Outsiders Unit Plan

Author Tannis Wilhelmus
Grade Level 6-8

Lesson Plan Description
This was a unit plan I used the first time I taught grade 8 English. Themes of Family, Community, and Social issues are all prevalent and can easily be fleshed out. This works well if your school tries to incorporate 'big ideas' and character attributes, such as integrity or responsibility would also work well.

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Follows the Ontario Ministry of Education Language Curriculum
Title: The Outsiders Novel Study
Grade: 8
Subject: Language Arts/English
Time Frame: 18 to 50 minute classes (15 hours total)


This novel study will help students have a greater understanding of how individuals develop their identity, how groups develop a collective identity, and how individuals contribute to their community and society.  This will also help these adolescent aged students recognize the importance of their own developing identity and how they relate to others and their community.  This novel study takes a more in-depth look at the class system, and students will be able to recognize the different attitudes attributed to different classes. This unit relates to the whole course as curriculum expectations in oral, reading, writing, and media studies will all be addressed.  This unit will contribute to student learning by allowing opportunities for working on tasks individually, in small groups, and in a variety of oral and written tasks.  The lessons within the unit will be of importance to students' lives because students will be able to look at how choices they make have consequences, sometimes positive, sometimes negative.  It will also relate to their lives as they relate to cliques or groups/gangs and what family means.  The general instructional strategies used will start with a more teacher-centred  approach, and as students begin more tasks and become familiar with the topics, they will move to more student-centred activities, where students will have more autonomy in their choices of assignments for small group tasks and assessment.  For a culminating activity, students will have the opportunity to self-direct their learning to something of interest to them and related to an Outsiders topic for an essay or writing assignment. Students will demonstrate their understanding of how concepts in this unit, and skills they are developing, are interrelated and transferable to other courses, such as history, social studies, and drama, to name a few.  Technology will be used extensively for both research and writing assignments.

Curriculum Content Focus:

Central Theme:  Developing a sense of identity as an individual and within a group/community.

Applications to the Real World: This unit will help students develop an awareness of their own individual identity, and help recognize their importance within their family group and community.  Because the characters in the novel are barely older than the grade 8's reading the Outsiders, many may be able to relate to the difficult choices the main characters make and may sympathize with, or disagree with the choices the main characters make, as they begin to recognize situations that could be similar in their own lives.  By developing a sense of empathy for fellow citizens, and reading about how it is sometimes difficult to be brave or right for characters in a novel may make it easier to see and do in their own lives as well.

Cross-Curricular Possibilities:  This unit has many cross-curricular options or possibilities, especially in social studies, history, and drama/art.  With social studies, learning about different classes and possibly different cultures will enhance any units students will be taught about other cultures and how society works in other places as well as our own community and country.  In history, this novel study will help as it takes place in the 1960's, which was a time of political and social unrest--a theme that is addressed in the grade 8 and high school curriculum.  In drama/art, students would be able to have the opportunity to act out scenes from the book, as well as create art projects that are inspired by the novel.

Curriculum Expectations:  Although the specific ministry expectations are included at the beginning of each lesson, there are also overall expectations for the grade 8 language arts curriculum.  The overall expectations that this unit will address are to: read and demonstrate an understanding of a variety of literary, graphic, and informational texts, using a range of strategies to construct meaning; use knowledge of words and cueing systems to read fluently; generate, gather, and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience; draft and revise their writing; use editing, proofreading, and publishing skills and strategies, and knowledge of language conventions, to correct errors, refine expressions, and present their work effectively; listen in order to understand and respond appropriately in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes; use speaking skills and strategies appropriately to communicate; and create a variety of media texts for different purposes and audiences, using appropriate forms, conventions and techniques.

Learning Experiences:

  • Discussions, whole class and small group
  • Preparing a dramatic scene from the novel
  • Research project
  • Internet searches
  • Cooperative learning groups
  • Activities with a partner/seatmate
  • Guided readings of the chapters
  • Journal Entries
  • Portfolio
  • Unit test


Additional Resources:

Other ideas for The Outsiders can be found at:

Chapter questions: http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/engramja/outsideQ.html

Portfolio/journal ideas: http://www.library.ubc.ca/edlib/lessonplans/sec/lled314/2003/englishunitplans/pdffiles/Other-studies/08Sabrina-Block-Outsiders.pdf

Rubric Creation site: http://www.rcampus.com/rubricshellc.cfm?mode=gallery&sms=personalrub&nocache=1250371374994


Although I did get some ideas from the above websites, I created my own assignments, rubric, and Unit test.  I only consulted the sites listed to ensure accuracy.






Additional Learning Objective(s):

Behavioural Objectives:

            The goal of this unit is to give students the opportunity to improve and further develop their English skills and literacy skills in preparation for high school and life outside of school.  The students will be expected to attend class, do assigned class work and homework (as necessary), come prepared for class and ready to learn; and to participate in discussions and group work.


Introduction: Pre-Assessment

            The first class will begin with a classroom discussion, centred on students brainstorming and popcorning out their thoughts and ideas about what makes a family, how/why do people get involved in their community, what are the classes of people we see, and what motivates people to be courageous or heroic.  The last question up for discussion is about how someone can be an individual and what factors affect how someone views himself or herself and how their identity is formed.  Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of these ideas, and hopefully students will also recognize that some of the answers they give relate to more than one question.  I will also ask, "Where do cliques fit in? Or, gangs?"  This will hopefully be an eye opening discussion for those who haven't considered some of these ideas being discussed (and possibly how similar those two groups can be), as well as a way to include students who themselves may self-identify with one social class or club/gang themselves.  Hopefully, students will already be familiar with some key ideas and vocabulary from previous language, history, or social studies classes.


Lesson Synopses:


            Students will be seated in small groupings in the classroom, with special attention paid to ensure students from different learning abilities are equally distributed throughout the groups.  Each student will create a portfolio, using a folder, to keep their small assignments and journal entries in and they will have the opportunity to decorate the folder with pictures of what they believe is representative of their own identity at the beginning of the unit.  At the end of the unit, they will have the opportunity to review what they have learned and the portfolio will contain their work that can help them understand their developing identity.  They may use some of the collected information to help in their initial research for their final writing task.

Lesson 1- Introduction to some of the key questions we will look at during the unit.  Starting with a class discussion about what constitutes a family (genetics, people living together, parents and kids in a house, extended family, attitudes).  Then we will move to what is a community and how or why do people get involved in community groups/activities.  Our last class question to discuss will be in regards to social classes, how to identify classes, identify with classes, how labels are given to different groups of people.  Then we will split into the small seating groups and students will brainstorm and record their ideas about "What is a gang? What is a clique?" Once students have had a chance to share their ideas with the class, they will begin a journal entry about how they view themselves as individuals and where they feel they fit in within society.  Their journal notebook will be something that is their private booklet to write their ideas, but at the end of the unit, they will be able to choose 4 entries for evaluation. 

Lesson 2- Today, we will revisit the idea of cliques and gangs and begin discussing the setting of The Outsiders.  The novels will be passed out, and as a class, we will read chapter 1.  Once we have read the first chapter, we can discuss the time period and setting of the novel.  In their journals, students will write about what clues there are regarding the time period and setting.  We will also briefly discuss the author, S.E. Hinton, and how gender differences were more prevalent in the 1960s.  In small groups, the students will discuss what some of the Greasers common traits are, and also, come up with a definition for the terms, "individual" and "identity".  Students will be given their folders and time to clip and glue pictures from magazines that show and express their own identity and individuality.

Lesson 3- With a partner, students will be given the opportunity to share their portfolio cover choices and the partners will then introduce them to the class.  This gives each student a chance to share something positive about a partner, and others in the class may recognize similarities or differences in their classmates they were not previously aware of. Before reading chapter 2, students will be given guided reading questions to complete and put into their portfolio.  The definition of a literary device will be on an overhead for students to refer to while working on their questions and put into their notes as needed to help answer questions.  We will alternate reading aloud as a class with students reading silently over the next chapters to give students the chance to improve their skills in reading and speaking aloud.

Lesson 4- Now that the main characters of the novel have been introduced. Students will write an acrostic poem or a name poem about Ponyboy.  Students may choose another type of poem as their mini-writing task, but they must let the teacher know their choice first.  This will be placed in the portfolio.  After this task is complete, in their journals, students will begin a character trait chart (character sketch) for one of the characters in the novel.  Once completed, students will read chapter 3 silently and work on chapter questions.

Lesson 5- In chapter 3, students discovered that Pony and Johnny are best friends.  In their journals, students will be asked to record the evidence the author gives to show that Pony and Johnny are best friends, and to make any connections to their relationship to that of their own best friend, or someone they are close to.  How are those relationships similar? How are they different?  As a class, chapter 4 will be read, but volunteers will read for a character for the entire chapter (one person will be Pony, Johnny, Bob, etc), with the teacher acting as narrator.  At the end of this chapter, students will pretend they are advice columnists.  Their writing task will be to give advice on what Pony and Johnny should do (if they hadn't gone to Dally).  Students may volunteer to share their response, but it will not be expected that each student do so.  This will go into the portfolio.  Students will finish reading chapter 5 before next class, and complete guided reading questions on chapter 4 and 5.

Lesson 6- Class will begin with a discussion of the previous chapters, to make sure everyone is keeping up and understanding the significance of events thus far.  As a class, we will do a comparison of the East and West/Greasers and Socs, and also list the characteristics of both groups.  Can any of the characters belong in the other group?  What classes would these group members be in?  What are some positive traits of both groups?  What are some negative traits?  What were the significant events in each chapter?  In small groups, students can come up with a placemat graphic organizer to address how they may have reacted in Pony & Johnny situation, who else the characters could have turned to, who is innocent or guilty and why, and what the poem that Pony recites, by Robert Frost, might mean.   Students will read chapters 6 and 7 before next class, and complete chapter questions.

Lesson 7-  Looking at the language in the book, students will have some time to compare the language used with contemporary meanings, and also discuss any vocabulary words they have come across that  were new (as answered in chapter questions).  Students will use these modern interpretations to prepare for a role-playing assignment.  In their groups, students will select a crucial scene from an assigned chapter to act out.  They may use props and they will re-write the dialogue to a more modern setting, paying particular attention to maintaining the integrity of the scene, but recognizing a more contemporary audience.  The groups will have the rest of class to prepare, and do not have to memorize a script, but full involvement is relevant and expected.    

Lesson 8- After each group has presented their scenes, students will be able to offer positive comments and feedback to their classmates.  Students will be given a chance to critique their group members and their own contribution to be handed in for consideration.  Students will finish reading chapter 8 and complete the questions.  For their portfolio, students will choose one side of the argument and write a paragraph to convince others whether they feel Johnny acted heroically or foolishly by running into the burning church.  In their journals, students will write their definition of a hero and heroism.  They will be asked to think of a time when they did something, heard of something, or witnessed someone doing something heroic.   Remind students that they will be getting information about the final project next class so that there will be plenty of time to work on it and complete it using class time.

Lesson 9- Final project information is given out today.  Students will be able to choose the task they wish to write about, using the novel The Outsiders, for evidence to support their topic. Students will be given a rubric to see how they will be evaluated. Topic choices are:

  • 1. Compare Cherry, a female Soc, with the male Socs. How do we know she is a Soc? How is she different than the male Socs? Why does she get along with the Greasers? Why is Cherry's character important in the novel?
  • 2. Compare yourself to a character in the novel. How are you similar to that character? How are you different? Do you feel that if you were in different social classes, you would be friends with the character you chose? What evidence in the novel supports your opinions?
  • 3. Looking at the setting, time period, and location of the novel, how are the issues still relevant today? Do any other issues today overshadow those in the novel? How has the social climate improved or gotten worse?
  • 4. Identity is an important theme in the novel. How do the characters develop or affirm their identities? Why is it important to develop your own identity? How does Ponyboy's identity develop throughout the novel?

Students will be given time to jot down some of their ideas.  Their rough notes and drafts/revisions will be kept in their portfolio.

Lesson 10- The class will use this class to read chapters 9 and 10 in their groups.  In their journals, students will write what they think Johnny's last words to Ponyboy meant, making reference to the chapter.  As a group, students will come up with reasons why they boys fight and why Johnny's death was so hard on Dally.  The groups will have time to share their answers to the class, and the class will discuss why they believe Dally may have wanted to die.  Students will use the remainder of the class to work on their project that was assigned last class.

Lesson 11 & 12- Students will be given time to work on the final project for part of the class.  For students who chose topic 3, they will be able to do some research in the library and on the Internet to gather information about the social climate of the 1960s, when the book is set, with the social climate of today.  Students working on the Internet will be given additional guidelines about using sites that are relevant and factual.  Students will write in their journals on the topic of family.  They will give their own definition of the term family. Then they will compare their idea of family to the idea that the Greasers are a family.  How are the Greasers like a family?  How do they differ?

Lesson 13 & 14- Students will be given time to continue working on their project and will also be given time to begin a final draft, once their rough draft has been completed, and they have proof-read and revised any changes needed.  Students will finish reading chapters 11 and 12. 

Lesson 15- Students will be asked to create a poster page in their journal about the best ways they can think of to handle a crisis.  Where can people get help in the community if they are facing their own crisis?  Students will be given this last day to finish typing their final draft to hand in at the end of tomorrow class.

Lesson 16- Final projects are due.  Students will be given the remainder of the period to review their portfolios to make sure nothing is missing and to select four of their journal entries to be evaluated (more emphasis is on content than conventions) and handed in.

Lesson 17- A review of the chapter questions, characters, setting, poems, and discussions.  The unit test is tomorrow.

Lesson 18- Unit test today.  This test will consist of ten definitions (10 marks), five multiple choice questions (5 marks), five short answer questions (10 marks), and a choice of two out of three long answer questions (10 marks). The test will be out of 35 and account for 25% of the unit grade.  Portfolios also handed in today.  The Outsiders novel study is complete.


Here are three detailed lesson plans from the unit:

 You will need a classroom set of "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton,

You may wish to provide portfolios or have students make them using large pieces of construction paper so that their materials remain together and in one place.

If you decide to have your students create the poster, you will need large blank sheets of paper, pencil crayons, etc.

Students will likely wish to research information using the Internet as well.

Lesson 9 with rubric, Culminating Assessment

Subject: Language

Title: Introduction to The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Grade: 8

Age Range: 12-14 years old


Ministry Expectations met by this lesson:

Oral:    1.2- Demonstrate an understanding of appropriate listening behaviour by adapting active listening strategies to suit a wide variety of situations, formal and informal, and set goals appropriate to the specific listening tasks.

            2.2- Demonstrate an understanding of appropriate speaking behaviour in most situations, using a variety of speaking strategies and adapting them to suit the purpose and audience.

Writing: 1.1- Identify the topic, purpose, and audience for more complex writing forms

            2.2- Establish a distinctive voice in their writing appropriate to the subject and audience.

            2.5- Identify their point of view and other possible points of view; evaluate other points of view, ad find ways to respond to other points of view, if appropriate.


Anticipatory Set:  Students will be asked a series of increasingly complex questions to get them thinking about topics that will be recurring themes in the novel.  After completing the class discussion, students will have established some opinions and internalized some definitions of the concepts discussed.  This will prepare students for upcoming topics of discussion and writing in subsequent classes.

Objective: The objective of this lesson is to establish a rapport with students, and for students to become comfortable with the topics in the novel, such as the idea of what constitutes and family, how social classes are identified, labelling groups, individual identity development, and being part of a community.  Students will be working extensively in their small group throughout this unit, so establishing ground rules, such as speaking respectfully and listening attentively will be important to reinforce and model.  This lesson will also introduce them to their writing journal, something the students will work on individually, but have the opportunity to share, if they are comfortable, later on.

Materials: Chalkboard and chalk, blank journals for each student, pen/pencil, blank paper


  1. Arrange the seating into groups of 4 (or around there) and introduce the idea that in class, this grouping is now their family. Explain to students we will be starting something new, but there are going to be some ground rules.  There are to be no put-downs, and students are expected to listen attentively and speak respectfully to each classmate during discussions. After students have settled, ask for a volunteer to write ideas down on the chalkboard.
  2. Have student volunteer record brainstorming ideas that are "popcorned" on the board.  The first idea is what constitutes a family? (answers will vary, but it is reasonable to expect students to mention parent(s) and children, extended family, people who live together and have kids)
  3. Next, we will brainstorm, "What is a community? Why do some people get involved in their community?" on a different section of the board.
  4. Finally, we will discuss, "What are social classes?  How can we tell someone is in one class or another?" Students will be guided to give their thoughts on how the classes act, their possessions (Upper class might be rich or snooty, have nice things; lower class might live in poverty or act in a rougher manner; middle class is the middle of the scale between the other two classes).
  5. In the small family groups, students will be handed a couple of blank pages for each group.  They will select someone to record answers and someone else to present answers.  All group members are expected to contribute to discussions and take turn with getting materials, recording, or presenting.  On the blank pages, the recorder will write, "What is a gang?" and the group will try to define the term , give a physical description, determine how gangs are portrayed in the media, and how gangs have changed over the years. 
  6. The same procedure will be given to the question, "What is a clique?" Hopefully some groups will acknowledge the similarities between gangs and cliques, but also note the differences.
  7. Students will be given a few minutes to gather their ideas, then a presenter from each group will come up and share the ideas their group came up with.
  8. After all of the groups have shared, students will receive their journals.  Everyone will be reminded that these journal entries are their own, and they may share their responses if they wish, but the only other person who has to see these will be the teacher.
  9. Having discussed as a class, and in their groups, what family is, social classes, community, what gangs are, and what cliques are will have students ready to consider where they fit in.  This will be the topic of their first entry: How do I see myself and where do I fit into society?
  10. Students will have the remainder of the period to complete their journal entry, but if they do not finish in class time, it will be homework.


            At the end of this lesson, students will have basic ideas about the concepts in the book.  As they begin reading The Outsiders, they will have the opportunity to make connections to the themes and characters in the novel.  Laying the groundwork of some of those concepts is important as it may help students discover who they are too.

Assessment & Evaluation:

Formative: During the class, I will circulate to ensure students are staying on-track and will offer guiding questions or ideas to help flesh out some points while brainstorming if necessary.  Students will be reminded that they are going to receive a mark for participation.

Summative: The journals that were started today will have a number of entries by the end of the unit, and students will select four entries to be evaluated.  The journals will be evaluated for content and idea completeness more than conventions.

Reflective Statements:

Students with special needs: Students of varying abilities will be distributed in the groups so they can benefit from working with students with higher academic achievement.  If a student has weaker writing skills, they may have the opportunity to present the group's ideas more.  Their journal may also be created on the computer if that helps them.





Subject: Language

Title: Chapter 3 of The Outsiders , Journal Entry, Portfolio Task

Grade: 8

Age Range: 12-14 years old


Ministry Expectations met by this lesson:

Oral:    2.3- Communicate in a clear, coherent manner, using a structure and style appropriate to the purpose, the subject manner, and the intended audience.

Reading: 1.5- Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using states and implied ideas from the text to support their interpretations.

            1.6- extend understanding o f texts, including increasing complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other texts, and the world around them.

Writing: 2.4- vary sentence types and structures for different purposes, with a focus on using a range of relative pronouns, subordinate conjunctions, and both the active and passive voice.

            2.8- produce draft pieces of writing to meet identified criteria based on the expectations.


Anticipatory Set: Students will take a moment to think about their best friend.  They will share why that person is their best friend. What does it mean to have a best friend? To be a best friend?  What would best friends do for each other?

Objective: The objective of this lesson is to get students to consider how their actions could have potentially dangerous consequences, for themselves and their best friend, by relating the experiences of the characters Pony & Johnny during the fight and the decisions they make afterwards.

Materials: Overhead projector, Overhead with instructions for portfolio writing task, examples of advice columns for students to use if needed, lined sheets of paper for students, writing implements, their novels, and their portfolio folder.


  1. As students enter the classroom and get into their groups, I will ask students to put a picture of their best friend in their mind.  In their groups, students will discuss why their best friend is their best friend. 
  2. Using their novels to obtain evidence, the groups' members will find examples of how the author shows that Johnny and Pony are best friends in chapter 3.  How is that evidence similar to how they would recognize their own best friend's traits?
  3. As a class, volunteer readers will read all of the dialogue for each character in chapter 4 (Pony, Johnny, Bob, Randy, etc), and the teacher will act as narrator.  The rest of the class will follow along in their novels.
  4. At the end of this chapter, the overhead with the assignment will be put up so students can begin their writing task (the assignment is attached).  Their task is to act as advice columnist (a la Dear Abby) to give advice to Johnny and/or Pony on what they should do (if they hadn't gone to Dally).
  5. The class will have the remainder of the period to work on this task and it will be put into their portfolio for evaluation at the end of the unit.  If they do not complete this task within the period, it will be as homework.
  6. Chapter 5 is assigned to read before next class.


            At the end of this lesson, students will be able to show their understanding of certain relationships; they will recognize that actions have consequences and can affect others; and they will have had the opportunity to try to look at this situation more objectively, rather than emotionally, by giving advice to the characters.  Next class could begin with a brief sharing time to see what the students would have done in Johnny's place.

Assessment & Evaluation:

Formative:  During class, I will monitor the groups to make sure they are staying on task; during the reading, I will also circulate to ensure students are following along in their notes; during the time of writing, students will have the opportunity to ask for help for clarification if needed, and may model their columns after the examples put up if they aren't sure of how to start.

Summative: Students will hand in their advice columns to be marked and that mark will be included in the portfolio evaluation at the end of the unit.

Reflective Statements:

Students with special needs: Students who need writing help may use computers or assistive technology.  If the assignment needs to be modified, they could answer a different question related to the novel, but simpler if need be, such as "What can I do if someone wants to fight me but I don't want to fight."

Students who are gifted: Students who require enrichment could create this advice column and also other columns for a newspaper of their own creation.  They could also use multimedia technology to present their assignment.

                                                                                                                        (Portfolio writing assignment)


Write an advice column! 


Imagine that instead of Pony & Johnny rushing to get help from Dally, time froze and they wrote a question to your advice column, asking you, their favourite columnist, for help. 


As an advice columnist, pretend you are an adult offering wise advice.  Create the question Pony & Johnny would ask (1 mark).  What should the boys do (assuming they do not go to Dally for help) and what are their options? (5 marks) Give reasons for the advice you offer. (2 marks)


Your column should be at least ½ a page long, but don't go over 1 page.  You must use proper sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and you must proofread your work (2 marks). 


When you have completed your advice column, put it in your portfolio to be marked.


Subject: Language

Title: The Outsiders Writing Project

Grade: 8

Age Range: 12-14 years old


Ministry Expectations met by this lesson:

Reading: 1.4- demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex and difficult texts by summarizing important ideas and explaining how the details support the main idea;

1.6- extend understanding of texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other texts, and to the world around them;

1.8- evaluate the effectiveness of a text based on evidence taken from the text;

Writing:  1.6-determind whether the ideas and information they have gathered are relevant, appropriate, and sufficiently specific for the purpose, and do more planning and research if necessary;          

2.6- identify elements in their writing that need improvement, selectively using feedback from the teacher and peers, with a focus on depth of content and appropriateness of tone;

3.1- spell familiar words correctly

3.3- confirm spelling and word meanings or word choice using a wide variety of resources appropriate for the purpose;

3.4- use punctuation appropriately to communicate their intended meaning in more complex writing forms, with a focus on the use of: commas to separate introductory phrases from the main part of a sentence and to separate words, phrases and clauses in a series; quotation marks; ellipses (...)and dashes to indicate sentence breaks, ambiguities, or parenthetical statements;

3.5- use parts of speech correctly to communicate their meaning clearly, with a focus on subject/verb agreement and the use of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions;

3.6- proofread and correct their writing using guidelines developed with peers and the teacher;

Media Literacy: 3.1- explain why they have chosen the topic for a media text they plan to create

            3.4- produce a variety of media texts of some technical complexity for specific purposes and audiences, using appropriate forms, conventions and techniques.


Anticipatory Set: Students have been introduced to the main themes of the novel and have nearly finished reading.  Today, students will have the chance to share some of their ideas and connections to the novel and as a class, we will make sure to create what is guidelines for proofreading and revising their work.

Objective: The objective of this lesson is to give students a chance to begin planning and starting the rough work for a writing project that connects the themes of the novel (individual identity, family dynamics, groups/classes, being part of a community during a specific time period, etc) with their own lives.  In part, this will help the students connect with and recognize their own developing identities and how they interact with the world.

Materials: Chart paper, markers, chalk, chalkboard, lined paper/notebooks, and pens/pencils.


  1. Have students recall and retell what has been going on in the novel, focusing on the main themes, giving evidence or examples to support their inferences and ideas.  These ideas will be written on the chalkboard (to use as reference points as needed later in the class when students decide on the task they will write about).
  2. Announce that the class will get to choose the topic of their writing assignment, they will be given time in class to complete a rough draft as well as computer time to create and complete a good copy.
  3. Using the chart paper and markers, students will help decide/create writing tips/rules to follow while working on their projects (the headings will be: rough draft, revisions, proofreading, final draft) to ensure students know the expectations of their work and behaviours.
  4. Hand out the topic list and rubric (the assignment and rubric is attached).  Read aloud to the class and give students a few minutes to discuss the topics with their group.  Even though this is an individual project, their group will be helping to proofread and peer-edit.  After a few minutes, have students select their topic and record their choices.  There will be the option to choose their own topic if they wish, but they must get approval first to make sure their idea meets the criteria set out in the rubric.
  5. Check for understanding, and clarify anything students may not "get" yet to ensure everyone is ready to go and can succeed.
  6. Use the rest of the class to begin their initial stages of the project.


            At the end of this class, students will have chosen a topic that resonates with themselves.  They will have clear guidelines for writing, revising, and know what the expectations are for the project as well as for their working environment.

Assessment & Evaluation:

Formative: During class, students will be part of the process for creating the rules to follow for writing (with teacher guidance) and they will have the opportunity to have their voice heard as well as ask for any clarification that might be necessary.  I will continue to circulate and use cues to keep students on track and ask leading questions to encourage involvement and positive reinforcement.

Summative: This project is worth 20% of the final mark when it has been completed.

Reflective Statements:

Students with special needs: Students who need writing help may use computers or assistive technology.  If the assignment needs to be modified, their task may have more specific questions to answer, rather than abstract concept connections.  Page references or passages that support the topics will also be provided if needed.

Students who are gifted: Students who require enrichment may have the option to create their writing project and then present it to the class using Bristol boards or Power Point.  They may also be encouraged to select their own topic or combine topics if they prefer.


Assessment Guidelines:

Assessment and Evaluation:

Formative Assessment

            Throughout this unit, classroom involvement will be noted as a portion of a participation mark, as well the group scene presentation, and discussions.  I will also circulate the classroom and computer lab to ensure students are staying on-track and to answer any questions for clarification.  The portfolio work will be handed in periodically to ensure completeness and students will be encouraged to ask for help when needed.  If I see, through work that is below standard or incomplete, that a concept hasn't been grasped, I will address that as necessary to help students succeed in this unit and in class.  The academic objectives of this unit will be clearly stated, and the behavioural objectives, such as students coming to class prepared to participate and learn, and to be respectful of classmates' contributions to discussion and in group tasks will also be clearly defined and modelled.

Summative Evaluation:

            20% - Journal (4 entries submitted x 5 marks each);

            20%- Portfolio (all written work, including chapter questions, poems, and group tasks);

            20%- Project (students will have a variety of choices);

            20%- Participation

            20%- Unit test



            For Students with special needs:  I would pair students with a partner to offer help, or to have someone read to them if they have trouble reading.  If needed, those students would have access to summary notes on the computer and assistive technology if available.  Assignments would be modified, depending on their individual abilities.  I may give that student a more active role vocally so that student could contribute to classroom discussions more meaningfully, or a specific job/task within the group that would facilitate their learning to the utmost.

            For Students who are gifted: I might give them the option of presenting their final project to the class using a creative media of their choice, in addition to their hardcopy assignment.  I would also try to partner that student up with another student who may not be gifted so they could help each other.

            For the teacher: At the end of each class, take the last minute or two to ask the class what the most memorable part of the class was; was there anything that they did not understand; what information was new?  Also, keep a reflection note-to-self to determine if I could see how students were understanding concepts (body language, involvement and enthusiasm for topic) or if something needed to be revisited and simplified in subsequent classes.  What went well?  What techniques might I try again, which ones did not work as planned?

Final Project


Using the writing process we learned earlier, you will write a 2-3 page paper on the topic you choose.  You will tell the teacher your choice and you will be given adequate time to complete this project at school.  This project is worth 20% of your final grade for this unit, so don't leave it to the last minute.  Choose one of the topics from below.


1. Compare Cherry, a female Soc, with the male Socs.  How do we know she is a Soc?  How is she different than the male Socs?  Why does she get along with the Greasers?  Why is Cherry's character important in the novel?


2. Compare yourself to a character in the novel.  How are you similar to that character?  How are you different?  Do you feel that if you were in different social classes, you would be friends with the character you chose?  What evidence in the novel supports your opinions?


3. Looking at the setting, time period, and location of the novel. How are the issues still relevant today?  Do any other issues today overshadow those in the novel?  How has the social climate improved or gotten worse? 


4. Identity is an important theme in the novel.  How do the characters develop or affirm their identities?  Why is it important to develop your own identity?  How does Ponyboy's identity develop throughout the novel?


  • 5. Select your own topic, but you must get approval first to make sure your topic will meet the criteria necessary to be evaluated.


Use the rubric as a guideline to see how your paper will be graded.  Also, you will follow the writing, revision, and proofreading rules the class developed.  Those rules will remain posted in the classroom until the project is handed in.









Level 4
(N/A) 80-100%

Level 3
(N/A) 70-79%

Level 2
(N/A) 60-69%

Level 1
(N/A) below 59%

Details from Text
Specific examples and reference to text to explain inferences


Three or more details are used from the text.

The details from the text clearly and completely support the topic.  


One or two details are used from the text.

The details somewhat support the topic.  


One detail is used from the text.

The detail only slightly supports the topic.  


None or only one partial detail from the text is used from the text.

The detail has no connection or does not support the topic.

Elaboration of Ideas
Topic sentences and supporting sentences


There are three or more sentences that further explain the details chosen from the text.  


There are one or two sentences that further explain the details chosen from the text.  


There just one sentence that further explains the details from the text.  


There is nothing written that further explains the details from the text.

Paragraphs, punctuation, grammar, and spelling


Sentences begin with a capital and have end punctuation. Sentences are complete. Punctuation is used correctly through-out.
Words are spelled correctly.
Paragraphs are used correctly.  


Sentences begin with a capital and have end punctuation. Sentences are complete.
Punctuation is mostly used correctly.
Most words are spelled correctly.
Paragraphs are mostly used correctly.  


Most sentences begin with a capital and have end punctuation with some sentence fragments.
Punctuation is sometimes used correctly.
Most words are spelled correctly
Paragraphs are sometimes used correctly.  


Some sentences begin with a capital and end with the appropriate punctuation. There are sentence fragments.
Punctuation is sometimes used correctly.
There are many misspelled words.
There are no paragraphs used.

Making Connections
For topics 2,3, or 4 only


Response includes connections between the text and self, and text to the world. Connections are explained cohesively.  


Response includes some connections between the text and self, or the text to the world.  


Response includes one partial connection between the text and self or text to the world.  


Response does not include connections.


Unit Test:  The Outsiders                                                                                  Name: ____________________


Select 10 of the terms from the novel and provide a definition (1 mark each)


fuzz                  Chessy cat                    ornery              doggedly          premonition     

elude                gallant               corn-poney       exploit contemptuously

conformity                    indignant                       stupor


  • 1. __________________


  • 2. __________________


  • 3. __________________


  • 4. __________________


  • 5. __________________


  • 6. __________________


  • 7. __________________


  • 8. __________________


  • 9. __________________


  • 10. __________________


  • 11. At the drive-in, why do Cherry and Marcia need to find a ride home?
  • a. Cherry's car broke down.
  • b. Marcia's money was stolen and she can't call home.
  • c. Cherry's boyfriend had been drinking and she wouldn't go home with him.
  • d. A Greaser stole their car.


  • 12. Why did Soda quit school?
  • a. His job was at night and he couldn't get up for school.
  • b. The Greasers made him quit to do more gang activities.
  • c. His parents gave him permission before they died.
  • d. Soda was failing and figured he should help Darry support Pony.


  • 13. Why does Johnny kill Bob?
  • a. Johnny was defending Ponyboy.
  • b. Bob fell on the knife trying to scare Johnny.
  • c. Greasers are supposed to kill Socs.
  • d. Johnny didn't kill Bob, Pony did.


  • 14. Pony and Johnny discuss a poem by Robert Frost when they are hiding out. What is the poem's title?
  • a. Gold Goes Away
  • b. Nothing Lasts Forever
  • c. Nothing Gold Can Stay
  • d. None of these are correct


  • 15. How is Dally different from the other Greasers?
  • a. He has been in jail and part of gangs in New York
  • b. He is rich.
  • c. He has a wife and children.
  • d. He has a family already so he doesn't feel as close to the other gang members.


Short Answer Questions (2 marks each)

  • 16. Describe two ways that gangs and cliques are similar.



  • 17. What theme does Ponyboy choose to write about in English class and why?



  • 18. Why is there a hearing at the courthouse?



  • 19. Why does Dally rob the store?



  • 20. How are the Greasers like a family?



Long Answer Questions.  Answer two of the questions below on a separate paper. (5 marks each)

     1.What is a social class?  In the novel, how do we know who belongs to which class?  Give examples.

     2.How does Ponyboy change from the beginning of the novel to the end of the novel?

     3.Compare and contrast one issue from the 1960s (the time period of the novel) with the same issue now.  How have things changed?  How do they differ now?


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