I wanted to challenge myself and my students to actually read a high school level novel this fall. In alternative ed, most of their reading level is low or barely at grade level, and most students have been given way below grade level reading material to not make it too challenging. I've been sort of guilty of this, but my level and rigor has still been higher than what they had before and now I feel that this is a must. However, I didn't get the actual book until almost 2 weeks ago and when I started reading it I got overwhelmed. I knew the topic and what it was about, but what I didn't know was that it's grade 11-12 (not 9-10 as I thought) and that it's twice as thick as I thought. 400 pages with very small and dense print. In the first chapter I found 39 vocabulary words that need to be frontloaded. Any suggestions of how to do this? I have a basic plan but I'm always looking for more. Some from my own, others from my P, and a lot of activities I got from the Kagan workshop. 1. I will have the students sit in pairs. This will be new for all of us, and I will need to make sure it will work. They will have a lot of pair activities. In Kagan, some of these are called Rally Robin, Rally Table, Rally Coach, Rally Quiz, etc. I've found a lot I can incorporate instead of having them sit and I call on only a couple. I can't do groups of 4 yet, but my goal is to do that in 2nd semester. 2. We will have to chunk a lot of the readings. I will have questions up on the board to keep in mind, after we read for a bit, we'll stop to make sure they understood it. After that we'll answer the discussion / comprehension questions (in pairs, then as a class) 3. We're going to have to go slow with the readings, but that means I might not have enough time for everything. As my P suggested, I might just want to summarize a couple of chapters to them, the ones that are kind of dragging, because I won't have enough time and they might get bored. I actually found the movie in Youtube, what I like is that it's in Russian, with English subtitles. This way instead of reading, we can use that for a few chapters here and there, they will still be reading (subtitles). There are a few versions out there, this one is old, black and white and really gives the feel of the novel. 4. Because there are a lot of vocabulary words, I won't assess them on all. My main purpose is for them to know them, so the reading will make sense. I don't even think I will have enough time to have them work with just 10 / week and assess them, because by the time we actually cover all the words, we're finished with that chapter and then move on to new words. I do want to have some vocab quizzes but I need to find out how to squeeze that in. 5. Because we will have a lot of new students coming in (continuously) I will have a running summary on the wall, as well as in the student's folder. We will do character sketches, etc, so I think I will have a hand out for all new students with the essential information. 6. I did buy a teacher's guide, and a unit plan on TPT (spent toal of $40 but I can get reimbursed), and they definitely have a lot of discussion questions and activities, so I have enough to go on. 7. The first 3 days we're going to spend on introducing and practicing the Kagan activities, while I introduce some background knowledge. For example we'll do some fun activities with the Russian alphabet so they can get used to the pronunciation, and an activity with how the Russian names are formed, for example how a student named Cristian Mendoza, with the father of Jorge Mendoza will end up as Cristian Jorhovich Mendozov (or Mendozin), and things like that. My concern is that the book is very long with a lot of reading, and even if I substitute parts of the movie here and there, the kids might get bored. I also want to use just a few new routines (from Kagan) so they're used to it but what if it becomes too routine? Of course I will include probably just 1 essay, but I would really like 2 shorter essays throughout the book. I'm just worried about getting through it in time. We only have 48 minutes in a class. I want to have follow up activities about crimes and judicial systems around the worlds, crime, conscience, punishment, proper punishment, etc. That would be the real fun stuff, because it would be more relevant to their lives, but we have to get through the book first. Any suggestions?