One day a week, during your Animal Farm Unit, turn your classroom into Animal Farm.
1)Students will be able to learn the pro and cons to leadership and becoming a good citizen.
2)Students will develop and sustain an interest in the novel.
3)Students will better understand the allegorical connection between Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution.
Week One: Students select one (or randomly assigned) of the groups; Human, Dog, Raven, Horse, or Pig. After they are in one of these groups, they are now a part of their own Political Party and must now assume the identity of whatever animal they have become.
(Assignment)-Students write a journal about thier new identity, describing such things as thier new name and thier history on the farm.
Week Two: Each group must prepare a one-page speech to have their Political Party become the leading party of the Farm. Once all speeches are prepared and given, a leader is voted (Normally, students vote down party lines) and given responsibilities. This can vary but the jobs I give are; 1)On the class "Animal Farm" days there is a harvest where I bring in candy for the class. It is the leading party's job to divide the harvest amoung the class as they see fit. (Actually, a spokesperson for the group is chosen and he/she does it) 2)Students in the leading party must ask me to leave class, but other parties must first get the permission of the ruling party and then my permission. (it's actually fun to see this play out)
(Assignment)-Students are to compare the leadership qualities of the class' ruling party to those of the Pigs in the novel. (In Journal)
Week Three: Just as the Pigs divide the other animals into committees, so too does the ruling party of the classroom. This again can vary as you deem fit, but my groups are; Attendance, Runners, Those that straighten up the room after class, and those that keep the rest of the room quiet. All committees answer to the ruling party (and of course me) and thier share of the harvest is at stake for not doing thier job.
(Assignment)- Students write a journal about how thier share of the work compares to the ruling party's share.
Week Four- Just as Napoleon and Snowball vie for leadership within the ruling party, so too must a challenger speak against the leading party's current spokesman. If the other "animals" are unhappy with the current spokesman they can rally against them. Whoever is voted out of power is "driven out of the farm" They lose all privilage to the harvest. (Being the leaders can have its downside too)
(Assignment)-In thier Journals, students reflect on the class' decision and whether or not they agree with it and why.
Week Five: The great purge takes place, in the book and in class. The leading party selects those that "have not done thier duties." This all of course, is at the discretion of the leading party. Those animals are "killed" and lose harvest benefits. (*Note-something else I've done that's fun to watch is as the harvests diminish in the book so do they in class and the leaders must decide who gets more candy than the others and who might not get any at all.)
(Assessment)-In journals, students are asked to discuss how fair the selection of those that died was and how they might have done things differently from the beginning.
Week Six: Students are to get onto the internet and find out how thier allegorical equivilant participated in the Russian Revolution and write a report on it. Although I've seen this vary, my students break down like this:
Pigs - Bolsheviks (apologies for
Dogs - White Russians spelling)
Horses - Proletariats
Humans - Tzars
Ravens - Russian Church