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Teaching Guide

Teaching Lord of the Flies

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If you're ever stranded on a deserted island with your class, well…good luck with that. We can't help you there. (Just don't let them eat you first.) But if you're stranded teaching Lord of the Flies for another year, we can assist with these lesson plans and ideas.

In this guide you will find

  • an activity transforming the island into a crime scene. CSI: Lord of the Flies.
  • lessons comparing the events in the book to real-life events on the mainland.
  • reading quizzes asking what kind of animal head is on a stick and which kid gets squished by a giant boulder.

We promise nothing in our teaching guide requires bringing a pig's head in as a prop.

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Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 13-18 Common Core-aligned activities to complete in class with your students, including detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes for every chapter, act, or part of the text.
  • Resources to help make the book feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop's teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the text and how you can overcome the hurdles.

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Instructions for You

Objective: Your students have likely never been stranded on a deserted island with their classmates and no grown-ups. And they've hopefully never accidentally set anything as large as an island on fire. So at first, students may feel like this is an exciting story and all, but it has little to do with their lives. We know different.

Full of bullies, isolation, fear, and the pain of growing up, our students' lives mirror Lord of the Flies in too many ways to count. In this lesson students will analyze the themes of the novel in order to draw parallels between Ralph, Piggy, and themselves.

This lesson will take one to two class periods.

Materials Needed:

Step 1: Begin by writing the following quote on the board:

Roger edged past the chief, only just avoiding pushing him with his shoulder. The yelling ceased, and Samneric lay looking up in quiet terror. Roger advanced upon them as one wielding a nameless authority. (11.231)

Then ask your students:

  • What makes Roger such a bully?
  • Without naming them, does he remind you of anyone else you have ever encountered?

Explain to students that Roger (and the other boys) remind us of real people because Lord of the Flies is an allegory for all of humanity. For more, review Shmoop's explanation of Lord of the Flies as an allegory with the class.

Step 2: We aren't the only ones who see huge parallels between Lord of the Flies and life back here on the mainland. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor explained in her autobiography that reading Lord of the Flies opened her eyes to all the injustice in the world around her Brooklyn home.

Share The Houston Chronicle's blog posting that summarizes Sotomayor's experience.

As they read, students should:

  • List the parallels Sotomayor saw between her world and that of Lord of the Flies.
  • Decide if Sotomayor has a point. In other words, does Lord of the Flies teach us about justice? Could we use that in our lives too?

Step 3: What about our own worlds? It's time for a little text-to-self reflection. Ask students to list the connections they see between their own lives and the novel.

  • Have you been bullied or witnessed bullying?
  • Have you ever hurt someone else for your own benefit or convenience?
  • Where do you see injustice or unfairness in your world?
  • Who has the power in your world? Who seems powerless?
  • What kinds of rules, spoken or unspoken, seem to govern the world around you? Are the rules always fair or moral?
  • What character can you relate to the most? Why?

We recommend you give students some time to free write on these questions, and then chat about them as a class. Encourage students to note any new ideas that come to mind during your discussion.

Step 4: There's nothing wrong with stopping this lesson after a meaningful discussion, but this topic just seems too ripe for an essay to pass up, so if your schedule allows, ask students to organize their ideas into a written response.

Here's one way you might frame this assignment:

  • Choose one theme from the novel and relate it to your life (the way Sotomayor did with the idea of justice).
  • Use quotes from the novel to support your comparisons.
  • Use anecdotes from your life to showcase similarities.

When students are ready to write, head on over to our Essay Lab. We'll walk them through the steps and make it as easy as escaping from a deserted island. Just kidding—it'll be much easier than that.

TEKS Standards: §110.33. English Language Arts and Reading, English III b: 2A, 6, 8, 13A, 13B, 15A(i)(iii)(iv)(v) §110.34. English Language Arts and Reading, English IV b: 2A, 2C, 6, 8, 13A, 13B, 15A(i)(iii)(iv)(v)

Instructions for Your Students

Have you ever been stranded on a deserted island with only your classmates to keep you company? Ever had to hunt wild boar and fight a beastie just to survive the night? No? Us either. So we understand if Lord of the Flies seems irrelevant to your life at first, but trust us, it's definitely not.

Ralph, Piggy, and the rest of the gang really do have more in common with you than you might think. The boys of Lord of the Flies face bullies, isolation, fear, and the pain of growing up head-on. In this lesson we will explore the connections between your world and the world of these lost, stranded boys.

Step 1: Let's start with a quote from the text:

Roger edged past the chief, only just avoiding pushing him with his shoulder. The yelling ceased, and Samneric lay looking up in quiet terror. Roger advanced upon them as one wielding a nameless authority. (11.231)

That Roger is a piece of work, huh? So what makes Roger such a bully? Without naming them, does he remind you of anyone else you have ever encountered?

Whether or not you know it, William Golding was really hoping you would see a lot of similarities between your life and that of Ralph's. In fact he tried so hard to create these similarities that he wrote the whole novel as an allegory.

Not sure what an allegory is? No problem. Check out Shmoop's explanation of Lord of the Flies as an allegory.

Step 2: We aren't the only ones who see huge parallels between Lord of the Flies and life back here on the mainland. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor explained in her autobiography that reading Lord of the Flies opened her eyes to all the injustice in the world around her Brooklyn home.

Look at The Houston Chronicle's blog post about Sotomayor. As you read you should:

  • List the parallels Sotomayor saw between her world and that of Lord of the Flies.
  • Decide if Sotomayor has a point. In other words, does Lord of the Flies teach us about justice? Could we use that in our lives too?

Step 3: What about our own worlds? It's time for a little text-to-self reflection. Start by listing the connections you see between your own lives and the novel.

  • Have you been bullied or witnessed bullying?
  • Have you ever hurt someone else for your own benefit or convenience?
  • Where do you see injustice or unfairness in your world?
  • Who has the power in your world? Who seems powerless?
  • What kinds of rules, spoken or unspoken, seem to govern the world around you? Are the rules always fair or moral?
  • What character can you relate to the most? Why?

Once you've had some time to brainstorm, you'll share your thoughts with the class. Be sure to note any new ideas that come to mind during our discussion.

Step 4: This topic is just too ripe for an essay to pass up, so as a final step, you'll organize your ideas into a written response following these guidelines:

  • Choose one theme from the novel and relate it to your life (the way Sotomayor did with the idea of justice).
  • Use quotes from the novel to support your comparisons.
  • Use anecdotes from your life to showcase similarities.

When you are ready to write, head on over to Shmoop's Essay Lab. We'll walk you through the steps and make it as easy as escaping from a deserted island. Just kidding—it'll be much easier than that.

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Common Core Standards  

The following standards are covered in this course:

RL.8.1
RL.8.3
RL.8.5
RL.8.6
RL.8.10
RL.8.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4
RI.8.1
RI.8.3
RI.8.6
RI.8.7
RI.8.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.10
W.8.1
W.8.4
W.8.5
W.8.7
W.8.9
W.8.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.6
SL.8.1
SL.8.2
SL.8.4
SL.8.6
SL.8.3
SL.8.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.8
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.3

WANT MORE HELP TEACHING LORD OF THE FLIES?

Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

Intro    Summary    Themes    Quotes    Characters    Analysis    Questions    Quizzes    Flashcards    Best of the Web    Write Essay    
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