Teaching Concealed in a Literature Classroom

    Hi there. My name is Lisa Clark, and I am a teacher at heart. I can’t help but approach most things in life from a teaching point of view. And while I miss those days I spent with teenagers in my classroom, the beauty is that I’m still finding ways that I can teach, especially with my new series, The Messengers. You know that already, don’t you? We teach all the time, in a huge variety of environments! Whether in a church, classroom, youth group, book club, homeschool, or coffee shop setting, so many Messengers have told me that they’ve enjoyed teaching Discovered to others, and to one another.

    This, of course, has inspired me! And so one of the best ways I’ve been able to stretch my teaching muscles is by helping other teachers teach. When I wrote The Messengers: Discovered, I wrote it with a teacher’s heart. And now, I’ve had a great deal of fun writing a series of posts on how to teach Discovered!

    Well, my friends, the time has come, and The Messengers: Concealed is here. So, I’m rolling up my sleeves and grabbing my coffee. Time to think of some more lesson ideas!

    Getting started . . . at the end. So, you likely know this by now, since this is the second book, but did you know that there are questions at the end of the novel? There are two questions per chapter. Taken as a whole, they engage students in different ways over a variety of topics. If you’re teaching middle school and only assigning a chapter or two each night, this can be a great way to assess completion and comprehension. If you’re teaching high school students with longer reading loads, you may want to offer a choice of questions (pick X out of X) as a supplement to study. If you organize this unit as an in-class book club, these choices could then become discussion starters within small groups. I know that some teachers of younger students have chosen The Messengers as their read-aloud series. If that’s the case, pause after a chapter or two and ask a question from the back!

    Setting the stage. To set the tone, show students the Concealed book trailer either at the beginning of the unit or as an introduction to a project. Later on in this unit, challenge students to make their own book trailer for Concealed or a book trailer for a dystopian novel they imagine themselves.

    Living life like a Messenger. One of my favorite units as a teacher was when I created the classroom environment to feel like the book. Classroom activities are suddenly more exciting—and dangerous! Work on your Ms. Stetter impersonation, and make sure each group toes the line. Send students on scavenger hunts for brochures throughout the classroom. Or maybe you’re Zeke, and you ask students to plant vials throughout the school and write messages in chalk right before recess begins. For class work each day, give each small group of Messengers a mission to complete together.

    Don’t forget your online toolkit. If you click here, you’ll see lots of fun ways to interact on social at the bottom of the page. Speaking of sharing, see those free downloadables at the middle of the page? Share them! Encourage your students to share them. That’s right. Tell them that their teacher wants them to go on social media for homework. But wait, that’s not all! If you click here and scroll down to “Free Promotional Tools,” you have all kinds of fun things to use: PowerPoint slides, a poster, Facebook images, and so on. Hey—speaking of these sites, did you notice that there are places for reviews? Create a fun writing assignment where students write their own reviews and post them for all to see!

    Asking big questions. Maybe these will turn into a great in-class discussion. Maybe they will turn into a project starter. Maybe these will be essay prompts. Once you decide what is best for your class, use these questions to get some serious thinking started!

    • Think about the narrative point of view in this story. Which minds, if any, can we get into? Do we hear inner thoughts all the time? How does this approach help or hurt the reader who is trying to figure out mysteries? Is the narrative voice reliable? Why or why not?
    • Look at motifs, or patterns, in this story. Is there imagery that repeats throughout Concealed? Are there themes that keep coming up? Keep track of at least one of these patterns as you read, making notes as these themes develop throughout the story. Bonus: Which themes have been used in both books so far? Which themes are new?
    • The Epilogue of Concealed is the same as the Prologue of Discovered. When you start reading Concealed, make a guess as to who the figure might be. When you finish reading the book, go back and read it again. How does it tie in to the Epilogue of Concealed (no peeking!)?

    Don’t forget Discovered. If you recall, I wrote several blog posts on how to teach the first novel of The Messengers series. Some of those same ideas can be applied or adapted to Concealed (for example, the information about dystopian literature). Take a second look!

    Ah, it feels good to be thinking about the classroom again. More will come soon! In the meantime, I know many of you teachers have already come up with some of your own ideas. I’d love to hear about them!

    FREEBIE: Are you a vocab fan? Many teachers ask me for vocabulary lists, and with good reason. This book was largely written at an accessible reading level but peppered with some trickier vocabulary along the way. (I couldn’t help it!) I’ve selected two words per chapter and created a downloadable handout you may want to give your students. I also created an extra bullet for students to use if they come across another word they’d like to learn. For more fun, hide the definitions throughout the classroom after each reading assignment, and have a vocabulary scavenger hunt! Just fill out the form below to get the free list!

    Download the free vocabulary sheet!

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