Bookworm is going into 7th grade, so while I’ve started thinking of what to teach him in high school, I have to admit, I haven’t put a lot of time into it. However, the co-op we attend has several high schoolers, and this upcoming semester, I’ll be teaching a literature class. I get to choose what materials to use and what books to study. We used Progeny Press materials before at the elementary and middle school level, so when a chance came up to review their materials again this year for the Crew, I asked if I could personally review the high school Great Expectations E-Guide with the hope of using it for my co-op class.
About the Great Expectations E-Guide
This 72 page e-guide is meant to span 8 to 10 weeks of study, covering roughly one section per week. Progeny Press recommends that students take the first week to read the novel in its entirety and then begin working on the e-guide. The e-guide covers a variety of topics:
- Background on the author and story
- Prereading activities
- Content questions
- Literary analysis questions
- Critical analysis
- Final review (which can serve as a final exam), and a
- Detailed study guide
Progeny Press recommends each completed e-guide count as 1/4 English credit.
Since this is an e-guide, students can either type their answers right on the e-guide, or they can print it out and write their answers. (I did the latter.)
How I Used the Great Expectations E-Guide
I’ll confess, I strayed from the way Progeny Press suggested the e-guide be used. Great Expectations is a meaty, dense book and is over 400 pages long. I knew there was no way my high school co-op students would be able to get through the book in a week as Progeny Press recommends. Instead, I read as much as was needed to complete the first section of the e-guide (chapters 1-8) and then completed the corresponding study guide activities. I worked through the guide this way during the entire review period.
What I Liked about the Great Expectations E-Guide
I love that this e-guide helps students realize things they may have missed when reading. Great Expectations is so meaty that it’s easy to concentrate on the story line and miss the finer details. For instance, in the first unit, one of the questions asks students to go back and look at a particular paragraph and find the phrase that is repeated five times and describe why it’s repeated. I found the phrase, “that young man” five times in the paragraph, which I’d never noticed while reading, and then I had to really think to decide why I thought Dickens was emphasizing those words. That’s the kind of thinking I want my students to due.
I also appreciated that the guide focused on vocabulary in a natural way, as it appeared in the story. This seems the best way to learn new, difficult vocabulary.
Finally, I liked that the guide told parents that completing the e-guide would count as 1/4 high school credit.
What I Disliked about the Great Expectations E-Guide
There wasn’t anything I didn’t like. However, I imagine that some students who don’t enjoy literature would balk at completing a study guide over the course of 8 weeks. Yet, this study guide is a valuable tool to help students understand Great Expectations at a much deeper level than if they were reading the novel without using the study guide.
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