Sunday, October 19, 2008

Program Ideas For Life As We Knew It And the dead and the gone

Recently, I've received e-mails from teachers who are using Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone in their classrooms. I thought it would be a good idea to have a blog entry devoted to program ideas that can be used in schools and libraries.

My plan is to keep a link to this entry on the right side of the blog, and to update it with new ideas when I learn of them. I would appreciate it if any of you who have used LAWKI and/or d&g could either add comments discussing what you've done, or e-mail me your ideas (if you do e-mail me, let me know if you'd like to be credited in the blog).

I'm going to start with an e-mail I received from Ms. Jennifer L. Griffin, the 7th grade Language Arts and Literature teacher and her colleague, Mrs. Debbie Renauer, 8th grade Language Arts and Literature teacher, at Holy Trinity Catholic School in Louisville, Kentucky:

We are embarking on a great teaching adventure on October 14, 2008. We will be teaching LAWKI and td&tg to our students...with a twist. The boys will be reading td&tg and the girls will be reading LAWKI. They will then be sharing information with each other and comparing and contrasting. We will also have the seventh graders working with the eighth graders for the first time! Our science teacher is going to devote some class time to talking about the effects of the moon on earth; our math teachers are going to work on a pantry inventory project with the students (during which they will calculate how long their family could survive based on serving size, calories, and energy expended); our religion teacher will be discussing the religious aspects of both novels in her class; the history teacher will be taking class time to discuss other disasters in the world's past.

Here's the link to the official Harcourt discussion guide:

The next idea comes from California:,+Video+and+Downloadable+Audio

Prepare a Technology Enhanced Learning in Science (TELS) project, and have students search ScienceHack for science videos to be utilized for research or within a presentation. Cross curricular tie-in, Language Arts/Science: Students read, "Life as we knew it" by Pfeffer and searchs for moon, tides, earthquakes, vocanoes. View "Why doesn't the moon fall down".

Here are some program ideas from a library in Alabama that used LAWKI as its summer read:

June 12: Survival 101 - Wilderness survival expert Darryl Patton will present this introductory wilderness and primitive survival program.

July 3: Movie Night - Watch a movie on a 20-foot-screen. Popcorn and drinks provided.

July 10: About Asteroids - The Von Braun Astronomical Society will separate fact from fiction about asteroids and meteors. Participants will use telescopes to view the moon and the night sky, weather permitting. This program begins at 7:30 p.m.

July 18: Survivor Gadsden - Outwit, Outplay, Outlast! You'll need to be strong, clever and lucky to "survive" and claim fame under a full moon. All participants will be fed and watered! This program is from 7 p.m. to 10 pm.

Create a miniture survival kit out of a recycled Altoids tin.

Here's a comment from Linda Jacobs on Jan. 15, 2009:

Just wanted to let you know that my tenth-grade class is reading your books right now and loving them. The boys have d&g and the girls are reading LAWKI.

We've been doing some fun activities, too. For example, the girls had to write and read news reports about the actual night the meteor hit since the boys don't get that description in their book and a few days later, the boys had to do the same with Alex's body search at Yankee Stadium.

Last weekend, several of the girls got really freaked out because the actual moon was so huge. One girl even researched if that was normal!

I got an email on Jan. 20, 2009 with the following suggestion from literacy coach Beth Pace:

...there is an excellent piece in National Geographic from August 2008 called Target Earth. A friend suggested that it be used as a companion piece when teaching your book in the classroom. I think she is right!

And here's a link to a lot of discussion topics for both books.

Life As We Knew It is the 2009 One Book New Jersey young adult selection, and they have a lot of program ideas. Here's the link to all the info about LAWKI and the direct link to their program suggestions.

I particularly like this one:

Environmental Education:Environmental Education Week 2009 is April 12-18, 2009. Discuss water conservation, global warming, pollution, and other issues that affect our environment. Then discuss with your teens ways that they can get involved on a local level to help protect the planet.

Thanks to One Book New Jersey, a lot of libraries are using LAWKI in their book discussion programs. Here's a link to one which will also be having a Disaster Party!

Google just led me to this idea, which was inspired in part by The Dead And The Gone.

I yahooed yesterday and found a library that had a Jeopardy like game based on LAWKI. My guess is I would have done very badly at it, since I can never get the answers to sound like questions.

Thanks to Skype, you can collaborate across the Atlantic.

Here's a Life As We Knew It Jeopardy game.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who are using my books and to those of you who are sharing your ideas.


msannakoval said...

thank you SO much for sharing these links with educators, ms. pfeffer. your books "life as we knew it" and "the dead and the gone" are amazing curriculum supplements as well as fabulous stand-alone recreational reads. our student book club members LOVE them, and so do i! =)

anna koval =)
casa grande high school
petaluma, california

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan
It's Ann Marie from West Hartford. When we used LAWKI as our summer read, we made journals all summer. We also visited the planetarium at Central Connecticut State University where the astronomer talked to us about meteors and asteroids. We had a duct tape workshop where the teens made games to stave off the boredom of no TV or computer. We had a canned goods recipe contest. The teens had to come up with a recipe only using canned foods. We also had a playlist contest. Teens burned songs to a CD that best illustrated LAWKI. Hope this helps.

Ann Marie

Anonymous said...

Hello, again. I'd resolved not to pester you again with ideas, but reading this made me wonder a couple of things: 1)Are they also going to try doing what Miranda's family did in LAWKI -- Miranda taking history, her mom taking French, Jon taking algebra, and Matt taking philosophy, and learning from each other round-table style, which led to 2) If they do it again in the new book, and Julie's there, what subject would she choose?

Sorry to be such a pest.

Anonymous Santa Fe

Jessica said...

I'm in the 7th Grade and we have been assigned to do a project on a book we have enjoyed this year I chose Life As We Knew It so idea of the project is make it have somthing to do with the book, be creative, and make it to where people want to read the book. So everyone is basicly doing diaramas and well here are my ideas for the project let me know if you have any. Idea one I'm creating what looks like a kitchen cabniet out of cardboard and inside making shelfs with iteams of food they commonly ate in the book (powdered milk,tuna,ect.) On the front of the cabniet it says what if you had to eat. Idea two I'm making a tornado,volcano,and tusami figures along with a moon. These are my ideas if you have any others please let me know the project is in the near future and I would love to hear what you think of my project ideas. Oh and p.s. sorry for any spelling errors gramar is not my best subject

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Jessica-

I think your ideas are very good (I really like the kitchen cabinet one).

But if you're looking for other ideas, you might find something you can use in this blog entry.

Anonymous said...

It's Sunshsine! I wish we got to read LAWKI, d&g, and TW! Okay, I noticed this link on the right side bar, so I just HAD to click on it. I am an 8th grade student currently and shall go to highschol in the fall. From a student's perspective, this is a great idea! ANY teacher reading the comments should read this. In the seventh grade we had to read this action adventure science fiction series. The class was hooked. Kids now-a-days like that kind of stuff. It's a great alternative to the freaky vampire rubish and that kind of stuff. This series kept me in suspense. I found myself asking myself what I would do in this life or death situation. Students will love this very much! Girls would love books 1&3. Guys would love book 2. I'm not saying that girls and guys won't like the other books. I'm just saying that it accommodates everybody. It's not all girly. It's not all boyish (if that's even a word). It's a great series!

Sean said...

im in seventh grade (almost eighth!) and for our final english assignment, we all had to pick a book we really liked, write a review, and have it posted in the library. We had a list of maybe 250 books, and of all my luck, LAWKI was at the top of the list! at the end of the deadline, i had gotten an A+!!! Thx, Ms. Pfeffer!

Anonymous said...

What a nice surprise to hear my son, whom is an avid young reader inform me that the new book he is reading bashes President Bush.

I have to tell you I find it so disappointing that a children book uses the character to make a negative political shot at any President.

Let's just say I will let the school know what they should take off their reading list.


Regina from Texas

Anonymous said...

Seriously? You want to ban an excellent teen book from your school's library based on a character's criticism of the president?

If you want to limit your own child's reading, then read the books first before permitting him to read them.

But don't have the gall to infringe on the rest of the school based on your limited understanding of literature.

Libby said...

Dear Regina from Texas,

I find it quite humorous that your son believes that the book is bashing former President Bush. Please do your research before seeking out an author and posting negative comments on her site -- meaning, read the book and you'll find no mention of former President Bush.

While the book does portray a mother's frustration with an "idiot president" I find it quite amusing that your son chose to identify an "idiot president" to the likes of President Bush. In fact, it makes me laugh.

Practice what you preach, don't push your views onto other children.