History of Love 1 - Opening Discussion pgs 1-19 (34)

"When will you learn that there isn't a word for everything?"

Lesson Overview 

Ah - an opening lesson of an opening novel.  One of the reasons that I choose The History of Love - other than I think that it is a masterpiece - is that I find the students come in to class - so eager to talk about it.  And - because it is so accessible it gives us a chance to work and develop skills in close reading.  We usually can't get all the way to page 34 - except when our class periods were increased by about 40%.  Then we not only could get to it - because our time was ultimately diminished, it was necessary to get that far by the end of the period.  We begin, as almost always, with a quiz.  By now, students are familiar with the quizzes - know that they will be checked to see if they did the reading - and because this reading is interesting and accessible - they appreciate getting credit for having done their homework.
  The plan for the opening lesson is to have a teacher-led discussion where I talk as little as possible (see my page on types of discussions)  -and let the students bring up anything they want in their reading while at the same time having a plan for where the discussion is going - and like all classes, I see every discussion as a "chapter in a book".  It has a plot, a theme, a link to things that came before and a preview of what is to come.  I have attached my notes for the discussion as well as a sample page of my reading notes.  It is important, I believe, to not only build the students' interest - but to help them see information (and to bring it from them) that will make them appreciate and enjoy the book even more.
  There are so many great connections in this book - and it is a fine line that the teacher walks in 1) Not giving anything away  2) helping students see and find the wonder in those connections.  I have never "winged" a lesson - and here it becomes even more important to have detailed notes - to make sure you give no spoilers.  And there are some wonderful twists in The History of Love - that you simply want the students to discover (and fall in love with) themselves.
  The notes that I do include below are my battleplan for this lesson.  The questions - the links - the quotes - and sometimes even the answers that will lead to other wonderful questions and discussion.  Of course you also have to be ready to let the discussion go somewhere else - and it often does.  This, then, gets put into my notes and incorporated into the next year's (sometimes the next period's) class.  Every class lives on - every class  helps build the knowledge of the next one.  This is just one of the many reasons that I repeat so many works as a teacher.  Until nothing new is discovered - and then you know its time to move on).  As always, it is imperative to keep your eye on the clock so that you get as far as you want to get with this by the end of the period.

My Lesson Notes & a sample reading page

See above for instructions - the text with my notes served as a guide for the questions, comments and ideas that I ask - though I was always ready for and often elicited the students ideas, questions, etc.  Over the years - as I wrote notes in this text - the previous years' notes and questions become incorporated into the lesson.  Ha!  No Senior Cut Day - I must have taught "The History of Love" at the end of year one year OR they had an early Senior Cut Day.  Again - you will find that these instructions are flexible - and I had to be - they kept changing the amount of time that we had in the classroom.
  There is a lot to take in here - some of it obvious - some of it not so much.  For instance, why mention Jonathan Safron Foer?   Because, at the end of this book - the students will watch "Everything is Illuminated".  A wonderful film - that helps tie down and cement much of what they will learn in this unit.


Most Recent Handouts & Quizzes  (two different quizzes depending on how far the students were asked to read)

Reading Quiz 1-19:  Docx   PDF   (sometimes in order to even out the reading the quiz will not cover up to their assigned reading)

Reading Quiz 1-19 AND 19-34  PDF (can't find the Word vers.)

Audio Visual Content


Remote Enhancements 

Nothing that I have found...yet. 


Class Recordings (for registered members)




The History of Love Day 2 - an abbreviated lesson - often (especially if the period is longer) worked into today's lesson.


  Poems before The History of Love

Thoughts on the Lesson 

An opening lesson sets the tone for the rest of the novel.  It is so important to bring the teacher's excitement and bring that to the rest of the class.  In my mind, anyway - I always see students very happy and excited to have read and to talk about this book.  It comes as a surprise to them.  A different kind of choice for their English class.  And there are lines in that opening reading that will stay with students for the rest of their lives.  I know - because I still hear former students quoting them.