Middle-Grade · teaching literature

Teaching Tuck Everlasting, Part III

We’re over halfway through Tuck Everlasting now, and it’s really been a joy to teach. It was one of my favorite books when I was that age, so I’ve loved coming up with projects for the kids to do. Even if not all of them love the book the way I do, I think they’re enjoying it and really getting a lot out of it. We’ve talked a lot about the metaphor of the wood as the hub of a wheel, bringing the characters together, and we also looked at the pros and cons of living forever this past week. Some of the things the kids brought up were factors I hadn’t even considered, like what would happen to an immortal person if the planet became uninhabitable, or – on the pro side – the possibility of swimming underwater without having to come up for air. It’s great to have them thinking about everything involved, because that’s kind of the point of a book like this – to ask an impossible, hypothetical question and then explore what it would mean if it was possible.

They also turned in their diary entries that I assigned last week. I loved reading them! A lot of the kids chose to write from Winnie or Jesse’s point of view, of course, but I also got one from Mae Tuck, and even one from the toad. Many of them showed not just a solid understanding of the book, but a lot of creativity and enthusiasm as well. There’s nothing more rewarding for a teacher than seeing the class respond so well and watching the spark of excitement you’ve tried to create really take hold.

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