asks them to “do a close reading of a passage.” Here is the PowerPoint:

SCASI intro
.pptx
Download PPTX • 54KB


After introducing the S.C.A.S.I., I gave each student a copy of the first page of Lord of the Flies and we annotated the first paragraph together. It is worth spending the time together to work on this when you first introduce S.C.A.S.I., otherwise you will get a lot of individual questions from kids about what exactly they are supposed to be highlighting. Here is a handout of the first page typed up with questions, directions, and the passage.



Day 3

On day three, I continued the first page close reading and had kids work in small groups to answer questions about the passage. This activity takes a long time depending on how big your class is and how much kids want to say.


After finishing up the close reading, I assigned the homework, which was to read pages 7-20 in Lord of the Flies. I used to have the kids annotate every page but I don’t do that anymore because I am not a psycho. Kids are free to read how they want, but they should be prepared for a detailed reading quiz most class periods. I have a multiple choice test (paid product) that I break up and use throughout the unit and sometimes I delete the answers so that it’s short answer.



Day 3 Close Reading of 1st Page (45+ minutes) 1st page of Lord of the Flies close reading

Homework

  • Read pages 7-20 of Lord of the Flies




Day 4

For today’s lesson, I started by having the kids reread their homework pages and count how many times the words “fair boy” and “fat boy” were used. I then asked them to complete a journal where they answered the questions: What are the connotations and denotations of the words “fat” and “fair”? Why do you think the author did this? What is he trying to portray about these characters? I also asked students to write down their first impressions of at least 3 of the other characters, and then I gave them time to read in class.

Their homework was to finish reading and annotating chapter 1 and chapter 2.


Day 4 Journal

  • Prompt: Skim through pages 7-20 and count how many times the phrases “fair boy” and “fat boy” are used. What are the connotations and denotations of the words “fat” and “fair”? What is Golding trying to portray about these characters? What might the implications for the story be?

Also, write down your first impressions of at least 3 of the other characters. Reading Time

  • Read chapters 1 & 2 of Lord of the Flies

Homework

  • Finish reading chapters 1 & 2 of Lord of the Flies






Day 5

This is the reading schedule that I gave to the kids for the unit. My colleagues that are really on their game put the reading schedule and any annotation directions on a bookmark.


On day 5, I printed this article from CNN titled “Miraculous survivors: Why they live while others die” by John Blake and asked the kids to do the following:


Directions: As you read, annotate the text. At the very minimum, you should underline those actions or qualities common to all survivors. There are some familiar ideas here that validate your great ideas, but also some new ways of thinking about the subject. You will need these examples to complete the follow up activity and you might also use this information for a paper at the end of the novel.


In other years, instead of annotating, I have asked kids to fill in this “Miraculous Survivors Note-Taking Guide” that I created.


After about 30-40 minutes with the article, I put students back in the groups I made on the first day of the unit and tasked them with their second challenge. Their challenge for the day was as follows:



Challenge # 2

-Discuss: Analyze the survival actions of the boys so far. What are they doing that is good? What are they doing that is bad? Who is the smartest character?

-Create a skit: Pretend you are Survivor Man or Bear Grylls and you are on the same island as the boys. You have your camera and are recording what they are doing. Your chosen narrator should “record” while narrating what the boys are doing well….or not. The others in the group should act out what he is saying. You have 15 minutes to put this together and then we will present out. Most accurate and entertaining skit wins today’s challenge.


The winning video will:

-Include a strong analysis of the boys’ survival skills

-Include everybody

-Be funny


For homework, I asked the kids to read chapters 3 & 4.



Day 6


On day 6 I started with a journal prompt that I am pretty sure that I got from Daily Spark: Great Books. I am not sure because I can’t find the book in my classroom or see inside the old ones posted online, but the Daily Spark books are so fun if you have never used them before. The prompts are thoughtful and easy to understand.


Anyway, the question was:


Journal: “His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink” (chapter 4).

After Jack kills his first pig, he is overwhelmed by excitement and joy.

Write a paragraph about what Jack’s stage of mind as this moment, as revealed by the above passage, suggests about his character and inner motivations. (15 minutes)

After the journal, we switched to a characterization lesson that I sell on TpT (2.99). I had kids work in their groups from the beginning of the unit. This activity served as Challenge # 3.


For homework, I asked the kids to catch up on any reading they were behind on.



Day 7

Today we finished the characterization activity from the day before and then I gave the kids time to read. I chose the best character chart, made a Big Deal about announcing the winners, and added points to the challenge board.

For homework, I asked students to read chapters 5 & 6.


Days 8 & 9

Today I gave the kids a reading quiz. I took the questions from this LOTF unit test (paid product).


After the reading quiz, I asked kids to think about their reading strategies, tools & techniques and to reflect on if those techniques aided their comprehension (ie: were they able to do well on the quiz, as far as they could tell?)


After the quiz, we started watching The Stanford Prison Experiment. This is rated R and I had to have the kids get their parents to fill in permission slips. I am sure I prefaced the activity with a lecture, but my notes have been lost in the ether.




For homework, I asked students to start reading Chapters 7 & 8 from Lord of the Flies, but these chapters were not officially due until the class after next.



Day 10

On Day 10, I continued with my knowledge-building spree. I am sure there’s a better place for these activities but this is where they ended up this particular year.


Today, my students and I watched a 30-minute video about Freud. I did not save the link and this unit is from 9 years ago, but any youtube video should work, as I just had kids write down the definitions of “Id,” “Ego,” and “Superego,” and apply them to the characters in Lord of the Flies. They used this note-taking guide. This is another handout I must have used a different year with questions about Freud & his life.


For homework, I asked students to finish reading Chapters 7 & 8. If there was time left in class, I gave them time to work on this.



Day 11

Today we started with a journal.


Journal: William Golding depicts Simon as being much different from the rest of the boys on the island. Write a paragraph about what makes Simon so unique. Do you know any real life Simons? What makes them so special?

Next, I gave kids a reading quiz on chapters 7 & 8. I attached the quiz but could not find the answer key and was too lazy to remake it. You got this!


After the quiz, we did a close reading of Simon’s interaction with The Head. I find this passage to be creepy as hell so I love hearing what the kids have to say about it. I walked the kids through the first few sentences, showed them how to annotate, and then released them to do the rest in their groups as part of Challenge # 4. The group that collectively had the best annotations and answers won this particular round.


This activity takes a while.


For homework I asked students to read chapters 9 & 10.




Days 12-13


Today I did a lesson on symbolism, and I started by having the kids read the poem “Myopia” by Jerene Cline.


Myopia

They gave me glasses

and I saw clearly

Sometimes I long

for the kind old mist.

-Jerene Cline


Once we read it out loud, I asked kids to write for five minutes about potential symbols in the poem and their meanings. We then shared out.


After the discussion, I did a read aloud of the passage where Simon staggers out of the woods, gets killed and then washed away. I asked the kids to talk through some of the imagery and try to piece together what happened in this scene. Kids are usually confused at this point in the book so I take a few minutes to walk through it before getting into the symbolism lesson.


The rest of the lesson is a symbolism & analysis activity that I have for sale in my TpT store.


Homework: Read Chapters 11 & 12 (finish the book).



Days 14 & 15

Today I gave the students a reading quiz on chapters 11 & 12 with questions from my Lord of the Flies test on TpT.


After the quiz, I did a read aloud of the passage where Piggy gets killed and answered any questions the kids had. Along with the passages involving Simon, this one is also a tough one for kids to wrap their heads around.


After the Q & A, we started an activity titled “What is Evil?” I put students in groups and asked them to do the following:

-define evil

-rank people from least evil to most evil (I have since lost the list that I gave to

the kids to sort through but I am pretty sure it was from Jim Burke’s The

English Teacher’s Companion (3rd ed). …as was this whole activity.)

-decide where Jack, Roger, and Ralph would fit on the list of least evil to most

evil


After the kids had some time in their groups to complete the above steps, we did a whole class share out. I started by summarizing some of the patterns that I noticed in their discussions. Then I cleared one of my big white boards and had kids share their definitions of evil as well as their “most evil” and “least evil” choices. We talked through any strong disagreements and where everyone placed Jack, Ralph, and Roger on the evil scale.


Their exit response was to write an informal paragraph in which they identified a theme related to evil that was supported by evidence from Lord of the Flies and the day’s discussion.


Homework: Study for unit text.


Day 16


Today I did a lesson on the difference between allusion & parody. For parody, I just defined the word on the board and listed the characteristics.


I then showed students the “Das Bus” episode of The Simpsons, which is a parody of Lord of the Flies. We watched it and then talked about what made it a parody.



After watching “Das Bus,” I lectured a bit more on allusions. The slides from this lecture are on sale in my TpT store.



Once we had covered parody & allusion, I put students into their groups from the beginning of the unit and asked them to create either three comic strips with allusions to Lord of the Flies in them OR a 3-5 minute parody. The kids who chose parody had to film the parody or perform it in front of the class. The group that best demonstrated their understanding of allusion or parody and Lord of the Flies, won.


Homework: Study for Lord of the Flies unit test.




Day 17

On Day 17, we tied up some loose ends. First, we revisited the life-sized character charts the students made at the beginning of the unit and talked about how the characters changed by the end of the novel.


Next, we went back to the Lord of the Flies close reading from the first day and talked about how the opening related to the ending.


Lastly, I tallied up all of the points on the challenge board and announced the winning group. The winning group got to sign their name on whatever prop I had bought that year the represented our Lord of the Flies unit. One year, I had the winning group sign their names on this ceramic piggy bank that I bought.



Another year I had kids sign a giant conch shell that I had spray painted gold.




Also, I made the winning group GIANT cupcakes in a flavor of their choice, which they enjoyed way, way more than signing the gold conch or piggy bank. I still have the piggy bank and the conch in my classroom.



Homework: Study for Lord of the Flies unit test.



Day 18

On day 18 I finally gave the kids a unit test. Depending on the year I use different tests. If I hadn’t used all of my multiple choice questions for quizzes, I would just give them my Lord of the Flies multiple choice test (paid product in my TpT store). If I HAD used those questions for quizzes through the unit, I would use this other short Lord of the Flies unit test (free)that has a variety of questions & formats but is more annoying to proctor & grade.


So that’s about it for my formal unit. I was finally just starting to feel good about this unit and was looking forward to the next year but then I got switched to AP classes. I haven’t taught Lord of the Flies, and I never really perfected this unit, but I hope these posts give you somewhere to start.







Other Activities

A few summers ago, I tutored an 8th grader who was supposed to read Lord of the Flies for his summer assignment. He was a super bright kid and his parents hired me to do some higher level work with the book and that’s when I prepared these close reading passages. At this point I had been teaching AP & IB classes for a while and thought this would be an interesting idea to lead him through the book via important passages, similar to what I used to do for the old IB Lang & Lit standards. We did not get through all of the passages, but they are all typed up here and ready to go if you are doing this unit with older kids or just super motivated kids who love literature: Lord of the Flies close reading passages


Things I Did Not Get To During This Year's Unit

1990 Lord of the Flies


1963 Version of Lord of the Flies







Lord of the Flies Literary Analysis Essay Rough Steps

After we studied the novel I had the kids do an analysis paper & have included a very brief (and very rough) timeline below:


Day 1

-Do some outlines together as a class/students take notes

-Group students by prompt number and have them; brainstorm thesis statements

together

Homework: Outline essay

Day 2

-Discuss going from broad to narrow in your introduction (Into paragraph lesson-paid product)



-Workshop time while I check outlines

Homework: Write 1/2 of rough draft



Day 3



-Workshop time: Develop body paragraphs

Homework: Finish rough draft


Day 4

-Review the structure of conclusion paragraphs

-Have students look over their conclusions to see if they:

Restated their thesis

Restated their support details

Left the reader with something to think about

-Peer edit-specifically looking for fragments & run ons

Homework: Edit rough draft

·

Day 5

-Submit electronic copy to turnitin.com


Fun Extensions

Humankind by Rutger Bregman: This book features a section about a real-life Lord of the Flies situation, where a group of teenage boys survived on a dessert island for 15 months; things turn out very differently than they do in the novel!



The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: This is a dark and disturbing novel where kids have to fight to the death. When I taught Lord of the Flies, this book was all the rage amongst my students, so it was fun to look at the similarities and differences between the two books.



A few years later, the book was turned into a full-length movie featuring Jennifer Lawrence.




A plane full of beauty queen contestants crash land on a crescent shaped island...you get the idea. Happy reading!




Please feel free to post any resources that may be helpful to others in the comments section below!






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