Blume’s book seem to uncover very urgent topics that can be interesting and provoking for middle school students, but the identified stories provide a valuable experience in challenges that each teenage might face. Blume’s life does not look similar to the life of other famous contemporary writers.
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She is a model wife and mother and she always has time for herself. Therefore, her books are about real thing that happen around her (Jane, 2008; Redmond, 1982). In the class, it is possible to talk about such urgent problems as bullying that is vividly described in Blume’s novel called Blubber. Though the story provides negative consequences of bullying and teasing, the role of a teacher is to make students understand how to behave and communicate in the classroom setting and outside it.
Blume’s literary works often explore very challenging topics, including growing up, puberty, racism, and generation gap problems. All these problems must be discussed for children to realize that these periods can be experienced by every child and there is no reason for giving up in critical situations. In particular, a teacher can discuss race discrimination and identity conflicts in the story called Iggie’s House (Blume, 1970).
Hence, DEAR activity is an important activity for students to understand how reading can help them realize important things. For instance, students can divide in pairs and choose a passage of the book.
One student chooses a passage that he/she has already read whereas another student should read this passage and retell it to his/her neighbor. Deenie is another story where the emphasis is placed on growing up and understanding the surrounding world (Blume 1991). Students can also be provided with passage to read aloud and understand the content.
Teachers can choose a specific passage from Blume’s work called It’s Not the End of the World and pose a number of questions that have been prepared before. For instance, it is possible to ask a student to read the following quote: “Suppose there aren’t any more A+ days once you get to be twelve? Wouldn’t that be something! To spend the rest of your life looking for an A+ day and not finding it” (Blume, 2002, p. 185). Using this quote, a teacher can provoke students’ imagination and deliberate on the situations when grades not important.
Subject Area Activities
While reading Blume’s stories, three major topic can be explored – adolescence, growing up, and coming of age (Redmond, 1982). All these subjects can be studied while reading the identified stories.
Hence, Blume’s (1974) Blubber reveals a contemporary problem of searching for identity and following stereotypes. Based on the example of the story, a teacher can encourage students to make conclusions that bullying is an attempt to conceal personal disadvantages (Garber, 1984). In fact, they should not be afraid of accepting personal weaknesses.
Stereotypic thinking can also be eliminated while reading the story called Iggie’s House where the problem of racial discrimination is explicitly explored (Blume, 1970). Teachers can address this story to make students’ understand that each person has equal rights irrespective of their appearances.
Finally, Blume’s (2002) It is not the End of the World introduces a positive insights into complex relations in an ordinary family where the main heroines strives to look at the world positively and hopes that it is not the end for her becoming happy. At the same time, conflicts within a family makes Karen feel uncomfortable about the idea of getting married. She believes that marriage makes people suffering.
However, the task of a teacher is to explain that divorce is the matter of adults and it should not affect children’s view on future family relations (Conner, 1972). They are not to be blamed for parents’ mistakes. Similar to the heroine, there is another young adult novel called Tiger’s Eyes where the author account a story about a teenage girl who lost her farther and who strive to overcome her grief and go on living further. This can also be discussed in class (Blume, 1982).
While discussing the reading, students should make up dialogues on the highlighted topic so that a teacher can understand how well the topic is conceived.
Writing down theses and ideas
Notes making is a powerful tool to developing critical thinking skills because students can visualize specific concepts read in the novel. Besides, it is advisable to write down chains of ideas on separate sheets of paper for students to arrange those in an appropriate manner.
Making up questions to the content of the stories is also a valuable tool for understanding the main ideas and themes discussed. In such a manner, students can clarify the aspects that seem to be ambiguous in the course of reading. Asking questions to other students can generate a more fruitful discussion.
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All these activities can be implemented while reading the book mentioned above to demonstrate middle school students that they should not be afraid about their problems and concerns.
Blume, J. (1970). Iggie’s House. US:Yearling.
Blume, J. (1974). Blubber. US: ABC-CLIO.
Blume, J. (1982). Tiger’s eyes. US: Laurel Leaf.
Blume, J. (1991). Deenie. US: Laurel Leaf.
Blume, J. (2002). It’s Not the End of the World. US: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books.
Conner, J. W. (1972). It’s not the End of the World by Judy Blume. The English Journal, 61(6), 936-937.
Garber, S. M. (1984). Judy Blume: New Classicism for Kids. The English Journal. 73 (4), 56-59.
Jones, J. (2008). Judy Blume: Fearless Storyteller for Teens. US: Enslow Publishers.
Redmond, J. K. (1982). Young Adult Literature: Is There Life after Judy Blume? The English Journal. 71(3), 92-94.