The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

The Boy Who
Harnessed The Wind
Connections Instructor Training April 2013
Thematic Approach
This novel is comprised of three themes:
 Magic
 Science
 Famine
Themes can allow for different teaching approaches
Basic Teaching
 Assign each student a group of three
 Give each student a number designation 1 to 3
 Send each member of the group to a larger group where they
discuss and learn about one of the main aspects of novel.
 Students then return to their original group
 Students are responsible for teaching the rest of their original
 In other words, they are the ‘expert’ of one main aspect of the
Basic Teaching
Approaches Cont.
 Three students with opinions on a thematic topic are selected
 Students circle around the three students and form a ‘fishbowl’
 The circled students can ‘jump into’ the center group of three if
they have something to say
Basic Teaching
Approaches Cont.
Small group discussions
 Give each group a passage or theme to discuss
 Ask students to report back to the entire class about their topic
 Engage the entire class in an overall discussion of the topic
Basic Teaching
Approaches Cont.
Think, Pair, Share
 Give students a topic to think about
 Give them time to think about their response
 Pair them up with a fellow student and have them discuss their
 Start a classroom discussion
 All students should have something to say; encourage discussion
Themes: Famine
Many challenges possible:
 Students are possibly unfamiliar with how it feels to not have
 Inability to relate personally may lead to fruitless discussions
 However, the novel offers a good atmosphere for understanding
and empathizing with Famine
 Utilize student empathy to engage them in the topic
To get the ball rolling, tap into everyday student behavior
Famine Teaching Tools:
Food Journal
A food journal is a record of all the food a person eats during a
period of time. Journals include:
 Food quantity
 Time eaten
 Money spent
 Calories
Students gain awareness of their own food intake
May promote understanding of the severity of famine & what the
characters endured
Famine Teaching Tools:
Cook a Traditional Meal
Using your budget from the Connections program, cook a meal
approximating the size of a famine meal
Use the novel as a guide to food quantity
Gives students a hands on approach to understanding food quantity
Students can estimate their likelihood of survival
Students can also estimate the likelihood of family groups surviving
Famine Teaching Tools:
Interactive Ideas
Ask the Dietician from the Student Health and Wellness Center to
come talk to your class about the physical and mental issues
surrounding famine.
Ask a refugee or international student from a third world country
come speak to your class about their experiences.
Ask relief workers or volunteers come to your classroom and
discuss their experiences with famine and other disasters.
Themes: Science
Science is representative of:
 1) hard work
 2) innovation
 3) determination
Students understand these larger concepts from their own lives
 Tapping into these themes is fairly simple
 Write a journal about a time these concepts changed the
outcome of something in their lives
 In small groups, discuss their anticipated lives in college and
how these concepts apply
Science Teaching Tools:
Removing Technology
Technology is integral within the novel.
Removing technology can demonstrate technology’s impact:
 At the beginning of one day leave the lights and computer off
 Ask them to turn in their electronics
 Some students will resist; be adamant that they will get them
 Run class without technology without explaining to the students
 Discuss how it changed their perceptions of classroom & school
Science Teaching Tools:
Interactive Ideas
Discuss the importance of technology in our current society and
how we use and misuse it.
Current examples from the media will be useful here
Have a professor or graduate student in Engineering give a brief
demonstration of windmill and electronic technology.
Have students log their technology usage in their day to day life.
Lead a discussion about how technology is both useful and detrimental
Lead a discussion about ‘how much technology is too much?’
Themes: Magic
Magic, like science, is representative of familial and social
 William’s family, tribe, and city are steeped in magical ideas
 Magic tends to explain some of the societal issues within
Africa and Malawi
 Even though students may not be steeped in magic, they
understand tradition
 Utilize their familiarity with tradition to relate to the novel
Magic Teaching Tools:
Oral Stories
Students will all have stories from their own lives that are passed
down by oral tradition.
 Have students write a one page story from their lives
 Let a few intrepid students present their stories in class
 Tell students to present in ‘campfire mode’
 Speak as if they were around a camp fire presenting these ideas
Magic Teaching Tools:
Oral Stories Cont.
Once finished with their stories, ask students to review them:
 Evaluate objectively
 Look for exaggerations and overstatements
 Students start to see that magic, like our exaggerations, helps to
present a different perspective
Open a class discussion on why stories are important to every
 How does their own culture use stories socially?
Magic Teaching Tools:
Interactive Ideas
Visit the Anthropology and/or Art museum and discuss what stories
are told through the presented artifacts or artworks.
Ask a Folklore professor discuss the importance of stories and their
Ask students to compose and tell a collective narrative about their
connections class.
Each student uses one sentence that will build on the sentence of the
previous person
Questions and Discussion

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