"The Metamorphosis" - changed from what I was

"I thought you were a quiet dependable person, and now all at once you seem bent on making a disgraceful exhibition of yourself."  

"The Metamorphosis" Group Work 1 : After a full week of introduction and laying the groundwork - it's time to have students work together using their own special skills and what we've learned in class

Lesson Overview 

After the quiz, the students will quickly be put into random groups of 3 or 4.  Because so much of the class is done as group work, it makes sense to start getting them into that experience as soon as possible.  It also gives the teacher - while they are working in groups, a chance to look at (not enough time to grade) the test (not a quiz, there are more questions and it counts for more - because the reading was longer (they had a weekend to do it), the credit they are given for doing that reading is more) AND to remind the students for the first time that if they didn't do the reading homework, they should spend the period reading - and do the group work for homework (turned in without penalty).  It makes no sense to have students who didn't do the reading in a group - and it doesn't allow group members (who will soon pick their own groups) evaluate how their fellow students work (or don't) in a group. 

The Group Work is designed to show them what they are capable of (working together), have them put the reading to use by synthesizing it with their own lives and the readings that they have done so far in the class (and of course their own knowledge that goes beyond the class).  "The Metamorphosis" not only fits in well with what we've read so far - but it serves as a wonderful metaphor for many of their lives.  Being a teenager can often seem like you wake up one day and find you do not fit in with what you were and are viewed as "alien" by those around you.  The reading was often complex - by working together they will be able to not only make sense of it - but to apply it to today.

The Group Work also references a poem that I wrote right after 9/11 on how the world changed - in the same way our discussions during the Pandemic touched on that "changed world" aspect of everything and how it relates to the story.  I also include (for the second time) the Talking Heads song - "Once in a Lifetime" - allowing the students to naturally make the link back to their previous stories. 

The Reading 

The Metamorphosis excerpt:  Docx  PDF  The students are given a copy of the excerpt - in the old days - they used their text book.  But since this is printed out, they are able to write their notes on it - accordingly I have given then some brief directions that go over what we talked about in week 1 for taking notes on a text.


Most Recent Handouts & Quizzes

Reading Quiz 21-27:  Docx  PDF   There are five questions in this quiz/test - but because the reading was longer - I usually count this as 150 or 200 points (as opposed to the usual 100 point quiz).  While students work on group work - I will glance at quizzes to make sure only students who did the reading get into groups (I give them the benefit of the doubt when scanning these).

The Group Work:  Docx  PDF     As this is the first Group Work they do - there are less questions and more directions.  The idea (remember to see the page on Group Work) is to get them working together, audition for their permanent groups, and to show them how much they can get done by working together.   There is a lot this handout tries to do beyond that:  1) get them to reflect on how the reading is a metaphor for our (their) own lives (especially as teenagers)  2) show them the importance of the text  3) thinking beyond the literal  - and much more (see the Group Work!)

Audio Visual Content

Again, "Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads - the lyrics are found on the back of the handout.


Remote Enhancements 

During the Pandemic - we put off the first Group Work until later - we instead had a discussion about the reading - using this Power Point to help guide the discussion (and the quiz!).  The content of the Group Work was a main guide for the discussion.



Class Recordings (for registered members)



What's Next & Unit Homepage

The Return of Martin Guerre    A Movie!  Next - we watch a movie "The Return of Martin Guerre" that helps the students use what we've done so far - and apply it to a different text (in this case a film)


  The Allegory of the Cave

Thoughts on the Lesson 

Their first Group Work is always important - see the page for more info - but it allows them to put together what we've been doing during discussion - and rely more on themselves than their teacher.  I will admit, though I only did it one year - I thought the discussion was worthwhile as well - but sooner or later it's important to get them working on their own (as much as Group Work is working on their own).